What EMERGENCY is Your Biggest Concern? Feedback from the PREPAREDNESS COMMUNITY!


Recently, I put out a questionnaire to ask the Preparedness Community a few questions. The questions were:

  1. What ONE thing do you need help on to FEEL better prepared? Please type your response and feel free to elaborate.
  2. What EMERGENCY is your biggest concern? Feel free to elaborate.
  3. What other type of articles would you like to find/read about in regards to preparedness?
  4. What question have you always wanted to ask but never felt comfortable to ask?

I am grateful for my friends in the Preparedness Community, website and blog owners who made their readers aware of the questionnaire so that we could get a broad range of answers. I wish I could name them all here, but there are many out there who I know promoted the questionnaire.

The goal of the questionnaire was to get feedback so that those of us who own websites and blogs can target some of the questions that preppers might have. My hope is that articles, podcasts and videos will bounce off of this data and ultimately help ALL of us become better prepared.
At the time of this post, I have had 76 responses (the questionnaire is still open). In looking over any data, we know that if someone asks a specific question, that many more will have the same question. If a topic comes up 3 or 4 times, we know that we definitely need to cover it. And when we cover that topic or question, we need to tackle it in multiple articles, podcasts and videos AND from different perspectives.

Ultimately, I was hoping to find some major categories of what preppers consider their biggest emergency to prepare for. If a response included more than one response, I accepted it as several valid answers. For example, if someone said, “My major concerns are economic collapse, EMP and pandemics,” each of those categories received a point. If a response included two in the same category, for example, “an Ebola pandemic,” I only gave Ebola the point.

Major Categories

Economic Collapse – The category that received the most responses was an economic collapse. This is understandable because it effects all of us, no matter where we live. And if we are “keeping an eye on things,” then we know that our economy is not doing too good. In fact, the first article I ever linked to on Prepper Website was found on SHTFPlan and titled, “How to Spot the Triggers of a Socioeconomic Collapse.” That article was written by Fernando Aguirre, someone who has experienced economic collapse first hand and has written a book about his experiences in Argentina.

The problem that I see with the economic collapse issue is that many of us believed that it was supposed to happen already! Every down day on the stock market and news from the MSM causes preppers to hold their breath. We’ve also heard that it will happen in a slow spiral and then pick up speed, as well as heard that it will happen overnight. I know that I have linked to many articles on Prepper Website about economic collapse and it is probably one of my main concerns.

Pandemic – A close second category was concern regarding pandemics. I have written before that watching the History Channel’s After Armageddon was the show that convinced my wife to prep. The premise is that a pandemic causes a societal breakdown and tracks one family as they struggle to survive. A “real” pandemic would cause a domino effect that would bring about a societal breakdown which would cause other concerns like, power failures.

Many people are talking about the possibility of a pandemic due to Ebola. So, this is fresh on the minds of many people. However, Ebola only received 3 responses on the questionnaire. I’m not saying that people will not get sick and die from Ebola, but we might not see a pandemic that rivals let say, the Spanish Flu. Where we might have issues is with the fear that Ebola talk causes. People might not go out to eat, spend money at Christmas, etc… if it is found that someone with Ebola was nearby. This again will cause a domino effect, although probably not as severe as if a real pandemic happened.

Many people say we are overdue for a pandemic. We read about antibiotic resistant strains of (fill-in-the-blank), weaponized flu, mutating viruses, you name it! I believe the threat of a future pandemic is very valid. We should prepare for an eventual pandemic, but we should probably prepare to just bug in for a certain amount of time.

EMP – The third highest category was EMP. I will admit that an EMP would be devastating! However, in the probability of disasters, this is low on the totem pole! Books like One Second After and Lights Out provide the preparedness community with good reading, but also a lot of fear. And, I will admit, One Second After freaked me out too! I read both books over the summer and then went back to work, I’m an Asst. Principal, thinking that we were all going to die! I walked around just thinking of what would happen to all the little faces I saw walking in the hall… Then, I got over it!

Many in the preparedness community need to get over it too! Again, an EMP is a “possibility” but it is low in “probability.” I would rather spend my time working to be better prepared in other areas than focusing on making faraday cages and have electronics put up “just in case.”

Electrical Grid – Concerns about our aging electrical grid and the power going out due to natural disasters was next. Luckily, the most anyone has experienced with this is due to natural disasters. We have seen and read about people losing power due to hurricanes and tornadoes, but eventually the power does come back on. Two responses combined a failure in the electrical grid during winter to be pretty serious. No one, however, combined electrical grid failure due to terrorism.

We are very dependent on electricity to power our lives! But, our system is old and patched together. It is very reasonable to believe that this could be very concerning during times of extreme weather, (cold and heat) and to people who require electricity powered medical devices.
I foresee a time that our aging grid starts to sporadically fail, and we start to experience brownouts, like other countries. As a result, I think a way to power electrical devices with small solar chargers will be helpful. I recently wrote about that in 3 Trends in Preparedness and How You Can Get On Board!

