Does your prepping include a worst case scenario and if so, how?

This isn’t about worst case scenario bias in which people overreact to small deviations from normalcy and treat those incidents as signs of impending catastrophe.

This is about worst case scenario. No bias. It is about how our concept of worst case scenario can change because of life events and life cycles.

Yesterday, while working on the “Prepping around the world – how other cultures use their natural resources” thread, I realized the Dutch are doing everything possible to stay ahead of their worst case scenario which is being overtaken by rising sea levels.

One definition of scenario is a suggested sequence or development of events. Add “worst case” and the phrase means the worst possible sequence or development of events.

My preparedness is spread over the usual areas of disaster, but the idea of worst case scenario is one I hadn’t considered before.

I wondered, “Am I preparing for my worst case scenario and if so, what is it? What would be the worst case scenario for me?”

After sleeping on it, I still feel like I have never considered that issue, not consciously at least. My worst case scenario. What does that mean to me?

We lost our family farm to a fire. At the time I thought that was the worst thing that could ever happen. Then that concept shifted when other crises happened as my life unfolded.

My current geographic area could experience flash flooding, fires, power outages, blizzards, killing cold or any number of natural or man-made disasters. Yet none of them, including the pandemic happening now doesn’t feel like my worst case scenario. A problem, yes. My worst case, no.

Is it because I have prepared well, or is it because I have already been to the brink of my worst case scenario and the pandemic isn’t it for me? Or, could it be a bit of both?
Some people prepare to avoid discomfort or starvation. The aspects of preparedness that are foremost and sharpest in my mind are protecting myself against violence and crime.

It is borne of my history and experience. When your life hangs in the balance between the hope of rescue and another day of torture, between escaping while drugged and injured or dying where you were left, to be finished off later, or between the choice of submission to a blade over death, you choose survival every time if you want to live. 

At a baseline level, my focus is always on avoiding two-legged danger and staying alive. It is impossible to ignore and governs every aspect of how I live and prepare.

When I planned the changes to my garden, I factored site lines for the security cameras and construction methods to ensure that no one can hide behind the planters. I have ensured that the design is free of any elements or objects that could be used against me or employed as a tool to break in to my home.

When I bring in prep items, I have a transfer method that keeps them private from any prying eyes. Labels are removed from any shipments and shredded. There is nothing that would distinguish me as a prepper either in my garbage or recycling. 

Inside my home, anything that can be used to restrain or injure me is hidden away out of sight and easy access. You won’t find a knife block in my home. My knives are convenient for me to access, but out of sight. There are items throughout my home that can be deployed as improvised weapons if needed.

Every time I am in a vehicle my doors are locked. I scan each time I enter and exit my vehicle. I scan parking lots and vehicles around me. No one exits my vehicle in a parking lot until I give the go ahead to leave the vehicle.

The list goes on. I live and prep with every instinct and scrap of experience I have garnered. 

I don’t like the consequences of being vulnerable so there is no off switch for me. I wasn’t born to prep. I was made to prep.
The safety and security aspect of preparedness is where I become like the Dutch mentioned above.

I am doing everything possible to stay ahead of time, the enemy that steals physical strength, and chance, the variable that can trigger a dangerous event.

Time and chance happen to us all. I know my strength now, in this moment, and I can’t picture a future self where I am decrepit and vulnerable. Now my preparedness factors ageing and it’s associated imagined issues, as much as I loathe doing it. 

There are degrees of extremity within a particular worst case scenario and I have already experienced a broad range of severity that is possible for mine. 

I have not however, experienced the worst case scenario, which for me is, not to survive because I didn’t crawl until I could get up, didn’t keep going until I found a way out. The worst case scenario for me, regardless of the disaster, is to just give up and not survive.

The idea of the worst case scenario is different for each of us. Have you ever considered what your worst case scenario is? If so, how has it affected the way you prep? 

Has your worst case scenario changed as your life has unfolded? If so, has it also changed the way you prep?


