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I have lived in the Portland metro area virtually all my life, except for military service and that one abduction by aliens. It wasn't until fairly recently that I began to understand the threat of the "Big One" and no, I don't mean Stomper's personal part. I'm referencing an earthquake of at least 8 on the Richter scale. The devastation would be epic! The bridges on the Willamette and Columbia would collapse, gas lines would rupture, the electrical grid would go completely offline, highway overpasses would collapse and streets and highways would become impassable. The authorities would be at a loss to help people in collapsed homes and buildings. Fires could not be extinguished. Those that weren't killed or injured would be left on their own, to fend for themselves.
In our culture today, we simply "go to the store" when we need something. We can even pick up the phone and order food and if it's not delivered in 20 minutes it's free! This all ends instantly, in the event of a natural disaster. While I'm not what you would call a "prepper" I have tried to cover the bases with regard to some very basic issues. I have extensive first aid training. I have a small generator, I have six gallons of unleaded, no alcohol fuel to run it on an as needed basis. I have a small solar panel setup (Harbor Freight) that would power a radio or an LED bulb. I have a couple of shovels, pick, hoe and other yard tools to dig a privy. I have a hand crank emergency radio as well as Ham radios. I have space blankets, water filter straws and an assortment of hand cranked flashlights and other emergency supplies. I keep all this stuff in a small shed, away from my house and shop. I don't think that it would collapse under a lot of violent shaking. There are other items as well, but you get my drift here. I'm trying to be prepared. I also have stored 7 , 6 gallon containers of treated water.
Part of that preparation involves having appropriate firearms to both hunt with as well as protect myself and family. I also have enough ammunition to last for an extended period and to use as a means of barter. My choices for the guns may surprise you. I have a .22 WMR, a .17 HMR, a couple of .22 LR's, a 20 gauge pump, an AR-15 in 5.56 and several 9MM's that are prepositioned around the place as well as .380's for my wife and I as EDC's. There are other things as well.
The dynamics of a natural disaster are as follows: Once people have extracted themselves from the wreckage of their homes, they will be struck by the fact that no one is rushing to help them. They will be on their own. They will also tend to coalesce around neighbors that seem to have their act together. Personally, I would offer whatever advice I could, but limit my assistance to immediate lifesaving. There will be no sharing of my resources. Once this becomes clear to my neighbors, they will band together to help themselves to my supplies. This is the point where I will offer counsel to them while wearing a handgun and carrying a shotgun. I will establish boundaries, the first of which will be don't come onto my property unless I have invited you. The rest should be fairly obvious. I want my wife and I to be as warm and dry and well-fed as possible.
You may wonder why my survival guns are of such small caliber. I retired from Fish and Wildlife and can tell you with some authority that there have been more deer poached with .22's than all the other calibers combined. Most deer are killed at short range (under 70 yards here in the PNW) and deer would be the only species that I would hunt. I know how to smoke or salt meat in order to store it. I do have some skills, but I am old and not very strong, so my preparedness has been tailored to me and mine and my perceived needs. Yours may be completely different. Finally, it is critical that personal hygiene be maintained. A privy would be dug and hands would be washed. On a larger scale, the dead would have to be buried as quickly as possible. Corrupting bodies are a source for all kinds of diseases. The suburbs would also be invaded by city dwellers looking for assistance that could be given or might be taken.
The news reports that it could take as long as six months for even minimal services to be restored. I was a Boy Scout and I believe in being prepared. None of my neighbors are aware of my preparations and I want to keep it like that.
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