4 phases of disaster for preparedness

4 Phases of Disaster

Preparedness for disaster. Consider breaking it down into 4 phases of disaster. That makes it easier to plan for. In my opinion, one way to think about it is as follows. Preparation (mitigation), Warning (awareness), Impact (cause and effect), and Aftermath (the results). Here’s what I mean…


Preparedness begins with the acceptance that risk does exist. And enough such that it warrants action to prepare.

Risk Awareness motivates into action – depending on the given risk I suppose.

Being the first among 4 phases of disaster, determine and examine the current situation and state of readiness (or lack thereof). Then consider contingencies and mitigation for various scenarios which may come to be – due to the risk(s).

Preparations, Preparedness, Mitigation. It may vary widely in scope, resources, and acquired knowledge. And at a minimum from the point of view of survival, should focus on basics which include shelter, water, food, and security.

The preparation phase is (can be) a big one. It’s where most preppers remain in their thought process and actions. It may seem as though we’re never prepared enough… and thus we continue our efforts to ‘be ready’ for what may come.

There’s nothing wrong with this. It is logical.

But there’s more…


Preparedness for disaster not only involves one’s preparations and mitigation actions, but recognizing the warning signs (of coming disaster) may provide a tremendous advantage. In other words, keep an eye out for signs that “it” (whatever it is) may be coming or about to happen.

If we’re all too busy ‘with our noses to the grind stone’ we might not have the situational awareness to recognize the clues that may be indicating impending disaster (or the increasing risk thereof).

Disaster may come on slowly, or it may ‘hit us over the head’ so to speak. Remember, it’s not the fall…it’s the sudden stop at the end.

Some natural-disasters are forewarned by technology (e.g. severe weather) and will enable time to take action for those who are aware (severe weather, tornadoes, hurricanes, wildfires, etc.). While other natural-disasters occur instantly with little or no warning (earthquakes, tsunamis, X-class solar-flare CME/EMP).

And then there are the warning signs of disaster from the standpoint of mankind. Things like economic/financial (collapse), politically motivated/induced chaos, wars.

Some warning signs are subtle. Building slowly. Others are ‘in your face’ although often unrecognized by the masses.

Another tip… Our modern world and ‘the system’ that we live in is designed to keep us distracted from the recognition of true reality. By merely ‘knowing’ that this is the case will help open your eyes to some of the warning signs around you…


The shock and impact of disaster itself. The third of the 4 phases of disaster (at least from my own POV).

By attempting to understand (ahead of time) the many affects of disaster’s immediate impact, will help in your own preparedness for it.

If you’re camping or traveling and drink contaminated water, the impact of getting ‘Montezuma’s Revenge’ will be pretty debilitating. So perhaps a good idea would be to take along a drinking water filter.

The impact of an evacuation order will mean clogged main roads. So you might plan ahead alternative routes of back-roads to get out of Dodge… or get out before the masses.

The immediate impact when the sheeple realize that their grocery store shelves are thinning will rapidly lead towards panic buying and shortages. So having your own deep pantry (ahead of time) will avoid being caught short…

The impact phase of disaster may be frightful and shocking to the unprepared. This may result in their inability to take action, delayed reaction, and may lead to to poor decision making during the time of crisis. Many will do nothing while they wait for help.

Understanding the immediate impact of a hypothetical disaster scenario will help you better prepare for it. Understand and predict the immediate reactions of the unprepared.


After having considered the effects of the disaster’s impact itself, you then need to consider the aftermath.

It may be short, long, or in-between. Think about how the aftermath will affect and/or change your life, and that of others. And for how long. Prepare for it.

Think about what will you need to have done ahead of time to survive the aftermath. Think beyond just the supplies, the preps, the stuff… do you have the skills and ability to implement your survival?

For serious disaster, the unprepared will falter and fail during a long aftermath timeline. Without help they will be desperate and doomed. Will this affect you? The fact that others are unprepared around you? Yes, it certainly may (in more ways than one)! So analyze it, and do what you feel compelled to do about it.

It’s all just one man’s opinion, and food for thought…

[ Read: Shortwave Radios For Preppers ]


  1. This has been the slow death that is hard to keep prepared for. Its not a epic event that shuts off the lights but a slow slow painful death.

    1. Raven, agree totally we have experienced a slow boat sinking crisis with this current loser in chief, I have prepared always for a major event not expecting a slow juggernaut event like this. In any event being prepped still works but I find myself having to adjust my thinking, then adjust my preps, which in turn bugging in for now takes priority over any bugging out agendas. Ken, many thanks to you and the all who contributed over the years……best wishes and god speed

  2. Thanks for the reminders Ken.
    These days it seems more like the death of a thousand cuts rather than some of the past, mostly single, event problems. Rather than just a single event like the 2008 financial failure which did have ripple events from it we seemed to have had a full load almost at once with COVID, bad weather, floods and fires, war, supply chain etc. Thankfully preparing for some problems leaves you prepared for others but you can’t really prepare for everything. Teaching younger generations about being prepared without scaring the dickens out of them, when possible, is better than money in the bank, especially these days!

  3. good article ken,
    i think we have been a SHTF situation for 3 yrs now. it’s slow moving, a little more totalitarianism every day. like Jack Frost said, death of a thousand cuts. it didn’t happen suddenly. i liken it to bad eyesight, it creeps up on you over the years until one day you realize you can’t see.
    i’m sure i’m wrong about this guys, but honestly i have lost all hope for our country, i am still active in our county but that’s all one person can do. i pray i’m wrong but i don’t see us ever going back to what we once had. if someone from outside of the government were to step up and organize the working class i would be all in, and it would work, but it will never happen i’m afraid.
    if the Dems take the house and the senate this nov. that may be another story.
    plan accordingly and stack it to the rafters guys, it ain’t gonna get any better any time soon.

