The answer is yes. And they think you should, too.
In fact, there’s an entire network of people that are attempting to educate the majority of Americans that aren’t preparing at all. The American Preppers Network (APN) is a growing group of people who are preparing for the worst, adhering to the network’s tagline “Freedom through teaching others self-reliance.”
“The American Preppers Network is basically a website that brings people together from all over the country, so that they can one, pool the basic resources of preparedness and two, be able to meet up with likeminded individuals,” says Mike Porenta, the Chief of Operations of the APN. “So they can help each other, so they can teach each other.” While “prepping” is a hobby for most people, it’s actually Porenta’s job—he works for Tomorrow’s Harvest, a company that sells food that can be stored for up to 25 years.
The APN hasn’t been around for a significant amount of time—it was founded in August of 2008 by Texan Tom Martin—but there are already many different statewide networking sites, including massachusetts.preppersnetwork.com.
For many, prepping has become a curiosity as of late, so much so that National Geographic has created a show based on the lifestyle.
The first episode of Doomsday Preppers featured a married couple that—with just the food they’ve stored in their home—could feed 15 people for 22 years.
While it’s easy to assume that the people on that show and the people involved in the APN are complete lunatics, it’s important to note that they aren’t preparing because of the Mayan calendar or walking corpses, necessarily.
The vast majority of preppers are worried about things that are a little more realistic, like natural disasters. “Talk to anybody that lives in Florida, or the Gulf Coast, or North Carolina, they understand the need,” said Porenta. “They’ve been through these situations before, they’ve been through power outages for long periods of time.”
That being said, Porenta conceded that there are other manmade issues on the APN’s radar, like a collapse of the global economic system and war. The more “intense” members of the network are concerned about an EMP strike (an electromagnetic radiation burst that could cause voltage surges) shutting down the power grid.
It’s important to note that the people in the APN aren’t exactly Bear Grylls.
None of them are surviving in the woods with nothing but a knife to hunt and their own urine to drink anytime soon. The majority of individuals that identify as “preppers” are people with normal jobs, stable families, and average lives, who are just concerned about the welfare of their loved ones, for one reason or another.
In fact, there is quite a distinction between a survivalist and a prepper. Porenta explained that “prepper” is an umbrella term that is currently going through a process of redefinition because of its recent popularization. “A prepper is anyone who is preparing for a possible future event that’s unknown,” said Porenta when asked to give a general definition. He went on to note that survivalists are the extreme versions of preppers, people who are preparing for a complete societal collapse and who want to be able to live off the land.
With all this talk of nuclear holocausts and soil contamination, you might find yourself asking, “What do I need to do to be prepared, Dig?” Well, according to the APN you’re going to want to first analyze your specific situation. What is the most likely scenario that could affect your geographical location? Earthquake, tornado, hurricane, snow storm, etcetera.
After identifying the most likely disaster, then you can plan accordingly. The big three are food, shelter, and water. Porenta suggested having—at the very least—a three month supply of food, though FEMA suggests only having enough for three days. After all that is settled, the APN would suggest having an evacuation plan, having a route and a way to get to somewhere that may be safer, depending on what you may be facing.
The Dig would like to wish you godspeed when the world as we know it ceases to exist.
With that said, if one of us has to go it’s going to be you.
For more survival tips, check out @americanprepper or massachusetts.preppersnetwork.com