Preppers do their best to be ready for the worst
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  1. #1
    Gunco Maniac Black Blade's Avatar
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    Default Preppers do their best to be ready for the worst

    Preppers do their best to be ready for the worst

    Back in 1962, they were building fallout shelters during the Cuban missile crisis. In the latest incarnation of getting ready for disaster, preppers are stocking up with nine months' worth of food and other essentials in case of ... you name it, economic collapse, a huge earthquake, an electromagnetic pulse attack that takes out our electronics.

    By Erik Lacitis

    Seattle Times staff reporter

    "Be prepared" is the motto of Robert Sarnes, and in this case he's talking about the meltdown of the U.S. government. His backpack contains food, water, ammo and enough other supplies to last for three days. The flag hangs at his family's Puyallup home.

    Sarnes has enough supplies here to keep a family of four going for two weeks, should there be civil insurrection.

    American Preppers Network: American Preppers Network - National Family Preparedness and Self-Reliance Organization

    PUYALLUP — Do you have 12 cases of peas and beans, seven pounds of powdered milk, 50 pounds of flour, 50 pounds of rice, 20 pounds of frozen chicken breasts, a 4,000-watt generator and some 35 gallons of gas in containers to run a freezer?

    That's just a sampling of what Robert Sarnes has stored in his family's home — in the pantry, in the garage that's stacked with metal and wood containers.

    Sarnes is prepared for a disaster, and you're probably not.

    Especially you Seattle city slickers, says Sarnes in wonderment at your naiveté.

    "Seattle? Maybe 1 in 1,000 families could survive more than five days comfortably," he says.

    By the way, in case the thought crosses your marauding mind about breaking into Sarnes' home, he also has "in excess of 17" pistols and rifles in a safe in his house.

    Plus, right now as he's being interviewed, he's packing a compact .45 in a holster under his T-shirt.

    Why pack heat around the house?

    "I mean, in an emergency, I'm not gonna tell somebody, 'Wait a minute, I'm going to get my gun.' You want to be as prepared as you can be," says Sarnes.

    Sarnes, 43, married, with two young daughters, is a prepper, part of an ever-growing group here in the Northwest and throughout the country who have decided that if they haven't stocked up that pantry shelf for a long emergency, nobody else will.

    We've gone through periodic bouts of preparing for looming disaster. Aging baby boomers might recall news stories about people putting fallout shelters in their backyards during the Cold War and especially around the time of the 1962 Cuban missile crisis.

    Preppers network

    These days, the Internet instantly connects you with others who worry what disaster the future might bring.

    Tom Martin, 34, a long-haul truck driver based out of Port Angeles, is the founder of the American Preppers Network, or APN, as it likes to call itself. The website started in 2009, and now, he says, more than 16,000 people nationwide regularly take part on the site's forums.

    "Prepper" is a term that has become better known since the National Geographic Channel began airing a reality show last June called "Doomsday Preppers." The show describes itself as exploring "the lives of otherwise ordinary Americans who are preparing for the end of the world as we know it."

    The program has been a ratings bonanza, with a 60 percent male audience, with an average age of 44. Guys do like their tough reality shows.

    Martin says his group includes about 200 registered members from Washington state, and women make up half of the membership.

    A recent topic of discussion on the prepper website was, "What do you fear/are you prepping for?" The responses included "economic collapse and the subsequent civil unrest," an earthquake, and an "EMP attack," the latter not referring to Paul Allen's rock museum, but an electromagnetic pulse burst that supposedly could cause a mass power-system collapse.

    Enough people have such worries that the prepper phenomenon has gone mainstream. Costco recently offered on sale for $3,199.99 a nine-month supply of emergency food to feed four people. The chain now has a "disaster-preparedness" section on its online catalog that sells everything from vegetable seeds for a one-acre garden ($42.99) to a powerful standby generator ($2,999.99).

    The tipping point for Martin in becoming a prepper spokesman, he says, began a few years ago, when the bad economy cut his $90,000-a-year earnings down to about $40,000 a year. Then he saw his mom in Idaho going through tough times as her home went financially underwater.

    Martin began blogging about preparing for tough times, and that led to forming the national preppers group.

    He and other preppers are adamant about not being mistaken for survivalists, especially after the recent news stories about the North Bend man who police say shot himself in a hillside bunker after killing his wife and teen daughter.

    Says Martin, "That guy sounded like a nut case, somebody who thinks everybody is out to get them."

    On its website, Puget Sound Preppers says, "This group is NOT involved in: revolution, war, militia, political parties, religious activities, racism, or lobbying. This group is about skills and knowledge."

    An upcoming meeting, for example, is on raising chickens.

    Preppers, says Martin, are not much different from Mormons who make sure they have food, water and other supplies in case of an emergency.

    He says preppers have no interest in toughing it out alone in the wilderness.

    They'd rather have that stocked-up pantry, which, they say, means not having to shell out thousands of dollars at once for a nine-month supply. You watch for sales and stock up over time.

    Guns and safety

    At his Puyallup home, Sarnes answers the obvious question about keeping guns around with two children in the home.

    His daughters, he says, have been well-trained in gun safety.

    One of them is home from school because she's feeling buggy. She goes through the drill about gun safety, led by her dad:

    "What do you do when you see a gun? You tell a grown-up or police officer. Don't touch it. If you do handle it, muzzle to the ground, finger off the trigger, treat it like it's loaded even if you know it's not, never point it at anybody."

    In agreeing to talk to a reporter, Martin and Sarnes are a bit unusual for preppers, who can be secretive.

