POV: You Survived a Disaster

pov you survived

Wondering what a disaster is really like? We collected some stories from people who went through the worst Mother Nature could throw at them and survived to tell the tale. If you’re not feeling motivated to start your disaster prep journey, reading these firsthand accounts might get you in gear!

Note: Some of these stories have been edited for clarity.


“When I became a mother and went through a hurricane with an infant,

…[it] was terrifying. The power was out, the windows were boarded so all you could do was listen. The rain and wind get so intense that you could swear it might take out the entire house.

The animals are constantly listening and aware and it’s just eerie. Board games, card games, books, coolers of food and water, and candles are necessary. Anything to take your mind away from the what-ifs and to keep everyone alive for a week with no power. Just in case.”



“I was in my room. I was sitting at my computer when it started, but being used to earthquakes by then I shrugged it off.

But it became violent pretty quickly and things started falling from my shelves. It wasn’t until my wardrobe fell forward and my TV flew from my desk did I think ‘shit, I need to get out of here’.

My room was a complete wreck and most things were smashed up, but the building still stands. I was injured trying to escape my room. I was on the second floor and had a balcony, during my panic I decided I was going over the balcony instead of staying in there and tried to get towards my window but the force of the shaking slammed me into it and the glass broke, cutting my arm and chest but not severely.”

Anonymous, sharing their experience of the 2011 Tōhoku Earthquake and Tsunami


“I was shopping in Walmart when the tornado hit. We were all herded to the back of the store. For the longest time I was sure nothing would happen, but when I saw the roof ripping off over my head it really hit me that I was probably going to die.”

wishthiswas4chan, sharing their experience of the 2011 tornado in Joplin, MO

House Fire

 “I’m 18, college freshman. Last spring, April 27, my family woke up to our house covered in smoke. We escaped through a second story bathroom window. The fire department is a mile down the street from us, but by the time they got there,

the house was engulfed. It took them close to 5 hours to put it out. I lost my dog and my two cats, and all of my belongings.

On the other hand, the community outreach was incredible, and for that I love my town. My family is rebuilding, and hopefully it will be done by spring. I consider myself very lucky to be alive, we had no smoke detectors up because my father had taken them down to paint the ceiling in the stairwell.”



“I live in Keaau, about 10 miles away from the nearest area that is being evacuated due to the sulfur dioxide levels. The latest earthquake was pretty scary. It knocked lots of stuff off the walls and broke some things. It also knocked out our power, cell service, and water for a few hours.

Currently, we don’t have clean water coming from our faucets. There was a line to get into the grocery store that went out [of] the store and around the building. Everyone is freaking out pretty bad.

We all have emergency bags packed in case we have to evacuate. School is also canceled for my younger siblings.”

Anonymous, sharing their experience of Mt. Kilauea’s eruptions and the numerous volcanic earthquakes in 2018

Hazardous Materials Spill

“The drink of the future? This morning I woke up to the WORST smelling tap water. Smelled like I could get 14 mpg. Called maintenance. Was told by a lovely gentleman that ‘personally, he wouldn’t drink, bathe, wash, or use the water at all’ and to call back in the afternoon for an update. Call back. For an update. Of course I jumped on social media and found that the neighborhood was experiencing a similar smell-induced morning vibe. Except some had already bathed their children. Or given pets morning food and water.

Rashes and sickness and complaints stretched through the day. Silence from the housing group. And from their ‘bosses’.

Ahem. No responsibility. No warning to ‘officially’ stay away from the water. No email, phone call, paper notice on the door.”

dissolve_42121, sharing their experience of the 2021 Red Hill jet fuel leak in Hawai’i


“I was 13. My best friend from school was on holiday there. It was really weird. I remember looking for her and her family’s names on survivor lists with my mum. Also, when she came back with a bandage and stitches on her knee all the teachers didn’t believe her at first that she was in a tsunami. Another school friend lost both his grandparents. They just went missing in the tsunami.”

TheCrazyAlpaca on the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami


“It’s pretty devastating. So much of the city seems underwater. I feel we got off easy, one of my mates has water up to his roof. We’re just going to wait until the water subsides a bit and then go sort through it all.

He lost pretty much everything. All household stuff, a couple of cars. The scope of the damage is hard to comprehend. Very surreal seeing a 53,000 capacity stadium 1/3 full of water like a massive bowl of soup.”

Johnny_Cotton, sharing their experience of the 2010-2011 Brisbane, AU Toowoomba Floods

Would you survive these terrifying situations?

Are you prepared? Are your Go and Stay Bags bagged fully stocked? Do you have a plan? If not, we hope that reading these stories left you more motived than ever to start prepping. Preparation is the easiest form of disaster harm reduction!

If you want to prepare, but don’t know where to begin, order our Starter Set, which contains 1 Disaster Playbook, 2 I Will Thrive Manuals (one of your Go Bag, another for your Stay Bag), and the Disaster Deep Dive.

The Disaster Playbook is the prepping bible for non-preppers, breaking down disaster preparedness basics into easy steps anyone can follow. Create and record a physical copy of your disaster plan with the Playbook’s companion, the I Will Thrive Manual. The Disaster Deep Dive gets your mind right when it comes to maintenance and drills, the unsung heroes of disaster preparedness. Together, they form the Here Comes the Apocalypse Starter Set, and they’ll have you kicking disaster prep’s butt from Page One to Page Done. Best of all, you’re getting four books for the price of two!

If you want to go above and beyond, consider the Disaster Bundle, our $200+ value bundle, containing 1 Disaster Playbook, 2 I Will Thrive Manuals, 10 Emergency Buddies, 2 Grab & Go Checklists, 2 Important Papers Packs, our Disaster Deep Dive e-book, the essential Master of Disaster digital form, a Sharpie, and a bonus sticker sheet!

About the Authors

Sarah joined Here Comes the Apocalypse from her digital marketing work at Artsy Geek. Her Go- and Stay Bags contain matcha as a comfort item along with a massive power bank to stay connected.

It takes a village! We are researching, writing and fact checking as a family. Collaboration is the name of the game, whether we’re running from a zombie horde or finding the best way to turn a complex concept into a deliciously digestible set of bullet points.

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