Impact scale is the classification of the scope of affect a disaster would have. Below are the typically referenced scales of impact.
- Personal - Affects only you or your immediate family. Job loss, a house fire, or death of a loved one are examples of personal disasters.
- Neighborhood - Affects only you and your close neighbors. A gas line break, minor flooding, or a small localized blackout are disasters that could affect a neighborhood.
- City - Affects only your city, or a city-sized area. This could be larger scale flooding and blackouts or large outbreaks of civil unrest.
- County - Affects an entire county or county-sized area.
- State - Affects an entire state or even a small country.
- Region - Affects a large region (North-Eastern US, US Mid-West, etc). A great example of this was the 2014 "Polar Vortex" which affected heavily much of the Mid-West and North East of the United States with sub-zero weather for several days.
- Country - Affects an entire nation or groups of nations (USA, E.U., etc). Examples could include an economic collapse, pandemics or a civil war. Often the possibility exists to expand to Global impact.
- Global - Affects many or all countries. It is often expected that economic collapse in some of the most influential economies or pandemics could expand to have global consequences. Other examples include a large meteor strike (dinosaur killer) or eruption of one of the world's super volcanoes.
An easy way to create your own scale: PIE
A simple way to assess potential risk is using the "PIE" equation:
Probability X Impact = Exposure
Assign a simple High, Medium, or Low to each value, and have it correspond to 1, 2, or 3. So, for a meteor strike into your house, the Probability is LOW (= 1), the Impact is HIGH (= 3), so the Exposure (or risk) gets a value of 3 (out of a possible 9):
Probability (1) X Impact (3) = Exposure (3)
On the other hand, if you're in a dying industry (such as the newspaper industry), and you've been neglecting your Preps (so that a job loss will make you destitute), chances are pretty good YOU'RE GOING TO HAVE A PROBLEM.
3 X 3 = 9 (out of a possible 9)
It's a simple system, but if you take some time and do FerFAL's personal risk assessment exercise, it can go a long way towards helping you prioritize your preps. In a nutshell, FerFAL's exercise required you to think about the top 10 things keeping you awake at night, then decide the probability and impact of each to focus you on using your scarce resources and precious time to get the important things done first.