The 4 Phases of Preparing For Disaster


‘Disaster’ is a word that really has a broad meaning. Just exactly what is disaster? We tend to use the word very loosely and we fit it in to a variety of contexts.

For your overall preparedness for ‘disaster’ you might consider breaking its meaning down into four stages or phases – making it easier to plan for…




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

Risk Awareness motivates into action.

During the preparation phase we determine and examine our current situation and state of readiness (or lack thereof), and then consider contingencies to various scenarios which may disrupt our lives.

Preparations vary widely in scope, resources, and acquired knowledge, and at a minimum are focused on the basics which include generalities such as shelter, water, food, and security.

The stage of preparation (for disaster) is enormous and is 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, but recognizing the warning signs may provide a tremendous advantage.

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’ with the suddenness.

For example some natural-disasters are forewarned by technology (weather radios, media reports) and will provide time to take action for those who are aware (severe weather, tornadoes, hurricanes, wildfires) 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. Others are ‘in your face’ although often unrecognized by the dumbed-down masses.

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 the warning signs around you…



The shock and impact of disaster itself.

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 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. 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 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. Without help they will be desperate and doomed. Will this affect you? Yes, it certainly may (in more ways than one), so analyze it and do what you feel compelled to do about it.

The generalities above will hopefully break it down into chunks for better consumption ;)

It’s all food for thought…

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  1. The one consideration that will not go away is the 106 nuke plants in this country. Too old to run and don’t know if it would make a difference anyway.

    1. I was awake a couple of dark hours Sunday night worrying about this. If the grid goes down, how long until a few places start glowing and spewing? Its hard when you become aware how fragile the electrical grid really is.

    2. Something to think on, Obuma has done a great job on selling the BS about how coal is bad, bad, bad, while pushing more hype about wind, solar and the need for even more nuclear power here……while the socialist republics of Europe are facing the fact that the Nuclear 50 year experiment is a failed concept and are switching back to coal because it is cheap to use.

      So while we are selling more and more coal to them we are being sold even more B.S. by our clueless leader in the people’s house how great wind, solar, and Nuclear are the only way to fly. The progressive left along with the submissive right has miss managed, miss directed, miss lead the countries of the planet earth to the point that insanity is now the norm and the of course “its Bush’s fault”. A world wide reset is now the only option.

      1. Icecathook,during the Bush Administration they converted a small coal plant to gasify coal like we used to do with wood. They spent like 30 million on the research but found when they gasified coal it burned as clean or cleaner than N.G.
        However,that doesn’t fit in to the traitorous agenda of The Evil Empire in D.C.
        We have trillions of tons of coal that could be used by revamping our electric generation plants. As usual the leftist cherry pick and ignore facts to suit their needs while the rest of us suffer with high prices and a struggling economy. (Low unemployment my a**!!)

  2. Ken,

    I left California and relocated to a job outside the “golden” state about a year before you started this blog. I noticed you and your wife were also from the Peoples Republic of California back then. We left on the advice of our accountant that did our taxes (warning).

    For years prior to this, I have watched banks writing loans to people making $15/hour for huge homes along the coast (warning). I went into a bank to check out a payment plan on a big house in our neighborhood from the preferred lender (it was Countrywide-first bank to go under.) After working out the figures and obtaining the info, I asked him if he had any education in: Economics, Business admin., Market forecasting, etc. He was a young man and responded that he only learned what he needed to know from within his company. (WARNING! WARNING! WARNING!)

    I studied economics in college and I had a bad feeling about what was about to come down. EVERYBODY was out there buying huge houses and giving investment advice.(ie: “You can’t go wrong buying real estate!” -from my wife’s hair stylist.)

    There was a saying long ago that when you start getting investment advice from the shoeshine boy, it is time to get out of investing. I am not sure who said it (could be John D. Rockefeller, might have been Warren Buffet.)

    We ended up Not Buying the Bigger House and eventually relocating to another state since my wife and I both have careers that are in high demand and mobile. We ended up buying that big house in a state with lower taxes and we did this in 2009. I still read the Wall Street Journal several times per week. I read the Economist whenever I see it on the news stands. I watch and listen to the news (BBC on the radio).

    I have since talked to the people that hired me during the great recession. They hired me because I had a 12 year history of showing up for work. Through good times and bad, during storms, floods and earthquakes. I showed up with my lunch pail and ID badge. Now I do that in a different state.

    Heed the warning signs (read the paper, listen to the news). Keep your GO BAGS updated. Prepare to shelter in place and have a bug-out plan and location in mind. Know in the back of your mind that it can happen to you as it happened to me and my family.

    1. “If you don’t read the newspaper, you are uninformed. If you do read the newspaper, you are mis-informed.”

      Mark Twain

  3. AFTERMATH: the shortfall of it

    I believe that thinking in terms of survival is not just “how do I make it thru the calamity of some SHTF event”. I have given a lot of thought and planning as to how(and what) I want to replace/rebuild that which exists today in and around my life.

    Oh, yes I have stuff but what do I want to build anew?

    Here at the ranch I have taken care of most everything I can think of including family. Now, I am working on “How do I want to rebuild community”. There are a number of others also who are addressing the community rebuild issue and how do we do it. Some here have come up with a lot of good ideas which we are working on. No, this is not some socialist commune day dream. The basic concept is that it must be self sustaining and ever adapting to change.

