Are they mad or just plain forward thinking?
Have you heard about ‘preppers’? It’s a small movement of people who are, individually, geared up so that they and their families can survive in the event of a significant natural or manmade disaster.
And as the newspapers have one eye on the Mayan calendar’s prediction of the end of the world next month (now is that in your corporate risk register?!), ‘preppers’ are getting some coverage. In fact, the National Georgraphic Channel has made a series on them. A full 45 minute episode showing the ‘best bits’ of the series is included at the end of this article.
They say, “Doomsday Preppers explores the lives of otherwise ordinary Americans who are preparing for the end of the world as we know it. Unique in their beliefs, motivations, and strategies, preppers will go to whatever lengths they can to make sure they are prepared for any of life’s uncertainties. And with our expert’s assessment, they will find out their chances of survival if their worst fears become a reality. ”
And they have a quiz to determine how long YOU would survive in the case of a catastrophic incident. You can get your very own “prepper score” by clicking here!
Meanwhile The Huffington Post reported on preppers who got themselves and their businesses through Hurricane Sandy relatively unscathed. Stories include that of Brian Shebairo who kept his hot dog business going through the power outage in his area, and added on a mobile phone charging service during the storm. He said people had considered him crazy to have gathered items such as full gas cans, heavy duty extension cords, generators, batteries, water and bolt cutters. But his business carried on and theirs did not. ”I don’t have a ‘go bag‘”, he said, “I have a ‘go truck’.”
Ironically, however, he didn’t predict that his customers would migrate uptown at the tail end of the storm: he doubled his sales at first, but lost around $65k from the Wednesday to Friday. Meanwhile, Mike Porenta in Salt Lake City has generators and a water filtration system as well as a year’s food! Of suppliers he says, “If I am reliant on them, when they go out, I go out.”
Even if you’re not sure about the whole concept, the material makes for quite an interesting read. Particularly, we suspect, for those of us who doom plan for a living!
- Thrift and frugality
- Self reliance
- Year’s Supply
And then there are loads of tips. The top one, it seems, is to have a place to be that is out of town. In the UK’s Daily Mail, prepper Michael Sanderson, a retired soldier, said, “Towns and cities are dangerous places. You know, an awful lot of people fighting for the same resources, you know, it’s a dangerous place. What you’re talking about is the biggest, the toughest, the meanest, getting whatever’s going.”
He goes on to explain he’s more mindful of natural disasters rather than anything else: ”Bad things do happen, people’s homes do get burned down, there are floods, there are catastrophic events that affect people completely. If you go too late, you’re dead. People say to me “why are you a prepper?” And I’m always baffled by it, because what I say to people is, I don’t understand why you’re not.”
Tips for storing food, for instance, include:
- Don’t store food your family doesn’t eat
- Make sure containers are animal, weather and airproof
- You can’t cook basic recipes without salt, oil, yeast and powdered eggs
- Aim for a minimal variety of food for a balanced diet
And then there’s the advice set to music..! This is our favourite video – with lyrics that include:
“You’re going to wish you had a gun, when you can’t call 911, you better start thinking now about the things you need. Get ready for the worst, but pray for the better, cos when it all hits the fan man, you better have your stuff together”
In the US, rumours continue to circulate that the National Guard will treat anyone acting aggressively during any such ‘doomsday’ event as criminals. There are even claims that the government have compiled lists of preppers who have gone public about their activities: on the web some claim this is so they can be ‘dealt with’ though one wonders, if true, if a more sensible reason might be because they want to know who’s ready to assist!
There are, of course, some great website dedicated to the cause. We’ve screened out a lot of the more radical ones, some of the ones we thought were (actually) a bit flaky, and all of those that were just selling things:
- Prepper Website: very basic looking website with lots of articles with titles like “Can you chop down a tree with an axe,“, “7 Preppers Food Storage Mistakes” and “What to do with old vegetable seeds.“
- UK Preppers Forum: set up as discussion boards only for participation from the outset. There’s a clear section for newcomers and discussions are grouped under headings like “Equipment“, “Homes and Retreats“, and “Logistics and Transport“.
- American Preppers Network: The comprehensive (if vaguely old fashioned looking) website for an organisation that one can actually join. It’s free, though “Gold” members pay $5 a month and get discounts on some goods. There’s also a map showing some of the local groups that actually meet.
- Canadian Preppers Network: Set up more as a blog this is quite light on easily accessible information, so better for Canadians looking for allies rather than browsers wanting an overview.
- 120 Pieces of Advice for Preppers: this is an article rather than a website, but it’s great for a quick read to get an overview of some of the issues. Example tips include, “Trust no one that you don’t personally know“, “Don’t share your prepping activity on facebook or social media – you don’t want everyone flocking to your house when it kicks off” and “Get out of debt“.
- American Preppers Network Radio: prefer listening to reading? How about live shows and phone ins? This might be your preference…
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