Disasters - Risk Assessment
Here are a few guidelines that can help in evaluating risk. As you can see, you could add numeric values and with a spreadsheet and a little time you could build a fairly good tool for evaluating your risks. Everyone would put different values for each item, but this just a reasoning tool not a hard and fast set of guidelines. You can assign your own weight to each item and use this method to determine which risks are the most important to mitigate.
Risk Assessment Tool
When we were deciding where we wanted to live, we traveled through several states looking at communities that were interesting to us. We were very surprised to see how many communities are located directly below an earthen water reservoir. We wondered how many people in these communities were aware of their ever present hazard. In the case of an earthquake they could lose everything from a hazard they may not realize even exists. Since my wife had lost her home to an earthen dam failure we consider the risk of living in an area like that as unacceptable.
Whether you agree in this specific case that the risk is not acceptable is not my point. I am just suggesting that you become more aware of the day-to-day risks that you are living with now. Be sure to look at maps, research flood zones, ask about tornadoes, hurricanes, record snow storms, ice storms and other natural hazards. Has your neighbor had his basement flooded? Make it a point to be aware of what you are facing in terms of locality based disasters.
Are there railroad tracks nearby or a highway? I took a course one time on emergency preparations for the county where I lived. I was horrified at the nature of the chemicals and other products that are shipped by rail and highway in this country. It's important to be generally aware of these things. We may be forced to live with these risks, but we have a choice in how we prepare ourselves and communities in case the unthinkable happens.
Most of the time we understand the risks of life and are more than happy to accept the risks so that we can get more enjoyment out of life. Since I celebrate the independent type person I have no issue here. However, when you take risks, do the simple things that can make what might appear to a be a dangerous sport or occupation as safe as possible. There are others around you that care and they may be placed in difficult circumstances if you fail to take sensible precautions. If you are severely injured (often the result of a simple mistake) the penalties can easily exceed anything we can imagine and quickly negate any benefit we think we receive by taking unwarranted risk.
Car accidents and other largely unpreventable situations are tough enough. Don't invite disaster.