It Will Never Happen to Me… Right?

Every state has emergency response teams and equipment designed to deal with crises caused by extreme weather, natural disasters, and other serious problems.

And when an issue caused by one of these events overwhelms a state’s capacity to deal with it, FEMA moves in to assist. 

Sounds like a good system, right? On paper, yes. In reality, often no. Emergencies frequently overwhelm states’ abilities to handle them. And it takes time for FEMA to move in with its workers and resources.

While Hurricane Hilary was pounding Southern California as a tropical storm late last month, San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria summed up the situation perfectly: “We’re not built for this kind of rainfall.” 

If every state and FEMA official were perfectly honest, they’d be saying the same type of thing regarding their ability to handle extreme weather events and other crises.

You Can’t Count on Help

Cities, counties, and states are just not built for the kinds of emergencies Americans are facing these days. They try, but they don’t have the funding, manpower, and equipment necessary to deal with most crises in a timely manner. 

Often the result is the lack of the basic necessities of life – electrical power, food, and clean water – until the situation is resolved. Which can require anywhere from several days to several weeks.

In addition, crises cause blackouts and supply chain issues, which result in food shortages and higher prices. 

The answer to this dilemma is becoming self-sufficient so we’re not dependent upon help from the government. It means getting out of the “It won’t happen to me” mindset, making a preparedness plan, and executing it when necessary

Showing Up in Odd Places

The main reason Americans are becoming victims of emergencies more often these days is the increase in both the number of extreme weather events and their intensity.

But another reason is that some of those severe weather events are occurring in areas where they rarely or never occurred before.

Whoever heard of a hurricane affecting half the country? Yet that’s what happened with Hurricane Sandy. 

It made landfall in New Jersey, which hadn’t had a major hurricane in decades, but its effects were felt as far west as Illinois. Sandy ended up killing 48 people and leaving millions without power.

And when was the last time a tropical storm struck California? Florida, Louisiana, Texas… sure. But Southern California? It was virtually unheard of.

The storm produced heavy rainfall, high winds, flooding, and mudslides. And it was accompanied by an earthquake. Evacuation orders even occurred in Arizona due to this storm. 

Storms Are Getting Stronger 

With global sea levels rising each year, hurricanes are becoming more intense. One that might have only caused minor flooding several decades ago is now causing major flooding. Just last year, Hurricane Ian became the deadliest storm to hit Florida since 1935. 

Tornadoes are also becoming more frequent and fiercer. They’re knocking out power for more people and destroying more property, especially in the Plains and Midwest.

And then there are derechos, such as the one that slammed Iowa so hard in 2020. It included sustained winds of 70 miles per hour and spawned a tornado outbreak.

Wildfires are also growing in both number and acreage of land being torched. The West and Northwest are particularly vulnerable, thanks to arid conditions and lightning strikes.    

Not Preparing Is Illogical

Why don’t more people prepare for emergencies? Especially those caused by extreme weather events.

Sometimes it’s because they are so used to hearing about bad things happening in other regions of the country that their area seems safe to them.

And even after people do experience a severe weather event, they think it’s unlikely something that serious will ever happen to them again. 

Educators and psychologists have studied why people don’t prepare for extreme weather after going through it. 

Selective Memory Is a Disadvantage

Robert Myer is co-director of the Risk Management and Decision Processes Center at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

“People actually have a really good memory of past storms that they’ve been through,” he said. “But what people tend to forget, which often causes laxness in protection or preparation, is what it really felt like to go through these storms.

“It seems really bad at the time, and you have people thinking, ‘Next time I’m going to really fully prepare; I never want to go through this again.’ 

“Then three or four months later, you remember the event but forget what it felt like.”

A Plan Beats a Dice Roll 

Failing to remember how difficult it was to get through a bad situation – including power outages, food shortages, and a lack of clean water – or believing something like this could “never happen to me” are the equivalent of rolling dice and hoping for the best. 

Everyone’s luck runs out eventually. A much more logical – and safer – way to deal with the situation is to assume something bad will happen and prepare for it. 

For example, creating a family emergency plan and putting together or purchasing a comprehensive survival kit.

We’ll all face some kind of crisis sooner or later. Those who prepare for it will almost always fare better than those who don’t. Instead of thinking, “It’ll never happen to me,” we should put ourselves in the position of saying, “It just might happen to me… and now I’m ready.”


  • Paul Jahnson - September 06, 2023

    The beginning of this article deals with the “facts on the ground” and that pretty much sums up the idea of the only source one can count on in any weather event, is their own preparedness.
    However…after “Showing up in odd places”…maybe it’d be wise to alter your statements a bit.

    I can see the “why” you’ve chosen to use the “sound bites” of “climate change”…after all, it’s possibly the only reason some people will bother to take responsibility for their own safety. However, it just might be more appropriate to add “alleged” to most of this reasoning…and no… actually fewer acres are burning then at times past…just makes sense when you “cherry pick” your time frame. As for oceans rising…nope, same again…just have to look at sea levels affected differently by the gravitational pull of the moon…our “tilt” difference in our earth’s axis over time and other numerous factors making sea levels “regional” and not universal. In short, I’m not here to educate anyone…personally, believe what you will…chicken little did and it takes a lot to go into the myriad of sources I’ve read and checked out over decades. I graduated from college when we were headed for another “ice age” and the “group think” at the time was crop failures, food shortages and mass starvation. Looking back at all the times we were destined to all die off in “ten yrs. from now”…I still laugh that I’ve continued my journeys around the sun for 50 more decades! Just know that storms aren’t more severe, we’re just more inundated with the information as to their existence…before, it was “out of site, out of mind.”

    In short…it’s “your business” and to “free market enterprise” and “marketing” (interesting use of behavior modification from my Psych minor) I’m a firm believer. Keep it simple…this “world order of ESG” is making it harder to just make a living. My sincere hope is that you will continue to “live long and prosper!”


    Paul Jahnson

  • James Gregg - September 06, 2023

    Being prepared is a life long philosophy. It means ignoring the political rhetoric. Don’t believe in climate change? Its okay not to believe in it. Its not okay to be unprepared for it. I don’t believe in the zombie apocalypse, but I prepare for something similar just because I ain’t always right. Maybe there is a pandemic out there thats very similar and I should at least prepare for my family to withstand it. There are a lot of things that I will probably be proven wrong about, so I prepare for the worst case scenario just in case. The military taught me to always be prepared (probably stole it from the Boy Scouts).

  • Cheryl Irvin - September 06, 2023

    I got a three month kit. It has everything you said! We have other emergency items in place. We are planning the next step. Appreciate your information.

  • Robin McCord - September 06, 2023

    I love the message and products from 4Patriots. I would have loved to get in on the Labor Day ultimate package but we don’t get paid until this Friday. Will 4Patriots be offering this package again? We have bought several products and know the quality but we had a big purchase due to our heating/air unit going out. Please, if you have time to respond, let me know so we can have peace of mind knowing we could still have many of the survival products you bundled in that package. Thank you for your time.

    Robin McCord
    Canton GA

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