Because of the fact that disasters can change the structure or completely handicap the local emergency services, a well functioning society is essential to coping with a large scale disaster.
It is said that noting brings people together like a bad situation and that could not be more true in some places. In other places, a disaster is just the starting pistol to begin the looting. Where I live, the power went off for a few days and absolutely no major crimes were reported. As I made my way home, there were people in the streets directing traffic and an unusual number of people outside enjoying the evening breeze.
There are many different kinds of disasters, some of them are far reaching and affect more than just a local environment. One such disaster could be civil unrest. This idea is growing more and more around the world and many countries are having drastic actions taken against their populations in order to quell the uprising. Many prominent dictators have been deposed and hung because of civil unrest. It is a reoccurring theme throughout all of history, so the more prepared you are, for a situation like that, the better off you will be after the revolution is over.
Some thing else that many people don’t consider is the fact that population centers are absolutely massive. Something like a well planned terrorist strike, earthquake, or other disaster could affect millions of people. There is always a high demand for assistance during these kinds of urban disasters, but if everyone able to take care of their own needs and maybe a few others abound them, there would be less of a need for organizations like FEMA.