Missouri preppers face many of the same threats as anyone else in America: civil collapse, EMP, natural disasters, etc. However, Missourians have unique challenges than preppers in other states. What makes sense for a prepper in Alaska may not make sense for a prepper in Kansas. This applies to Missouri as well.
NOTE: Do you live in Missouri? You know your state, so let us know in the comments section how this article can be improved. What did we miss? What did we get right?
Missouri Overview – Prepper’s Perspective
Known as the “Show Me” state, Missouri is not a stranger to anyone interested in prepping. However, with the popular show “Ozarks,” Missouri should consider changing its nickname to just the “Ozark State.” Though the show is a fiction, the rural nature of the state is accurately represented in the TV show. Given the vast swaths of rolling hills on public land, it is no wonder why the prepping community is so well represented in this midwestern survivalist mecca.
However, Missouri isn’t all wilderness and untamed mountains. On the contrary, the state has a growing number of high-tech and financial service companies. Since 2015, Missouri has claimed ten Fortune 500 companies. These are all well known firms that the everyday American does business with. Express Scripts, Monsanto, O’Reilly Automotive, Edward Jones, and Peabody Energy are just a few examples of the state’s business accolades. Together, these companies employ approximately 28,000 people and have payrolls totaling $3.1 billion.
Even with emerging industries in advanced manufacturing, like aerospace and HVAC technology, agriculture remains in the top five industries. When you consider the size of the state relative to it’s population, this isn’t so surprising. Given that it is the 18th most populous state, it is no wonder that the state’s biggest industries in 2015 were retail, salespeople, social assistance, nurses, and healthcare.
Food security in Missouri is an interesting topic. The state regularly exports food to other states thanks to its large agricultural industry. However, the state’s large population reports a 72% satisfaction with the ability to readily obtain food as needed. This mediocre number lead the Governor of Missouri to create a task force to ascertain the reasons this number was not higher. The results could represent ominous implications of a SHTF scenario.
While food was fairly easy to obtain, healthy food was largely seen as too expensive and difficult to locate. This means that a large portion of Missouri residents rely on highly processed foods obtained at local retail outlets. In a SHTF scenario, there will likely be a breakdown of supply lines. This means that a large portion of the population of the state could be very hungry very quickly in the event of a disaster. For a prepper, this not only means hunger, but societal instability.
The water quality and availability in Missouri is largely good. However, as with any place, there are still concerns. Thanks to the modern world that mined coal, used fracking techniques on wells, and allowed runoff to enter into the aquifers, Missourians still have to make sure their water is isn’t tainted with mercury or radium.
While this isn’t an alarmist concern, in a collapse situation, modern water purification and sanitation systems are likely to cease operation. Therefore, for long term health of anyone bugging in, there will be a need for water storage and at-home water filters.
Missouri Specific Concerns
If there is one thing to be concerned with in Missouri, it is the tornados. Most states have some sort of weather malady that they regularly have to contend with. Missouri is on a different plane of existence concerning tornados. Tornado alley cuts through the southwest corner of the state. In the previous years, exceptionally large and frequent tornados have regularly impacted the lives of Missourians. More on all of this in a moment.
If the George Floyd Riots of 2020 taught us anything, it was where the angry, disenfranchised, and forgotten populations of America are located. Ferguson and St Louis were two such locations that angry mobs broke into buildings, smashed cars, and caused chaos.
Ferguson warrants special concern as unrest had struck there in three separate waves due to a population’s dissatisfaction with the local police force. While order was restored, the underlying government and societal tinder still lies waiting for the next spark.
Missouri Natural Disasters
Missouri has faced a host of disasters over the years. Floods, ice storms, tornadoes, and even the creation of Superfund sites all exist within Missouri’s borders. Less severe natural disasters that occur in Missouri are winter storms, tornadoes, earthquakes, wildfires, landslides, droughts and extreme heat.
Given Missouri’s proclivity for storms, it is not surprising to learn that Missouri is in the top ten US states when it comes to lightning-related deaths. Moreover, due to the state’s proximity to the Missouri River, the state has an increased risk of flooding.
These floods, combined with the storms that cause them, are a recipe for apocalyptic levels of mayhem. Here are some examples.
1) Great Flood of 1951 – One of the most devastating floods occurred between June and July in 1951. Massive rains led to the swelling of the Missouri River, causing widespread flooding throughout the state. Kansas City endured severe flooding, leading to the deaths of 17 people, and the displacement of 518,000 people. This level of displacement lead to a ripple affect that brought the state to a grinding halt as the rest of the nation sought to lend aid.
2) The Hyatt Regency Walkway Collapse (1981) – While the state is known for its storms, flooding, and all the things that follow. One of the most shocking and devastating events in its history was actually manmade. A tea dance was being held in the hotel lobby of the Hyatt Regency Kansas City Hotel at the time with 1600 in attendance. An engineering flaw caused two nearby walkways on the 2nd and 4th floor to collapse, killing 114 and injuring 216 others.