  4. Thank you for laying it all out again as usual keeps the brain going considering reality. Spot on as usual.

  5. For years I’ve been preparing to see the family through the worst of the Modern Grand Solar Minimum, due in about 5-6 years and lasting for another 5 or so. With a little “be prepared to be tossed back into the Stone Age” if an adversary decides to EMP us. Nowhere on my bingo card were stuttering harvests starting with the GSM, global fertilizer shortage, state and federal lockdowns of the means of production, processing, and transport, soaring inflation, the US becoming a net importer of petroleum again, or a flying mammal-poop crazy war drawing in all of NATO. How does a collapse happen? Slowly at first then all of a sudden. I think we’re on the cusp of all of a sudden. The prudent will get to rebuild.

    1. AM,
      This slow rolling series of decisions and consequences wasn’t on my radar, either.

      And the cunning way these decisions are being rolled out leaves a LOT of people thinking all of this is no big deal, that all of this will somehow resolve itself… that it is nothing purposeful, just unfortunate. It’s really, really painful to see so many people who think everything will be okay, no need to worry or take action.

      The same people who would have scoffed at Noah as they enjoyed their leisure activities, even as it finally began to rain.

    2. Anonymee,
      Heres the thing, rebuild for whom? And depending on whom, do any of us really want to help them rebuild?

  6. ” Everybody has a plan – until they get punched in the mouth. ”
    Mike Tyson

  7. Anony Mee,

    I believe it was Stalin that said “Whoever controls the food controls the people”. I agree the upcoming collapse will be like an avalanche. It starts with a small crack at the weakest point which gradually spreads and weakens other points. Those weaken points collapse in unison and suddenly, it builds up momentum which rapidly increases as more points are weakened and there is no stopping it until the momentum behind it runs out of energy.

    How far will the avalanche travel? No one knows and there is nothing anyone can do to stop it once it starts. Best thing we can do is be aware of where the avalanche potential is, be ready if it happens and stay as far away from the area as possible.

  8. All good info, but, don’ dismiss the want for war by our govt. They may say otherwise, but every day there is more call to “do something”.
    The libs, and , some rino’s, are working hard to destroy America as we know it.
    War will change everything, everything

  9. Wow Ken,

    That was one of the best articulated articles I think I’ve ever read on the subject: Clean, concise, covers-it-all and applicable to anyone; wherever they’re at.

  10. I think the worst part of all of this is just not knowing whats coming. There is so much that could go wrong.
    So much mis information. Its really hard to look for the goid as our Christian radio station says when there is just so darn much bad going on.

  11. This week I have been thinking about the Ukrainians. Those that made the decision to leave early, how did they decide to walk away from their lives, everything they worked for? Those that stayed, who perhaps were focused on their jobs and the bills they had to pay – normalcy bias influenced decision? So many lives lost, families torn apart. How does one evaluate effectively what is to come, in order to be a survivor?

    1. AnnaLee Brook,
      You do the the best you can……. whether you are a survivor or not is up to God. Pray for guidance and put faith in the One that created us all, that’s the best you can do.

      1. Thank you Minerjim, I do have a strong faith in God, and agree ultimately it is up to him.

    2. AnnLee Brook,
      I know I shouldn’t comment, should just delete this post and cancel the reply, but…

      “Walk away from…everything you worked for.”
      “Jobs, and bills they had to pay.”
      What is more important to someone — all the (material) things they worked for — or a chance to live?
      How important is a job you may not be alive to go to?

      “How do you evaluate?”
      What are your priorities? Life or…?

      1. Thank you Far North. I appreciate your reply. To go a little deeper, how did the early leavers know it wasn’t just saber rattling? How did they determine early enough that it was truly a now-or-never situation? How did they foresee the enormity of the situation that was coming? I admit that I wasn’t fully educated about the situation, but it seemed to me that there was an early migration out of their country, and many on foot, no less. It seems like there was something, some clue, that the early leavers understood while many others did not accept or understand. Was it normalcy bias on the part of those who stayed?

        1. It’s a complicated historical situation. Short version, Tzarist Russia always wanted to expand but were kept in check by the interlocking alliances of Europe.

          Add to that the holodomor, when millions of Ukranians were deliberately starved to death, and killed if they dared find or grow food, and an apparent madman (as they are being told) in charge of current day Russia. *Note that the Wikipedia entry on the Holodomor has been changed in the past week.*

          I think if Jews saw a holocaust approaching, with their historical memory, many of them would be fleeing as well, regardless of the circumstances.

        2. AnnLee Brook,
          Thank you for your tolerance of me.
          You bring up some very valid questions. I too have not been up to speed. (Except to keep my eye on Russa) No doubt there are many reasons for the early bugouts.
          Maybe for some, it was a gut feeling? Maybe others saw the handwriting on the wall and figured — better safe than sorry?
          Here in Alaska, it has long been in the back of our collective minds that Russia would like to re-possess our state! I have already made up my mind, if it were to happen, I would fight rather than run…

          The Jews and the holocaust — Werner Klemper (sp?) the actor who played Col. Klink on “Hogan’s Heros,” left Germany long before WW2 started, while his parents stayed. One version says his parents died in a concentration camp another says they survived the camp.
          I find the TV series “Hogan’s Heros” interesting. Klemper was a German Jew. While Sgt. Shultz and the actor who played the General were both Austrian Jews! Kind of throws a new light on this 1960’s TV series…

  12. Thank you Lauren, I had heard of the holodomor, but didn’t realize the location. I think that is what caused the early leavers, the people had that horrific event in the recent history, making them very aware that things could turn worse very quickly.

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