We understand that one day we may be confronted by a life-altering (and potentially ending) event. The goal of preparedness is to mitigate or reduce the dangers inherent with whatever the disaster is. This requires planning, training, equiping, coordinating, and staging/storing needed supplies. However, in order for this preparation to be succesful we need to know what kinds of scenarios we may be facing. For example, a flood is radically different from civil disorder. And there are many threats that are limited to specific areas - if you aren't there you probably don't need to worry about those.
Listing and analyzing potential threats will allow you to be more systematic in your preparedness. Most preppers have one or two areas they really zero in on, though these are not always rationally chosen. I would argue that defense is an area everyone needs to invest time and resources in - but a family in rural Montana probably needs to give a higher percentage of their thinking and resources towards medicine, food storage and production and energy independence.
Sun Tsu, in his Art of War, says:
It is said that if you know your enemies and know yourself, you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles; if you do not know your enemies but do know yourself, you will win one and lose one; if you do not know your enemies nor yourself, you will be imperiled in every single battle.
The same is true of preparedness. If you truly know the threats you will face, and know your capabilities, you will probably be succesful. Below are a list of some of the dangers I consider most likely, ROUGHLY in order of liklihood. Further, any one of these can spark some of the others - Katrina, a hurricane, spawned a lot of civil disorder.
Listing the threats you are likely to face may be daunting and disheartening. You may be tempted to indulge in fear and panic. Don't. For all the potential danger that exists, remember that God is your security. Remember the example of the paratroopers of D-Day - they were jumping our of perfectly good airplanes, in the middle of the night, into Hitler's "Fortress Europe". Their only hope for survival lay in the success of the beach landings - their job was to help make those succesful. In preparing for D-Day they studied the enemies' order of battle, made sand tables, and were taught how to defeat the enemy. Were they afraid when they jumped? Yes. But it was fear that was, in most cases, under control. They knew themselves and their enemy. And, ultimately, they were succesful.
Earthquakes, ice storms, floods, forest fires, hurricanes, and tornadoes can all create significant dangers. They also can prove useful, in theory or in practice, as a way to develop your plans and prioritize your time and money. Preparing for a major winter storm will force you to consider your food and energy stores, the readiness of your tools, alternative communications, medical capability and more.
As has been already stated, a natural disaster can cause other disasters. For example, any event that strains emergency services to the breaking point also creates opportunites for criminals.
For most people this should be THE threat to prepare for. It's relatively common. It can easily be created by a variety of conditions. EBT cards stop working? The cops shoot or chase the wrong people? Justice isn't done? The local sports team loses? Any of these can trigger rioting or other mass criminality.
This threat also tests all of the main areas of preparedness - a deficiency in any area can be fatal.
One new type of social disorder is the flash mob.
America has relatively little experience with terror attacks on our own soil. But past doesn't neccesarily predict the future. As groups like IS (ISIS/ISIL) gain momentum, and recruit from our islamic communites, we can expect to see more terror-capable muslims returing to our country. For planning purposes we should consider the threat of terrorism to be elevated as a result. It's most likely that attacks will be focused on cities but one of the nastiest terror attacks (Beslan School Hostage Crisis) happened in a city of 30,000.
Common terror attacks are:
- Bombings (suicide or otherwise)
- Active shooter
- Kidnapping / Hostage related
Fiat currencies fail. It's what they do best after robbing people blind. That may seem cynical, but consider the facts. Here are two. Look at the major nations of the world; how many different, now defunct, currencies have they had over the last hundred years? Also, when a currency starts to be inflated we say that it's "debased". This is hardly a flatering term - to say a person is debased is a serious charge - but it is nonetheless the term used for decreasing the value of a curreny.
Fiat currencies fail. It's not really a matter of "if" but "when". Now, currency failures are always bad for most people, but they aren't always cataclysmic, violent, events. But even if you don't get trampled by a mob or beaten to death, your family can still experience lots and lots of negative stuff. Your savings in the bank will probably be gone, but your debts may not be. Your job may be gone, but your landlord will probably still want rent. Cost of good will go up but you won't feel like eating less to compensate.
In our opinion, a currency failure is probably the single greatest threat to Americans. It would wreak the most havok and "end the world" for the most people - and would probably lead to civil disorder on an epic scale.