Nevada preppers face many of the same threats as anyone else in America: civil collapse, EMP, natural disasters, etc. However, Nevadans have unique challenges than preppers in other states. What makes sense for a prepper in Maine may not make sense for a prepper in California. This applies to Missouri as well.
NOTE: Do you live in Nevada? 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?
Nevada Overview – Prepper’s Perspective
Home of Sin City, Nevada is known for its casinos and flashy lights. As well it should be as Vegas it is the largest US city founded in the 20th century and the 30th largest metropolis in the nation. The state’s casino-based tourism industry employs 28% of the workforce and contributes 45% of Nevada’s tax revenue. Gambling alone generates $10 billion annually in tax revenue, the largest amount in the United States.
Despite being located in the middle of a desert, the state continues to grow. Nevada is the 32nd most populous state and the 7th most extensive, for now. In the coming years, Nevada is likely to climb the ranks in state population. Right now, Nevada is ranked as the sixth fastest-growing state in the US.
Nevada is ranked 8th in the nation in terms of food scarcity. That means that during good times, many families have a difficult time feeding themselves. When the food trucks cease delivering food to the grocery stores and the food banks run empty, starvation will be next.
In this desert state with highly constrained water sources, a SHTF scenario is very likely to disrupt the food supply to the point of serious crisis. Therefore, have plenty of stores on hand with a way to source supplemental food if the event overextends your preparations.
It is not surprising that water is the biggest concern for any prepper in Nevada. Since only 30% of the state’s water supply comes from aquifers, Nevada’s biggest vulnerability is it’s reliance on surface water. What makes matters worse is that this reliance is largely on the Colorado River. That means the entire state’s population will be affected if there is a man-made or natural disaster that affects the regular flow of the Colorado River.
Dependent Urban Centers
Reno and Las Vegas are large population hubs that draw significant amounts of food and water from surrounding areas. With this type of dependance, their survival is literally at the pleasure of their neighbors. This is a house of cards waiting for the winds of change to blow over. The SHTF scenario doesn’t even have to happen in the state of Nevada, but rather some place that Nevada draws a significant amount of support from. For example, if an earthquake in Colorado caused a severe disruption to the flow of the Colorado River, the state would perish.
Therefore, it is vital for a prepper to have their food, water, and security game dialed in. The first crisis will be that of water not being readily available. Then food will come shortly after that. During all of this, people will begin to move across the state looking for a new haven to support them. This will cause Nevada to become very dangerous. However, with the appropriate level of preparations, you can not only survive, you can thrive.
Nevada’s Natural Disasters
Fires, floods, earthquakes, and deadly heat have all played a role in Nevada in the past, and it would be wise to assume they will still be present in the future. However, the state’s most common natural disasters include wildfires, floods, earthquakes, severe storms, landslides, heat waves and droughts. A special note should be given to man made events that also deal Nevada a severe amount of damage.
1) The Sabotaged Train of 1939 – In a severe act of criminal behavior. The investigation of the incident ruled that sabotage resulted in the derailment of a train outside of Harney, NV. The investigators found a rail moved in such a way that could only point toward the intentional derailment of the train. However, there is still debate on this being the conclusion as there were no suspects and no arrests were made. Regardless of the cause, the end result was still devastating with 24 people dead and 100 others injured.
2) The MGM Grand Fire (1980) – An electric ground fault inside a wall led to a current arc which lit this casino on fire. A total of 85 people were killed, and 650 others injured as the casino floor went up in smoke.
3) The Hilton Fire (1981) – The largest hotel in the world at the time was lit on fire by man high on drugs. Completely out of his mind, he decided to lite his curtains on fire. The end result was exceptionally tragic as 8 died and another 350 were injured. The arsonist is now serving 8 consecutive life sentences for the lives he took.
4) The 1997 New Year’s Flood – Ironically, it still floods in Nevada. Given the states dependance on water from elsewhere it is no surprise that a freak flood severely disrupted life in the state. After record levels of rain and melting snow contributed to floodwaters rising throughout this state, Reno was left underwater for days.
5) The 2005 Heat Wave – Heat waves are the number one weather-killer in Nevada. They also set the conditions for wildfires and further tax the limited water supply in the state. This one was particularly hot and long lasting. The end result was 17 people being killed by hyperthermia.
6) The Elko County Earthquake – In 2008, a massive 6.0 earthquake rocked Nevada at it’s core. Taking place on February 21, it damaged every single home in the town. When the shaking had stopped and the members of the community began to sift their lives from the rubble, a total of $10.5 million in damages were done.
