This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase, I'll earn a small fee at no extra cost to you.*
When preparing for a widespread disaster, it’s helpful to have a specific type of disaster in mind. Envisioning a particular survival scenario helps you to be more focused and think of preparations that might not have occurred to you otherwise.
How would a pandemic play out in your town? Or a terrorist attack? Or an economic collapse? What specifically would happen to your community, and how would it affect you and your family? And based on that, are there any other preparations you could make to ensure your family’s safety?
As you can see, mentally walking yourself through various types of disasters will help you to be more prepared. With that in mind, here is a list of the 10 most likely widespread disasters.
You should seriously consider the possibility of experiencing these events. I’m not saying you should obsess over them–don’t spend your life in fear–but you should do your best to be ready for them.
1. Economic Collapse
Considering the staggering national debt the U.S. holds and the fact that no one ever fixed the problems that caused the Great Recession, it should be no surprise that economic collapse is at the top of this list. But I’m not talking about another recession here.
I’m talking about a disaster as bad as the Great Depression, possibly worse. If the stock market crashes or the dollar becomes worthless, it’s going to take a long time for the United States, and the rest of the world, to recover.
2. Terrorist Attack
I’m referring to something on the scale of 9/11 here, if not worse. Another major terrorist attack could cost a lot of lives, severely hurt the economy, and cause the government to take major actions such as shutting down cities and instituting martial law. Besides that, there’s always the possibility of more terrorist attacks occurring afterwards.
3. Power Grid Down (EMP Attack)
Technically, this could fall under the category of a terrorist attack, since it’s likely it would be terrorists who launch an EMP attack. It that happened it would throw society back into the Stone Ages within seconds. Planes would fall out of the sky, cars would no longer run, there would be no electricity of any kind, and technology such as computers and phones would be useless.
The entire nation would be thrown into chaos and people would turn on each other savagely to survive, causing millions to be killed within weeks. In fact, it’s been estimated that if an EMP took out the United States, only 10% of people would still be alive a year later.
4. Social Unrest
Here’s one that you may not have thought of, but that is still a very real threat. If a major political, religious, or social movement develops throughout the United States and leads to violent mobs, it’s going to throw entire regions of the country into chaos.
Schools, stores, and community services in major cities could be shut down as mobs burn everything in their path and martial law is instituted.
Despite the incredible advancements we have made in the scientific and medical fields, the threat of a pandemic as devastating as the Black Plague is still something we cannot ignore. What’s really frightening about a pandemic is there probably won’t be a cure for it.
We’ll all be at its mercy regardless of what we try to do to survive. The best we could do is bug out or seal ourselves off somehow and wait for it to pass.
6. Natural Disasters
This includes things like blizzards, earthquakes, hurricanes, forest fires, and so forth. Of all the widespread disasters on this list, natural disasters are the only ones that have a 100% chance of happening. The only question is where the next one will be.
The specific type of natural disaster that you need to prepare for will largely depend on where you live. Here’s how to survive natural disasters.
While a drought could technically fall under the category of natural disasters, it would actually be more long-lasting and devastating than a typical natural disaster. When the water supply dries up, so will the food supply.
What little food is left will have to be rationed, which means food prices will rise astronomically. Millions will starve and many people will turn violent.
8. Nuclear Disaster
No, not a nuclear war, but a nuclear disaster, such as fallout from a nuclear plant in your general area. If this happens, deadly radiation will fill the air and make the area you live in completely inhospitable. The only option will be to evacuate the area, along with the millions of other people trying to evacuate as well.
If you learn of a nuclear disaster in your area, don’t wait until you’re told to evacuate. Just go. Take a trip or visit relatives, and if it turns out you left for no reason, no harm done.
9. Nuclear War
Hopefully this will never happen, but if tensions between countries like the U.S. and Russia keep getting worse, it could result in a nuclear conflict that would change the world forever. Not only will millions of people perish within seconds, but millions of tons of smoke will fill the air and black out the sun for years, cause freezing temperatures to take over the entire Earth, killing off most plant and animal life and leaving the few surviving humans starving. Not to mention the deadly nuclear radiation.
Frankly, your odds of surviving this aren’t good, but if you live out in the countryside or have a fallout shelter and enough supplies to last for years, you might have a chance.
10. Enemy Invasion
Even if you live in the United States, which has the strongest military and national defense in the world, there’s always the possibility of another country attempting an invasion.
If war ever comes to your country and you’re anywhere near the front lines, you might literally have to defend your own doorstep. Should the area where you live be overrun, you might suddenly find yourself under enemy occupation.