    No one is ever expected to stand alone and face adversity, however, self-reliance is a must(no government handouts). Now, all we need is a SHTF event to see if our planning will actually work. This is by no means perfect but without community you will not survive. Be well to all and wish us good luck, we will need it.

    1. Good comments No Joke…

      Yes, thinking AFTER the event is just as important as getting through the event or re-set…. That could be a great topic in itself.

      Besides taking care of your own/family/household needs, consider your neighbors or maybe those who live within walking distance…

      Are they kind and helpful? Cooperative? Do they have skills or resources you are aware of?

      If you have neighbors make the best of it…Be patient, listen and think how you could mutually benefit from one another. Think how to stay safe, is there any way to mutually protect each other?

      Here are some random ideas:
      Who has solar power?
      Are you next to any farmers?
      Who is a mechanic?
      Trained in EMS/nurse etc?
      Communication/ham radio operators etc?
      Who is good at engineering?
      Building with wood/contractor type jobs?
      Hunting/processing game?
      Who is skilled at food preservation?
      Where are your water sources and who else knows about them?

      Food for thought~

  4. Ken – great article.

    I keep thinking of moving across the state. Less people and lower taxes. I also think about going to Montana as it “looks” to be a place that I would like. Have not been there though so probably not.

    Although I am semi-rural the hoards would get here quickly. The population here is around 50% Hispanic, many are illegals and many don’t speak the language. A few years back an acquaintance was looking for a pre-kindergarten class and the child being half Hispanic, the schools all assumed she didn’t speak English and pretty much all the classes were taught in Spanish. They had a heck of a time finding a school.

    The vast majority of these families are on wick and food stamps. Probably would not be a good situation if things go bad.

  5. What we have done is to plan as if we will be isolated, no way in or out,and that’s not far fetched since we live 20 miles from town in a small rural community, just a good storm now and that happens.

    Food and water from our spring and a solar array, we should be good. What has got me all discombobulated is how many contingency plans can one person have, if this happens or what if this happens, oh well just have to wait and see.

  6. The reactors are not a concern. The holding pools for spent rods should scare the carp out of everybody. Reactors can scram, pools don’t.

      1. Cossack55, they are probably in the same place as Obama’s B.C. and his college records.

        No one is talking about it so all must be well in Rainbow land.

        It should be a MAJOR CONCERN but its not. I guess when a real Godzilla climbs up out of the ocean and starts eating everyone then it will garner attention.

        That is one SHTF scenario that does not have a happy ending.

  7. Depending if one lives urban, suburban, semi-rural, rural, or even more remote can considerably effect how one plans…

    If you have neighbors, like us, it is definitely worth thinking through a bit before…

    Best and God bless~

  8. My mind buzzes all the time when I think about these basic phases.

    Warning can be a false warning, got tons of them as many here have experienced them, but being prepared lets me sleep better at night whether it is a real one or a crazy person yelling the sky is falling.

    Impact and aftermath can make even the best prepared panic if it doesn’t work out the way it was planned even with alternative plans. I saw this with people who couldn’t think beyond the box. I learned to be a trouble shooter, and found that new inventive ideas on the spot goes a long way. Practice can be made from everyday things and situations.

  9. Plan your work and work your plan. It’s good to test your plans often and under different scenarios. Thinking through what you will do helps improve your plan and make adjustments.

    Something we do in our group is text each other randomly with a SHTF scenario. For example, the last one I sent my wife was her car was stolen at work and I was 150 miles away. What are YOU going to do? Then we talk about her plan and see how to make the situation better.

    It seems hers to me are where I get shot or end up with a broken leg or arm.(Maybe she’s trying to tell me something.)

    We try to make sure all in the group get a scenario at least once a week now. It’s a great mental exercise and we share our solutions/ideas thru texts/emails.

    On that note our groups pilot called to tell me he is trading his boat and some bits of paper for a one seat helicopter. He says it can fit in a one car garage and wants to store it at the homestead. Be great for surveillance he says. (He flew for Uncle Sam). I’m thinking the fact that it is probably a blast to fly it has absolutely nothing to do with it.

    It would be great to have real time surveillance during/after the SHTF so I agreed to storing it if the trade goes thru.

    It’s gonna need to be painted. It’s orange and black like a bumblebee. One of his scenarios awhile back was his Cessna had been burned in the hanger and he had to walk to the B.O. Guess he wants another way to be in the air.

  10. While we are preparing for the worst and hoping for the best, don’t forget to live in the moment as well.

  11. Preparation, warning, impact, aftermath, are the pivot points that I used for 30 years of prepping. However, my suggestion to all of You is to change the order by reversing them. Aftermath, impact, warning, preparation in that order for me has made me “see the light”.

    I started this rethinking process in 2013 by moving to a very, very remote part of North Central Nevada the closest to anything is 80 miles. I am taught through the day to day requirements of self imposed reality of not having the day to day, down the street services and goods. Yes I totally understand most people can not or will not be able to or willing to get to the ‘Redoubt location’ in order to do what I did, but maybe you should while there is still that option.

    By starting with a Aftermath location, getting to a preparation stage is much much clearer…..but for myself it has been a eye opening experience by getting past the ‘what ifs’ and instead living with the ‘what is’.

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