  • Comments (8)

    • 3

      IMO, prepping for a worst case scenario is very advanced.  Most preppers just want to survive a localized event, until help comes.  Surviving the aftermath of say a hurricane or fire storm might be their goal.  That is very commendable and wouldn’t the country be better off if everyone did so?

      My prepping journey started that way.  I just wanted enough food & water to hold us for a few weeks.  But once I had that, I then started thinking of what happens if an event occurred where a few weeks wasn’t enough?  What would that event actually be?  Reading the book One Second After gave me my answer… my worst case scenario.  Mine would be starvation after an event that took down the electric grid for many months or years… be it naturally (solar eruption) or manmade (EMP). 

      Solar coronal mass ejections that could extensively damage our electric grid are natural & commonplace.  The last major one was the Carrington event of 1859.  It is not a matter of if we have another similar, or worse, event… but when.  Likewise, an EMP weapon detonated in the atmosphere above our country could destroy much of our electric grid.  Several countries have the means to do this.  The one that worries me is North Korea.  Back in the 80’s when I was a Minuteman Missile Combat Crew Commander in Minot, ND, we had an option called a high altitude fusing burst.  As opposed to destroying targets on the ground, it was designed to explode in the atmosphere to disrupt communications & other electronics.  It takes some extremely advanced capabilities to strike a ground target accurately with a nuke.  The flight is thousands of miles long & reentry is very tricky.  However, an EMP weapon needs no such precision.  It doesn’t need to be accurate & doesn’t have to reenter the atmosphere.  A simple, and widely available tactical missile, say a SCUD or Club-K, can be launched from a freighter off the coast, hidden in a run of the mill shipping container used by the millions on ocean going freighters.  

      So now I prep to be self sufficient when the grid is down long term.  That involves much larger food stores, critical electronics protected from damage from an event, means to greatly ramp up food growth, plus the tools and plans to protect what I have.

      • 3


        I also started with the same time line and longer term prepping evolved from there.

        It’s like walking across a field and stubbing you toe on something in the ground. You stop, dig down a bit, realize there’s a lot more beneath the surface, and from there, you just keep digging.

        It is part of the reason I’m expanding garden areas this year and running experiments on sprouting older samples of heirloom beans.

        Thank you for the reference to grid disruption. That is something that could happen in the blink of an eye.

        My solar panels are planned for and can’t come soon enough, although there is a delay on building with lumber prices sky high now. My planters won’t be cedar. I’m trying to figure out another untreated wood and then paint them with food safe paint to keep them as long as possible.

        I also try to avoid relying entirely on electrical items. I have a lot hand tools inside and outside the home. My husband laughs at me sometimes when I’m baking and use my wooden spoon to mix a cake. He asks why I don’t pull out that nice big MixMaster he bought me. It’s because I don’t want to forget that it is possible to bake or cook without all the gadgets.

        My plans are focussed on compensating for age with a view to if where I live will remain viable or become another prairie ghost town. There is much to factor. I would like to remain independent and still want acreage if possible but right now I am working with what I have (reality). Maybe that isn’t such a bad thing either. If I can maximize longer term survival in my current situation, then that can be the training ground for if/when I can find a larger property.

      • 5

        I use treated lumber everywhere, including garden beds.  Years ago, treated lumber had arsenic in it, and thus the concern for using such lumber around food.  They stopped using that treatment & the new method is safe.  Think about it.  Would the government allow you to pick up & handle treated lumber at the hardware store if there was a chance you could get sick from handling it?  Would the hardware store legal dept. ?

        I live on 20 acres but most is yard & pastures.  My orchard is a bit over an acre but my garden is only 70′ x 40′.  That is plenty to provide the produce my wife & I consume.  But I use that garden plot to test varieties so that if there were a crisis, I would be ready to greatly expand my production.  For example, by gardening I know which corn, pole beans, winter squash, collards, etc. work well for me in my climate.  This year, I’ll only use a few ounces of corn seed in the garden yet I will have over 50 pounds of it in storage, replaced every three years.  I will grow amaranth in an area of around 10′ x 10′, using maybe 30 plants but when those plants mature, I’ll cut off their seed heads & place in a 6 gallon sealed pail & put in storage.  That will be millions of seeds (over a half million seed per pound).  Point being, take advantage of your current situation NOW, so that later you are prepared to possibly expand LATER.

