This document is specifically designed to help you develop your own general threat analysis. This threat analysis will describe for you the things that you are most concerned about happening to you. Threats are different to each person or group, and they change with time, the environment and your level of preparedness. For example, in the 1960’s and 1970’s in Southern California your primary concerns might have been earthquakes, global nuclear war and economic collapse. In the current era living in the North East United States, climate change, economic collapse and terrorism might be your current primary threats.

Your threats and concerns will be different and will change over time, and personal threat analysis will of course be different. You might live in areas that don’t have too many earthquakes, but are subject to hurricanes, or severe winter snows, or something else. You may be better resources and skills than the average person. And, you may be willing or unwilling to take some of the steps necessary to address the most feasible threats.

DISCLAIMER: Use at your own risk.

The First Step:

This analysis will be a long-term process – It’s best to write it down! Get a notepad and a pencil or two, probably an eraser will be handy as well. This may take several weeks, altogether, for the preliminary steps. Once you have them, you’ll be modifying your lists often.

Who are you planning for? Are you single, married, with kids, expecting kids, extended family, pets, friends, neighbors? You first need to define the universe of people you’re worried about. What sort of problems does that universe present? Does someone have chronic health needs? Is there an infant that requires diapers and formula? List the people on a piece of paper, then list the special needs they have.

Next, on a separate sheet of paper, list all the things that concern you. Don’t worry about putting them in any order, and don’t worry about their relative likelihood – just write them all down.

Some things to think about:

Natural Disasters:

  • Weather
  • Floods
  • Drought
  • Winter Storms
  • Hurricanes
  • Tornadoes
  • Heat
  • Climate change
  • Disease/Epidemic
  • Wildfire
  • Avalanche
  • Mud slides
  • Earthquakes
  • Volcanic activity
  • Tidal Surges (Tidal Waves, Tsunamis)

Man-made Disasters:

  • Political Disasters
  • Riot
  • Foreign invasion of the US
  • Martial law
  • Totalitarian government
  • Environmental Disasters
  • Hazardous Materials spills
  • Nuclear material or plant accidents
  • Dam failures
  • Water / Air pollution

Economic Disasters:

  • Depression
  • Inflation
  • Loss of your job / income / home


  • All out nuclear
  • Limited nuclear
  • Terrorist nuclear
  • Chemical attack
  • Biological attack


  • Kidnapping
  • Hijacking
  • Attacks on the infrastructure (water, electricity)
  • Hostage taking
  • Sabotage (see nuclear accidents, Haz mat)
  • see also WAR


  • House damage or destroyed due to fire or accident
  • Family subjected to crime
  • Robbery
  • Burglary
  • Car jacking
  • Kidnapping

Once you have all the possible threats written down (don’t be worried if you come up with new threats as you work on it, it’s a dynamic process). Write down what that threat will mean to you and your lifestyle – what will you have or not have, what will you be able to do or not be able to do, what will you need (even if you already have it). Finally, rank them in the order that YOU perceive them to be a threat. For example, if earthquakes are your most serious threat, put them as number 1. You may have things that you think are equally threatening – in that case, rank them both at a number – this isn’t supposed to be hard.

Do you see why having a notebook (or better yet, a computer) to do this with is handy? Don’t get frustrated if you have a couple of false starts, deciding part way through a list to completely start over. This is a good indication that your knowledge and awareness is expanding, and the knowledge and experience that you gain will serve you well.

Preparedness is not an accomplishment, its an ongoing state of readiness. Techniques will have to be refined, preparations updated and goals re-evaluated.

You should now have a prioritized list of the hazards that you think are significant. This allows you to devote your time, money and energy resources to the most important things first. With this list, you can start deciding what sorts of preparation you need to do to meet the threat. For example, lets say that hurricanes are your most significant concern (presumably you live in hurricane land). Hurricanes can cause power outages, block roads, flood or damage homes, cause temporary food shortages, create a big mess, etc. So, what do you need to survive?

(End Page 1)