Sometimes, I can’t tell if I’m reading the news or the plots of Hollywood disaster flicks.

We’ve got superstorms, supergerms, terror plots, and industrial accidents that can wipe entire towns off the map--and God only knows what kind of threats tomorrow will bring.

Sometimes, it seems like you need to be James Bond to survive one of these disasters. But I like your odds here--because you’ve got someone even craftier than Q in your corner.

You’ve got me.

So take a day this summer to skip the movies and engage in something far more important. Prepare yourself and your family for a disaster, using my...


STEP ONE: Make sure your home is ready for a shelter-in-place if necessary. Stock up on extra food such as emergency rations or MREs, gallons of water, battery-powered radios (and batteries), flashlights, a first-aid kit, generator, fuel, and more. If you’ve got a pet, make sure you’ve got supplies for your critter, too.

I know this isn’t politically correct, but you also want a firearm and the ability to use it. If things really go south, you don’t want to be without a weapon.

Keep all your supplies in the attic, if you have one, and not the basement if you live in an area prone to flooding. And if flood is a threat, make sure your attic has an axe so you can hack your way out if necessary as well as a self-inflating raft.

STEP TWO: If you’re near any kind of ominous plant--a nuclear facility, chemicals plant, fertilizer factory, etc.--have three or four routes out of town memorized, and practice your evacuation plan. You want to be able to get out the door and on the road in 10 minutes or less--and clear out of town without using any major highways.

Those will clog long before the warning sirens sound.

STEP THREE: Have plenty of cash on hand. If you need to travel during a disaster, you’ll need plenty of it--and you won’t have time to stop at an ATM. Even if they’re working, you can bet the lines will be around the block.

If you’re smart, you’ll also have some precious metals such as gold. If things REALLY hit the fan, your paper currency will be even more worthless than it is today.

A fireproof safe isn’t a bad idea for storing this stuff.

STEP FOUR: Make sure your family has a place to meet if disaster strikes while you’re out and you can’t reach your home. Ideally, choose a friend or relative’s house, away from any well-known landmarks and in the opposite direction of potential threats such as raging rivers, nuclear plants, and Washington D.C.

Don’t count on your phone to keep in touch. If there’s a disaster, your smart phone will almost certainly go dumb.

And if anyone is less dependable than Ma Bell, it’s Uncle Sam. As Katrina taught us too well, he’ll leave you up a creek without a paddle (or even a raft), and then throw you a concrete block for a lifeline.

So don’t count on either of them for help.

As always, the only one you can truly depend on (besides me) is yourself--and your own ability to prepare.