New Mexico Urban Homesteader

Hello, I am A 50 Something, Prepper ;-}; former 60's Flower Child, don't believe in taxpayer subsidized special interest groups (political parties), DO believe in the Constitution and Bill of Rights (1st 10). Long time Independent & Informed Voter. Lover of the outdoors and firm believer that History Teaches - if only we will listen!

(No longer Urban or in NM. Now Rural in the mountains of Maine.)

This blog was started at the request of some dear friends that wish to become Preppers.

“No man who is not willing to help himself has any right to apply to his friends, or to the gods.”

Demosthenes (384–322 BC, Greek statesman and orator of ancient Athens)

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

What Are the Odds?

We are bombarded daily with all kinds of possible crisis’s, emergencies, disasters and hazards.  Yet what do the ‘experts’ of science and education say the odds of these things are?

First we have to remember that science and education have been wrong.  The world is not flat, the Earth is not the center of the universe, blood transfusing is better than bloodletting and ‘100 year floods’ have occurred 2 or more times in a 20 year time frame.  

We humans can’t solely rely on our gut instincts and sixth senses either.  Our guts can be wrong and we tend to have irrational fears that taint our ‘accuracy’ or perception of the odds.

Not to mention that our very humanness means we cannot just ignore one over the other, even if our rational mind or science indicates we should.  Whenever we do, we usually end up drastically lowering our survivability quotient.

Now add that we humans hate thinking about anything remotely sad or bad.  We will subconsciously avoid talking, thinking or researching these ‘sad’ and ‘bad’ subjects and as a result these are the things we usually get blindsided by.

The most common of these ‘don’t want to think about it’ (or ‘that can’t happen’) crisis are:
  • Some kind of FIRE:  We hate thinking that we may have a house fire or a fire at work or school or while at the theater.  Yet historical fire events show and the ‘experts’ state, that the odds of us being affected by or experiencing a fire of some kind is greater than any of the larger catastrophic type crises we hear and worry about, and even some of the natural type crises too.
  • Some kind of CRIME:  This can take the form of a carjacking, home invasion while you are home or not home, a robbery while at the grocery store, a mugging, identify theft and so forth.  Crime is on the rise around the world and the U.S. is no exception.
  • Some kind of severe ILLNESS or INJURY to you or a loved one:  This can be anything from falling off your front porch and breaking a leg, a heart attack, auto accident or some other illness or injury.
  • Some kind of PERSONAL FINANCIAL crisis:  This can be from a poor investment, losing a law suit or getting laid off and the like.

Lastly, add in that we can’t rule out plain old Luck either!

This means that logically we need to balance these factors against one another and come up with ‘odds’ that ‘best match’ for our mental quirks, beliefs and understanding.

How?  Well, there is a simple three step process to do this.  I call it the Possibility, Probability and Moderated Crisis lists.

First list all the crises that you are concerned about.  Don’t think about this; just list them as they come to mind.  Usually the order in which you list these potential crises is what priority you are placing them at - It is the subconscious priority list of what you are concerned about.  This is your Possibility Priority List.  Be sure to address those 4 “can’t think about it” type crises, even if they are listed last as an afterthought.

Next do some research on what the ‘experts’ say the odds of these things occurring are and what any historical events of this kind have taken place to date.  Doing this puts your concerns into perspective and is your Probability Priority List.  These are the exact same crises as your Possibility List, only prioritized based on the ‘experts’ and their odds.

This will also entail doing a home hazard hunt and a review (or discussion with your physician) of your general health habits and condition. Going to the FBI Uniform Crime Report and checking on the crimes in your area (how often and what kind of crime), as well as checking with your local, county or state fire department for information on the kinds of fires they respond to and their frequency.

The tables discussed latter in this article, will assist you in this research.

The third step is to moderate these two lists into a priority list that you can live with, consciously and subconsciously, or what I call the Moderated Priority List.

There is only one rule to this moderation.  Say a crisis is # 2 on your Possibility list and # 7 on your Probability list.  This means you must list it somewhere between # 3 and # 6 on your Moderated List.  Conversely, if something is # 7 on your Possibility List and # 2 on your Probability List, you must list it somewhere between # 3 and # 6 on your Moderated List.

Above all, keep all of this in perspective.  The truth is that 99.99% of the disasters we are likely to encounter will NOT involve a widespread, government/world altering event or mega disaster.  Instead they will take the form of lost jobs, accidents, medical issues, fire, crime, etc., followed by the usual severe weather and natural planetary issues; for example:  flooding, earthquakes, land/mud slides, meteorite and the like.

Perception and Reality are more often than not, 2 different animals!

Fact is that every place has its dangers; we just have to assess them. And it’s probably reasonable to assume that no matter where we live to 75+ years of age, we’ll probably see at least one local event like an earthquake, hurricane, or flooding and many people will see several. Not to mention that most of us will experience some kind of medical issue or ‘accident’ type injury.  Think about this - the United States has some of the fewest massive crises type events, with some of the lowest injury and mortality counts than most other countries.  In fact most ‘tier 1’ or ‘western’ cultures experience fewer massive crises than those countries that are not ‘tier 1’.

There have been many ‘Preparedness’ and ‘Risk Factor’ surveys and reports over the decades; some rather scientific (and quantifiable) and some not so much, that quantify the above statement.  The results of some of the more recent surveys can be found @

Situational Awareness is the # 1 asset in a crisis in any situation; it is one of the greatest variables to our survivability quotient that is within our realm of control.  One cannot just learn it, one must DO IT to be good at it!

To help you keep your Situational Awareness high, here are some links to assist you with staying aware of what is happening around you.  The more aware you are the less risk to you.

There are 3 'Odds" tables in the document What Are the Odds? @ that contain the odds of occurrence (that I could find) that resulted in injury and or death; from alien invasion to various work & play incidents like dying from a drinking straw (perspective, remember perspective)

One table is in % per average Lifetime (75 years) or Century.  The other is the “1 in” odds per average Lifetime (75 years) or Century.  Both of these tables are sorted by the most likely to occur to the least likely to occur.

The third table is general information on the occurrences to date, of most of these various events.

Fourth, for all of us ‘visual’ type people is a bunch of charts or graphics arranged kinda by date, on all kinds of things from risks, crime rates and trust, to cost of various past events, taxes, mortality causes and general economy; what state gets the most government funds, Federal Court districts, as well as time zones and the like.

Fifth, are descriptions and links to 4 terrific sites that will keep you informed on all kinds of ‘threats’ from natural to man made causes.  These sites provide up the hour, real time data.

At the end of all of this is a table with links to all kinds of related information; including an Excel Workbook that has state by state rankings (2010) on the various characteristics Preppers look for (just in case you are looking to move or purchase a retreat).

I know all these tables makes for a rather long document.  Yet, I have never known research to be quick or easy.  I’m helping you out here by sharing the results of all of my research to date.  So no matter how boring you find this, please remember that this is to assist you with the research part of your Possibility, Probability and Moderated Crisis Lists.  These tables will also be beneficial in putting all kinds of ‘concerns’ into perspective.

I hope this helps and Good Luck  ;-}


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