3) Great Flood of ’93 – In 1993, massive rainfall along the entire path of the Mississippi River led to record setting levels of water making their way down to Missouri. As the Mississippi River exceeded it’s banks and made its way into the lives of local residents, devastation ensued. A total of 27 people died in the flood. However, this incident was exceptional as 21 of the 27 were from drownings. This speaks to the tenacity of the flood waters that infected Missouri that year.
4) The Poisoning of Times Beach – Animals began dying unexpectedly, people began getting rashes, headaches, nosebleeds, diarrhea, and having other problems as well. Noticing the unusual uptick in these events, Times Beach was evacuated and made into a Superfund site shortly afterward. The proceeding investigation revealed shocking information. For four years, a man who had been hired to control the dust had mixed dioxin with the motor oil and sprayed it on the streets. The end result was Times Beach being declared it to have been poisoned.
5) 2007 Ice Storm – Shortly after a proceeding ice storm the previous December, another major ice storm left over 200,000 without power in the middle of January. This exposed many Missouri residents to a cold winter that they were not prepared for. This led 300,000 people to seek shelter at 85 different shelters across the state. When all was said and done, the 1.5” of ice that had accumulated on practically everything dealt millions of dollars in damages.
6) The Joplin Tornado (2011) – Killing 158 and injuring 1000 in a matter of moments, an F5 tornado blew through Joplin. It was the deadliest tornado since 1947. The devastation was epically exhaustive and the tornado was deemed the single most costly in the history of the United States. To this day, Joplin and Springfield still stand in the way of many frequently occurring large tornados.
Learn to Farm
Missouri, despite the storms, is a fantastic place to live and farm. In the event you are having to bug in, provided you have set your home up correctly, you should only have to lock your front gate. Given the ease of water extraction from its aquifers, fertile soil, ideal wind and sun for power production, there is no reason Missourians can’t begin living more independently. With the right seasonal approach, ample food, water, and security can be acquired in the Show Me State.
A solid storm shelter is a must in Missouri. However, it is even more important in the state’s southwest corner. With the frequency of tornados, you will need to outfit that shelter with food, water, and heat. While no one knows when the next F5 is coming, everyone knows how to prepare for it.
Build an underground fallout-style shelter that is properly ventilated and equip it with a 90-day supply of food and water. It would be advisable to also have a ham radio installed so that you can gather up to date intelligence on what is happening in the greater area.
When it comes to avoiding the people-centric problems in Missouri, there are plenty of rural options to reside in. The riots and high crime are largely isolated to a few cities in the greater St. Louis area. While high paying jobs at a large firm could be tempting, avoid this area if societal collapse is a top concern for you. They will be lovely in the good times, but apocalyptic when the SHTF. Remember, when society begins to break down, you are where you live and its too late to do anything about it then.
One of the most important pieces of equipment for any prepper planning to bug out is to have decent maps of their state. Having an identified bug out location is crucial. All preppers in any state should begin their bug out plans with a paper map of their state.
Buy a Barometer Watch
Learn what impending storms look like. A basic book on meteorology will be sufficient to interpret what sudden drops in air pressure mean. Given the state’s frequency of severe storms that bring tornados, hail, and torrential rain, you will want to know what is heading your way so you can seek appropriate shelter.
Today, there are many smart watches and cellphone apps that monitor the weather and alert the wearer if there are sudden changes. Having one on you at all times and learning how to use it can be extremely helpful as you make your way to your bug out location.
Missouri is a state that has records highs and lows in short spans of time. While you don’t want to die from heat exhaustion in your escape, you also want to avoid hypothermia as well. The best way to do this is to dress in layers. Keeping insulation and shell layers in your bugout bag are important to dealing with shifts in the weather. As a rule of thumb, you should seek to rid your closet of anything made out of cotton. Remember, when you are bugging out, what you have on is what you have to survive in.
Learn to Forage
Missouri was once the home to a thriving Mississippian culture before the Spanish spread small pox to them. The reason is clear, the abundance of food and water. However, modern man has largely lost these skills and knowledge. Taking a class, reading a book, or watching videos online can help rekindle the old ways of life and allow you to survive as you make your way out of the disaster zone.
This article just scratches the surface of what Missouri preppers need to know. The following links could held educate you more on prepping in the state.
PrepperNet Missouri Southwest – Group of preppers that regularly meet to exchange ideas and to network.
Missouri Survival Network – Active Facebook group that regularly posts ideas and how to articles and videos.
Missouri Department of Public Safety – State disaster response website that has up to date information and training.
State Emergency Management Agency Safety Videos – Official advice on how to survive Missouri’s tornados.
First Earth Wilderness School – School based in Rogersville that instructs students on how to survive the wilds of Missouri.
Sigma 3 Survival School – Based in Reeds Spring, Sigma 3 accepts GI Bill tuition payments and provides Wilderness Survival Instructor certifications.