Mat Stein


Matthew Stein: When Disaster Strikes

Urgent advice on pre- & post-emergency steps to take
Saturday, September 9, 2017, 11:58 PM

To make sense of which steps are most important to take soonest when preparing for a major disaster, we've invited Matthew Stein back on the program.

Mat is a design engineer, green builder, and author of the two bestselling books: When Disaster Strikes: A Comprehensive Guide to Emergency Planning and Crisis Survival (Chelsea Green 2011), and When Technology Fails: A Manual for Self-Reliance, Sustainability, and Surviving the Long Emergency (Chelsea Green 2008).

On this week's podcast, Mat details his recommended steps for those facing imminent threat of crisis (Hurricane Irma), those with more time to prepare for one (Hurricane Jose), and those dealing with the aftermath of disaster (Hurricane Harvey).

What Should I Do?

Photographer : FEMA 17238

Natural Disaster Survival Tips

Be prepared for the unexpected
Friday, September 8, 2017, 7:54 PM

Natural disasters come in all shapes and sizes.  Hurricanes, earthquakes, flooding and landslides, forest fires, tornadoes, and many other disasters can present themselves unexpectedly. They all can have a major disruptive affect on our lives.  Being prepared for these events can help you and your family ride the storm and come out on the other end safely and better able to handle post disaster situations. 

Here are 10 tips to help become more prepared for natural disasters: » Read more

What Should I Do?

Surviving a Tornado

Tips for staying safe & surviving when a tornado hits
Tuesday, April 29, 2014, 4:40 PM

Who could not be shocked and saddened by the images of massive devastation left in the wake of recent tornadoes that struck in Oklahoma and Texas? Though nothing can guarantee absolute safety in the path of a tornado outside of a shelter with reinforced concrete and steel walls, understanding something about the nature of tornadoes, safety tips for surviving a tornado strike, and which common folklore is to be trusted or ignored will improve your chances for making the right decision when confronted by a tornado. » Read more

What Should I Do?

Approaching Fire or Extreme Fire Alert

Understanding the dangers of imminent fire risk
Thursday, July 18, 2013, 9:20 PM

[NOTE: This article is adapted from When Disaster Strikes: A Comprehensive Guide for Emergency Planning and Crisis Survival]

After living in the States off and on for several years, in 2008 Andrew and Mary Hall moved back to their home in Buxton, Australia so they could  be closer to their aging parents. It was a modest, three-bedroom, two-bath house with exterior walls of “mud brick” (adobe) that helped keep the home’s interior cool during the hot Australian summers. With large eaves, a metal roof, and adobe-style mud brick walls, many would consider their home to be reasonably fire-resistant, but its construction proved no match for the forces of nature that turned the neighboring towns of Buxton and Marysville into deadly infernos on Australia’s tragic “Black Saturday” on February 7, 2009. » Read more

What Should I Do?

Home Fire-Safe Checklist

Be Fire-Safe and create a defensible space
Thursday, June 20, 2013, 8:29 PM

[NOTE: This article is adapted from When Disaster Strikes: A Comprehensive Guide for Emergency Planning and Crisis Survival]

Fire Statistics

The following statistics from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) are for fires in the USA in 2009:

  • There were 3,010 civilian deaths from fire, 2,565 of which occurred in the home.
  • There were 260 civilian deaths from motor vehicle fires.
  • Only 105 civilian fire deaths occurred in non-residential structures.
  • US fire departments responded to an estimated 1,348,500 fires resulting in an estimated $12,531,000,000 in property losses and 17,050 civilian injuries.

In general, fires cause more loss of life and property in America than all natural disasters combined! Every year, fires are responsible for more loss of life, limb, and property in the USA than either hurricane Katrina or the destruction of the World Trade Center on 9/11!  Statistically speaking, the easiest and most cost effective way to reduce the chances that you, your home, or your family might suffer great loss in a future event, is to improve the fire safety of your home, and the fire awareness of your loved ones. » Read more


Matthew Stein: How Prepared Are You?

Advice from the guru of personal resiliency
Friday, September 7, 2012, 10:55 PM

During the height of the 'Goldilocks economy' of the mid-1990s, Mat Stein wrote When Technology Fails: A Manual for Self-Reliance, Sustainability, and Surviving the Long Emergency, a master compendium of do-it-yourself preparation skills.

Fast-forward to today's Great Recession, drought-stricken, $100+ oil, post-Katrina, post-Fukushima world -- many are realizing the prudence of taking basic precautionary steps to reduce their vulnerability to whatever the future may bring. Whether you're concerned about the fallout from a breakdown of today's weakened global economy, or simply want to be better able to deal with the aftermath of a natural disaster if you live in an earthquake/hurricane/flood/wildfire/tornado-prone part of the world -- the personal resiliency measures Mat recommends make sense for almost everyone to consider. » Read more


Mat Stein

Mat Stein

Author, engineer, designer, and green builder, Mat Stein was born and raised in Burlington Vermont. His parents started him walking on skis at age three, hiking at age 5, backpacking at age seven, hunting at age 10, rock climbing and extreme skiing at age 11. The Green mountains of Vermont, White mountains of New Hampshire, and the Adirondack's of upstate New York were his four-season childhood play grounds. After graduating from MIT in 1978, the lure of the "real mountains" of the west drew Mat across the country to California.

Always enjoying work with his hands, and being outside in the wilderness, Mat found it stifling to go to work as a design engineer in Silicon Valley, pushing pencils day after day. So, he took breaks from engineering off-and-on for several years to be a carpenter, climb the vertical walls of Yosemite, and teach skiing and High School math. In the mid eighties, after lots of stress and lost hair, he bailed from designing disc drives in Silicon Valley to a ten-acre homestead in the foothills of the Sierras. Mat has built hurricane and earthquake resistant, energy efficient, environmentally friendly homes. He has also designed, among other things, consumer water filtration devices, solar PV roofing panels, medical bacteriological filters, emergency chemical drench systems, computer disk drives, and portable fiberglass buildings.