Thursday, June 2, 2011

10 Steps to Disaster-Proof Your Life

It's isn't IF disaster will strike, but WHEN. In order to make your life as "disaster proof" as possible, follow these ten steps:

  1. Have an emergency fund. The bigger, the better. Many of life's little disasters can be taken care of with cash. By having a good sum of cash on hand, things like a busted furnace, unexpected bill, or sudden job layoff can be easily mitigated.

  2. Have stuff. While I'm pretty much a minimalist and watching "hoarders" gives me the willies, having an adequate supply of stuff on hand--plenty of food, some stored gasoline, a nice collection of firearms for use and for barter, tools, etc--can really help during a disaster. The more things you have that can help you shelter yourself, feed yourself, defend yourself, and bring in some income or trade goods, the better off you will be during and after a disaster.

  3. Have a network of people you can rely on. It can take time to build up this network and you may look around and decide that you really need to find some dependable friends that you can count on, but often it is people that will help you out of a disaster even more so than your stuff.

  4. Be prepared. I like that Boy Scout motto. Most disasters require some type of skilled response so whether you are in the middle of a medical emergency and can use your CPR skills or you end up lost in the wilderness and need to pull out every outdoor survival skill you have ever learned, being prepared by being educated and well trained in a multitude of skills can turn potential disasters into an exercise in skill building.

  5. Be portable. Can you leave on a moment's notice? Sometimes averting or avoiding disaster simply means you need to leave. Now. Do you have the ability to do this? Do you have a passport? A bicycle? A motorcycle? A car? Do you know how to hitchhike? Do you have all of the stuff you would need to survive (ie: a BOB) ready to grab and go at a moment's notice? Do you have a place to bug out to? Do you have a portable source of income? Could you live on the road and/or on the run?

  6. Be aware. Many disasters really shouldn't come as a surprise. That clinky car noise you decided to ignore could be why your vehicle became DOA on the side of the road. There is no reason you shouldn't know that a tornado is coming if you live in a tornado-prone area (old-timers can tell by the temperature and how the air is moving, TV news is super efficient at broadcasting tornado alerts and warnings, a NOAA radio is a must-have by your bedside). And, when you see the writing on the wall that your job is barely hanging on by a thread, you shouldn't be surprised when the ax actually falls. By paying attention, and taking action before a disaster occurs, you will be miles ahead of the crowd that is still trying to figure out what happened.

  7. Set your own parameters, control your own environment, choose your own friends and family. If you live in a place where rape, robbery, and murder are a better statistical probability than having a job and dying of old age, get out. If your friends and family members are better known by the prison system than the Chamber of Commerce, get out. As an adult, you can choose where and how you want to live and who you want to surround yourself with. People often default to what they know and what they have grown up with but making the changes necessary to avoid the disaster that is the place you live in or the people you hang out with is a smart move towards disaster-proofing your life.

  8. Be proactive. Life may be fine and dandy today. You may be lulled into a sense of comfort and a feeling that nothing bad will happen or if it does, "someone" will come bail you out. That actually isn't true. It is guaranteed that in your lifetime something bad will happen. By being proactive, namely preparing ahead of time for the winter storm and not waiting until the snow start falling or putting together a bug out bag even though you think you will never use it or taking the extra courses that seem expensive and boring yet will make a big difference in your hire-ability, you are taking proactive steps to help avert disaster.

  9. Attitude is everything. Life can suck and you can be miserable or life can suck and you can choose to be happy. I prefer the latter. I admire people who can come through truly horrifying disasters and still keep going, often doing amazing things when others would remain curled up in a ball under their covers. There is no sure fire way to give someone a good attitude but I do believe that practicing a positive, helpful, "this too will pass" attitude is a good first step.

  10. Be flexible. There is nothing so certain as change. People who cling to the "this is how it has always been and I don't want to change" belief system are in for a rude awakening. The ability to be flexible and roll with the punches often affects how a disaster will impact you. From the financial disaster of a job loss to a natural disaster that turns your home into toothpicks, the ability to change, move on, and react to whatever is happening, while it won't avert a disaster, it will impact how you handle and how you recover from a disaster.


  1. Nice article! Prepping is a way of viewing the world, of hoping for the best and preparing for the worst. It's about gathering the necessary supplies, obtaining the requisite skills, and reaching out to other like minded people in the community.

    Your ten items touch on all of these.