      • 4

        Oh Redneck, Bless your heart!! Thank YOU!!! 

        I was busy this morning and started to move existing planters around, then came in to have quick lunch and I was going to start checking for lumber. I answered one other post and saw yours!! Oh thank goodness.

        And you are absolutely right! It makes total sense. I have no idea why I didn’t think of it — well actually I do know why. My husband’s first job was in a lumber yard and he is the one who tells me what lumber to but things change. I don’t want to hurt his feelings. I”ll just tell him the truth – new method of treating lumber that is safe.

        Yes indeed, I am taking advantage of the current situation. When I looked at the perimeter of my yard and thought, now do I want a fence there or a line of nice planters with a trellis attached to the back side of it. That’s when I realized how much more food and flowers for beneficial insects, plus I can experiment a bit, too.

        Thanks again Redneck.

      • 5

        Redneck, I think your strategy is very rational and true to many. I can see you surviving something big. I’m hoping to do something similar by just having a year’s worth of food and water and a way to make more. If something big happens, I can just live off of that and shelter in place for months. 

    • 6

      I’ve considered a worst case scenario, but for the sake of my sanity -and budget- I can’t prep for it right now. An EMP would be devastating. I’ve read One Second After and have seen the TV series Revolution. And have seen how it would take us back to the 1800’s. Scary stuff, but not as scary as what an actual nuclear war would be with the radioactive fallout. Instant death, burns, blindness, toxic air, and all the ground, objects, and plants would be radioactive. The only thing I can think of to survive something like that is to have a well made fallout shelter with years of supplies like in the movie Blast from the Past.

      But I don’t even have 6 months of food and water saved up or ways to cook it or power things so I am not even trying to think of any of my worst case scenarios because it just stresses me out. I need to focus on the basics first and then I can tackle the worst case scenario. 

      I totally support you or other preppers who have the basics down and are ready to prepare for the worst. I hope I can be there with you someday soon. 

      I like how you mention that you always rely on and practice with every instinct and scrap of experience you have garnered. I think that is brilliant and a real skill to develop.

      • 8

        Yes, don’t let the enormity of a worst case scenario keep you from your prepper journey.  Start small, but intelligently (not like how I started), and gradually build from there.

        I don’t worry as much with nuclear war.  If that were ever to happen between super powers, the world would not be worth living.  EMP, on the other hand, can be used by much smaller powers or organizations, and is much easier to deploy.

        Yep, I consider everything I grow practice for the worst case scenario.  That is why, for example, I’ll put in a small plot of upland rice this year.  Never grown it before but when you see how important a crop rice is to most of the world, it is a no brainer.  Regular rice, with flooded fields is just too much work and thus why I’m using an upland variety.

      • 3


        You can do it. A little bit every month will add up. Save money on prep items where you can. Buying second hand is okay and sometimes you get nicer quality.

        I made a list of my long term storage foods for my pantry and the quantities I wanted to have on hand (3 yrs) and achieved that goal by adding in the extra one month at a time. If you have a little extra money, tax refund for example, you can stock up more and get closer to your goal.

        If you eat what you store, it becomes really easy to add to your food stores. Look at how far you have come and not how far to go. This makes it easier to keep going ahead

        I believe we are not given more than we can bear in this life. The things I survived could have happened to someone else. Another person may not have been able to survive them, or, had they survived, their mental state may have become very fragile.

        Now, I am taking that instinct and experience to help teach others, including parents and law enforcement. No one talks about this kind of survival, but the risks need to be taught. Predator education is so needed. I am grateful to now be able to help teach others by sharing my experiences.