7) The Martin Fire (2018) – The largest fire in Nevada history, the Martian Fire is one to be remembered, studied, and learned from. This fire lasted 17 days and burned up roughly 440,000 acres. Inside the intense inferno, the fire consumed everything in it’s path. Luckily, the only material damage that was done was the total loss of 6 ranches. It was fortunate that the fire happened in such a rural location.
Harden Your Home
One of the biggest concerns in Nevada are fires. Given the state’s dryness and proclivity for high winds, even a small fire can quickly engulf large swaths of land. Therefore, it is imperative that you harden your home against fires. Cut back anything combustible away from your home, cap any vents that could let embers into your attic, and install a metal roof. Know how to be alerted and escape your home in a fire. Look up what the latest research is on how house fires start from wildfires and adjust your home hardening accordingly.
Water Efficiency is Key
As stated, water is precious in Nevada. During a SHTF situation, you can bet that your tap water isn’t going to be working. Moreover, if you find yourself in one of the major population centers your water is very likely to be imported from some far off locale.
It’s generally advised to both store water and have the means to purify it, but in the case of Nevada, having water to purify may become a challenge onto itself. You’ll want to store water in a big way. Know exactly how much water you should store and buy the necessary means to store it. If you have the capacity for it, get a big water tank.
This means that as society breaks down, so will the infrastructure that keeps it running. Therefore, it is important to be 100% self sufficient when it comes to water. This may mean draconian efforts to be as efficient as possible, having multiple sources of water, and storing as much as you can when it is available.
Connect via Ham
Every state has the same two types of people in it. The first type are unprepared and are a liability during an emergency. The second are ready to weather the proverbial storms of a SHTF situation. In a resource scarce environment, it is vital to connect with the second type for trade and community.
The best way to do it that is independent of societies’ infrastructure is via ham radio. Getting certified and building a home station is fairly easy and inexpensive. This small investment could be worth it’s weight in gold if things begin to breakdown around you.
Ham radios don’t need to be expensive, either. The Baofeng UV-5R is a favorite among preppers because of its portability and low-cost. Will it have the range of a larger, more expensive ham radio? No, but it’s a great beginner radio.
One thing to note, this radio can be a bit confusing to operate as its instructions are not exactly easy or thorough. This is why we’ve published a Baofeng UV-5R Instruction Manual for Dummies article. It also details a few low-cost items that will greatly expand the versatility and range of this radio. Also see our article on how to find important ham radio frequencies so you have the information in advance of actually needing it.
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. Nothing is better for all-purpose use than the DeLorme Atlas and Gazetteer.
Consider a Dirt Bike
One of the best kept secrets for bugging out in a desert is the dirt bike. Highly efficient and able to go anywhere in the open terrain, it is no wonder why Special Forces groups prefer them for traversing the terrain of Iraq and Afghanistan.
Investing in a quality dirt bike and learning how to use it to move around the terrain will enable you to bug out effectively with ease. Its versatility and low fuel consumption will be much more effective in getting to your bug out location when the roads are blocked and the fuel pumps are empty.
You will need to have a few good quality maps in your bug out bag ready to go in a moments notice. The first is an up to date hydrology map. This will tell you where and when there is water available in the state. The last thing you want to do is to take off across the desert just to realize you have no chance of getting the water you need.
The second is a good topographical map that shows you the terrain ahead. On this map mark where you have cached food, water, and fuel so you can recover it in times of need. You should do this in every direction so you maximize your flexibility during a crisis.
Consider a .308
Despite the image of the state being a massive, desolate place, Nevada actually has a few very robust game populations. Elk, antelope, deer, and big horn sheep are regularly perused in this state. In the event you are bugging out, you will want to take advantage of this by harvesting them when possible. In order to do this, take a quality rifle that is chambered in .308.
The .308 is a very common round with enough power to bring down an elk. However, it is not so big that it will destroy the meat of smaller large game as well. Since most LEO sniper rifles, machine guns, and hunting rounds use the .308, scavenging ammunition shouldn’t be too difficult if needed.
Further Reading for Nevada Preppers
This article just scratches the surface of what Nevada preppers need to know. The following links could held educate you more on prepping in the state.
Northern Nevada Preppers Group – Forum, radio net, and information archive for Nevada Preppers
Nevada Emergency Preparedness Association – Professional preppers network with chapters across Nevada.
Nevada Division of Emergency Management/Homeland Security – Nevada government disaster response and information
Nevada Wildfire Information – Government website that updates residents on current wildfires
Truckee Meadows Community College – Camping and winter survival courses put on by a local community college.
High Sierra School of Survival – Course in northern Nevada that teaches wilderness survival