Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit (Typically a libertarian-leaning political blog, but he also discusses many other topics including technology, camera reviews, science, nanotech, longevity, and the law, among other random and varied subjects), mentions disaster preparedness on a fairly regular basis.
This post today references some pertinent info that should be kept in mind. From the Popular Mechancs article he wrote and links is solid thinking regarding why people need to prep.
When it comes to large-scale emergencies, the country has a hidden weapon–and we can do more with this resource. I’m talking about a populace filled with self-reliant, community-minded individuals. During a major crisis, on the order of Katrina or a serious California earthquake, relief services can be overwhelmed. When individuals are prepared to look after themselves for a while, with food, water and medicine on hand, and alternative sources of heat or power, it makes a big difference. [Emphasis mine] The government can’t take care of everybody at once. If disaster-relief staffs don’t have to worry about you, they can take care of others–which means that being self-reliant can actually help your community.
As Glenn would say: ‘Read the whole thing,’ including the articles at the links.