Natural Disasters – These three natural disasters received the most responses in this order: earthquakes, tornadoes and cold weather (including blizzards). Of course, these are all relative to the area where you live. But I will say that cold weather only received half the responses that concerns about the electrical grid received.

The categories that tied with only three responses were: Ebola, hurricanes and war.

The categories that tied with only two responses were: terror attacks and societal breakdown. Again, societal breakdown would happen in many of the above categories if they were prolonged.

The categories that only received one response were: tsunami, volcano eruption, govt. shutdown, nuclear terrorism, wild fires, earth changes, polar shift, nuclear reactor meltdown, fire and flooding due to heavy rains.

My Thoughts

For what they are worth, here are some of my thoughts in regards to the above data.

Any article in the first 4 categories (economic collapse, pandemics, EMP, electrical grid failure) will want to be read by the preparedness community. One thing that might be helpful is to break down the categories even further. For example, an article like, “Using Your Food Storage During a Pandemic” is pretty specific. Another example would be, “How to Get Your Family Up in the Morning; Feeding, Personal Hygiene and Off to School during an Electric Power Grid Failure.” I know that I tend to write very general sometimes. But, being more specific will allow us to target the various preparedness issues within the categories that preppers are concerned about.

I continue to believe that as our economy does slow down and people start to feel it in their pocket books, that articles on how to be frugal and save money are going to be more relevant. That is one reason I started Frugal Living – Page 3 on Prepper Website.

We need to drop the EMP articles for electrical power grid failure articles. EMP articles will continue to be read, I know because I see the numbers on Prepper Website. And I will probably still link to the ones that I think are interesting reads. However, I think that writing articles on how to deal with power failures is even more important. An EMP has low probability, but mechanical things eventually breakdown. It is a matter of time before a terrorist does real damage to our grid or we start seeing brownouts and blackouts. Now is the time to be prepared for those!

Lastly, I was surprised that earthquakes received more responses than hurricanes. We haven’t had a major earthquake that disrupted our lives in a while, however, we have all seen hurricanes and their after effects recently. I’m wondering if when people say earthquakes, they are thinking about something like the New Madrid Fault line that if it went, would be very devastating. However, New Madrid didn’t come up at all.

What do you think about the findings and responses?

This article first appeared on Ed That Matters.

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Todd Sepulveda

I'm the owner/editor of Prepper Website, a DAILY preparedness aggregator that links to the best preparedness articles on the internet. I'm also a public school administrator and a pastor. My personal blog is Ed That Matters, where I write about preparedness and from time to time, education. Connect with me on one of my social media outlets below.

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10 thoughts on “What EMERGENCY is Your Biggest Concern? Feedback from the PREPAREDNESS COMMUNITY!

  1. Chris

    Hey Todd,
    Thanks for being so open with sharing these results. Hopefully this will help us all provide greater value to the community. I know it gave me a couple article ideas!


  2. padre

    EMP. It’s hard to prepare for, it’s scary, it’s perhaps less likely than other scenarios…so let’s forget about it? Really. Although you need not work yourself into a panic about it, it remains a possibility and a worst case. I like the EMP situation as the scenario to prepare for for two reasons a) I think that next to MAD style thermonuclear war EMP is a worse case scenario, b) because being prepared for EMP makes you prepared for just about everything else. Storms, check; financial collapse, check; even pandemics fall under EMP because of the lenght and scope of an EMP device. hazmat suits and masks would be essential for dealing with people with the grid down diseases that were once distant memories will appear.

    1. Wendy Kaubisch

      Thank you, padre! While I pay attention to solar events, I worry more about a man-made emp. The thing is, is that no matter the disaster, our electrical grid is affected. Even if our grid isn’t directly hit, power stations still need people to man them…in a really big or longterm disaster, do the electric companies employees have to stay on job or would they go home and take care of their families? In our society, every single thing we have, and even prep with, is dependent on having electricity. Our country cannot manufacture, let alone distribute, even basic goods without electricity. Even most garden nurseries rely on electricity to grow seedlings, let alone make and receive orders from seed companies, which also would be affected from no power.
      Here’s my rant: our government and power companies know the very real threat to our grid and have for many years. Instead of hardening off our power plants, my electric coop is burying lines in our rural driveways. My government is spending millions on underground bunkers, supplies, and non-sustainable power stations. On a micro-basis, I am eligible for Energy Assistance for some of my elec and propane costs for heating, but cannot apply that grant to a windmill, solar panels n system, nor even an outdoor woodburner!
      With the same amount of money I have received in grants the last 2 years, (during cancer care), that was given to elec n propane companies, I could have had an alternative heating system and would never have to ask for help again, no matter what happened with my health, for my kids to have a warm house!
      I don’t care if a person is liberal or conservative, this just seems stupid. And now that I am back to work, I will get to keep paying thru income and purchase taxes, for this shortsightedness and corporate welfare. end of rant.

