As the saying goes, the best time to prepare for a disaster was last year. The next best time is now. How do your characters plan to deal with problems before they happen? And how well do their plans match reality?
This is going to depend partly on your character. How foresighted they are, how much useful info they have on local and world events, and how much available resources they can put toward preparations that might never be needed.
But part of it’s going to depend on how predictable your world is. A once in a century flood, while uncommon, is likely to be in records someone can look up. Zombie apocalypse? Not so much.
There are indeed people prepared for a zombie apocalypse. But realistically speaking, not many, and not as well as they think. There’s always some detail you miss in disaster prep. Always.
…Though if you have a world in which zombie outbreaks are a known thing, the odds of someone being prepared enough go up.
(So does the level of paranoia, and probably the amount of weapons training emergency medical personnel get. If the odds of Zombie are high, scrubs are likely to get changed out for motorcycle leathers or something equally bite-resistant. And rescue breathing will be very, very unlikely. First rule of disasters: don’t become another victim.)
Which circles right back to, what are known and unknown disasters in your world? Which do you plan to hit your characters with? And how ready do you want them to be?
Note, I’m not saying how realistically ready do you want them to be. Your story, your characters, your decision on how in-touch they are with conventional reality. Which do you think makes a more interesting story if a portal to a fantasy world opens up in Central Park? The D&D nerd who knows the Monster Manuals backwards and forwards, or the NYC fireman who may not know burning hands from pyrokinesis, but can make a pretty good guess that the laughing maniac is somehow causing the fires?
Honestly, I think it’d be awesome if they teamed up. Like Mulder and Scully, if Mulder had gamebooks and Scully had a fire ax….
Granted, that’s more along the lines of handling disaster rather than averting it. But good stories should have both! Your heroes should be able to see some of the punches coming in time to roll with them. Then you hit them with the sucker plot punch while they’re trying to catch their breaths.
Got your disasters in mind? Round one, go!