    A Bothell-area woman who goes by "Nurse Ellie" emails back about herself: "I believe in being prepared and self reliant. I am now a First Class Marksman and have one year of food supply and 3 months of Bottled drinking water. A rain Barrel and live one block from a River (fresh water) and have a Swimming Pool (cleaned regularly) ... Safety first, so I will not give you anything further."

    Martin says one reason for secrecy is that during a disaster, people who failed to prepare can "come knocking on the door." Better to keep it a secret how much you have stored up.

    And there is the fear, he says, of being portrayed as "crazy nut-jobs on the fringe of society."

    The Preppers Network website answers, "Preppers are no more crazy than those wacky people who have homeowners insurance. ... "

    Continued: Preppers do their best to be ready for the worst | Local News | The Seattle Times

    Black Blade: More of the article is found at the link above.
    When you're born you get a ticket to the freak show. When you're born in America , you get a front row seat. - George Carlin

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    Gunco Maniac Black Blade's Avatar
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    Default 'Preppers' stockpile food, arms, tools to ensure survival at a doomsday's notice

    'Preppers' stockpile food, arms, tools to ensure survival at a doomsday's notice


    Tim Ralston gets along well with his neighbors, greeting each with a nod and a smile when he sees them along his quiet northern Scottsdale street. Good people, all.

    But when society collapses, Ralston won't be around if anyone needs to borrow a cup of sugar.

    Or anything else.

    Oh, Ralston is fully stocked for the end of times. Tucked inside his "bug-out vehicle" -- what a survivalist would call the trailer parked in his garage that's ready to go within minutes -- is almost a year's worth of food, from canned beef and turkey to powdered milk and hundreds of dehydrated meals.

    There are firearms too, including handguns and a laser-sighted rifle. Because if there is one thing Ralston is sure about, people are going to get very angry very quickly when a solar storm knocks out the power grid. Or the economy collapses. Or zombies attack (though fictional, Ralston still has the perfect tool for reintroducing the undead to death).

    Ralston, 49, is a prepper -- or, more accurately, a "doomsday" prepper, one of a growing number of people for whom a pantry filled with canned food and bottled water is just the beginning. Fearing the end of days, be it from a massive earthquake to the eruption of a super volcano, they build bunkers, learn survival skills and, in some cases, assemble small arsenals for self-defense.

    "I am not going to be the father who, when something happens, has to hear his kids say, 'Dad, I'm hungry.'" Ralston says. "My family comes first. I am going to do everything I can to keep them safe."

    The trend toward extreme prepping -- just like possible end-of-the-world scenarios -- is easy to find when you look for it.

    Hundreds of blogs and web-rings are devoted to surviving the ultimate catastrophe. Dozens of online stores cater to those looking for water-purification kits, dehydrated meals and bags of seeds that will allow them to start a small farm. And pop culture is right behind: Preppers are also the new darling of reality-television niche programming.

    Zombie Squad

    Let's be clear on this: The Zombie Squad, a nationwide group dedicated to survival in the wake of an undead invasion, does not really believe in zombies. Regrettable, but not to the point of negatively affecting membership. Which is booming, according to posts on its website (

    Part of its popularity has to do with the undead's wildly popular shuffle through pop culture, says member Joseph Wilson of Tucson, who joined the Arizona chapter of the Zombie Squad shortly after it started in 2009.

    But behind it all is the Zombie Squad's official mission, which is not dedicated solely to the eradication of brain eaters.

    According to the group's mission statement, members strive to educate others on the "importance of personal preparedness and self-reliance, to increase its readiness to respond to a number of disasters such as Earthquakes, Floods or Zombie Outbreaks."

    The idea for the group rose from a 2003 discussion among friends in St. Louis who were debating the survivability of a zombie onslaught, like the one they had just seen in the horror film "28 Days Later." (The movie's answer: "Yes, but it gets ugly.")

    Now with 42 chapters across the United States (as well as one each in Canada and western Europe), the Zombie Squad preaches the gospel of preparedness at various events and fundraisers. Most of its members, however, are merely prepared for hurricanes and earthquakes and such, disasters that might require them to sustain themselves for just weeks, not the months or years of their doomsday counterparts.

    Wilson, for instance, has a bug-out bag ready to go in case of emergency. Within minutes, he and his wife can be on the road with enough food, equipment and camping gear for weeks at a time.

    Continued: 'Preppers' stockpile food, arms, tools to ensure survival at a doomsday's notice

    Black Blade: Another good (long) article on prepping (see link above).
    When you're born you get a ticket to the freak show. When you're born in America , you get a front row seat. - George Carlin

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    NoWorkCamp4Me railbuggy's Avatar
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    For my children I prep.COPD will keep me in the city.
    SOON-We already lost the war. You are the resistance.

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    Gunco Good ole boy 2ndAmendican's Avatar
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    While I am certainly not as prepared as I'd like to be, my wife and I are Preppers. We plan to "bug in" and try to ride it out, if at all possible. I'm glad that prepping is becoming more mainstream. The more people that learn and practice, means less people out to try and take your stuff. And hopefully more folks to network with.
    Enforcement, NOT Amnesty!!!!!!

    "If they’re going to come here illegally, apply for & receive assistance through a corrupted Government agency encouraging this lawless behavior, work under the table & send billions of dollars each year back to their families in Mexico, while bleeding local economies dry, protest in our streets waving their Mexican flags DEMANDING rights, while I have to press ’1′ for English, then they need to be shipped back to where they came from!" -Chad Miller

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