  3. Old Alaskan

    The emergency concern can vary from region to region. For me it is the loss of the ability to heat my house in winter. This could come from several factors.
    1/ Large Earthquake damaging or destroying both Electrical and Natural
    Gas distribution. Let’s face it here in winter without adequate heat
    you will quickly turn into a Popsicle.
    2/ Electric Grid down from sabotage.
    3/ Civil unrest due to lack of food deliveries. Here we rely heavily on the
    twice weekly ship/barge deliveries of over 90% of what we need to
    live. At any one time there is 3 to 4 weeks worth of groceries
    available in Alaska. Many people have only one week or less of food
    available in their home at any time and the government while they
    know this have not done anything to prepare other than to
    encourage people to stock up on 3 weeks worth of food. I personally
    don’t see this happening.
    There are other situations but these are what I plan for the most.

  4. Dragon

    I believe that, as Padre stated, being prepared for an EMP, whether natural or man-made, pretty much covers every conceivable disaster. Being prepared to survive for long periods when society crumbles isn’t an easy thing to do, but it can be done. Learn old school technology like growing and preserving your own food. Know where your supply of fresh water is. Learn to hunt and preserve meat from the wild and from the waters; and learn to tan the hides for clothing and shelter. Learn to build your own furniture and structures without power-tools. Study herbology and pre-1900’s medicine. Learn to forge steel into weapons, pots & pans, utensils, etc. Basically, learn everything your ancestors knew 150 years ago. They lived and thrived before electricity and modern technology, and so can we.
    Granted, you may not be able to, or have the time to, learn everything. So find or start a group, whether it be family oriented or just a group of like minded people. Have everyone learn two things, and make sure that you have at least two or more people that are competent in each skill set. That way, losing one person won’t leave a gaping hole in your survival plan.
    Just remember, that no plan is perfect. Be adaptable and always have a back-up plan, and have a back-up plan for that plan, etc..etc…etc…. He who is prepared will survive, and thrive; no matter what is thrown at him.

    1. Dragon

      An addendum to the above post. Another thing to think about is to begin collecting books, actual paper and ink books, about history, medicine, philosophy, religion, etc. and putting them somewhere safe. Someplace protected from the elements, and where the government cannot find them. Having an actual text on a subject will prove essential when it comes time to begin rebuilding. Build a library of technical manuals on every subject you can think of. One good way to start this is to purchase one book every time you get paid. Used bookstores are great for this.
      Categorize your book purchases by the subjects you think are most important. If possible, purchase duplicates so that you can have one in your “working library”, and one that you can put away in your “hidden library”. If every person in your group does this, it won’t take long before you have one, or several, complete libraries with a wide selection of subjects that you can use to teach your children and grandchildren. Who knows, they may be the ones to lead this country out of the darkness and back into a civilized world simply because you thought ahead and gave them the tools and knowledge.

      1. Tina at Pecan Corner

        Dragon, Books are a GREAT idea, and those published before 1920 that are still in good condition will last darned near forever if kept dry-ish. They don’t even burn very easily. New editions are sometimes edited to remove valuable info. The other good thing about old books is that people who don’t read just ignore them – even readers will ignore ugly musty old books – so there are some wonderful and useful gems out there.

        Todd, I am a recent subscriber and really get a lot out of your articles. I agree that being specific is useful, because maintaining daily life things matter more than we might think. I worry more about natural disasters, because those kinds of disruptions are things I have actually experienced – and I think much of the prep for those would be useful in case of the others. For example, last week my water froze in the kitchen. I used it as an opportunity to test how I might keep sanitary while preparing food with just my water storage, and did a little video of it for my You Tube channel.

        Thanks everyone for helping us all learn how to be self-reliant and to care for our communities in tough times.


  5. Malika Bourne

    I have an emormous concern that most peopel don’t have. I have an adult sone who depends on an electric wheelchair.

    I have had disaster training. I taught first aid andCpr. I have a stockpile of essential oils and first aid supplies. We are stocking food and water in a small apartment….S-h-h!

    I have survived disasters and rescued neighobors who were so not preaperd to even apply a bandaid. They just all assumed the fire depratment would come ot fix every thing in 2 minutes.

    Not a comfort to me IF I was the one who was injured.

    I have no way to evacuate him from the city. Sure, he issupposed to be high prioity to evaucate, but,,,that is assuming a lot.

    I don’t drive any more even if I owned a van, whihc I don’t.
    Any ideas?

    1. Todd Sepulveda Post author

      Would anyone like to provide some advice to the mom who left a comment on this article? Is the last comment about a son…

      Posted by The Prepper Website on Sunday, May 3, 2015

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