Those preparing for disasters of many kinds have often been lumped in with the more extreme "survivalists" and "doomsday preppers," groups that have been called "crazy." But now emergency responders seem to be urging residents in disaster-prone areas to ready themselves for a length of time beyond just the three-day bug-out bag.
This Feb. 8, 2013 photo shows Guardian Survival Gear's Elite Survival Kit features food, water, shelter and hygiene items for one person for 24 hours in Boise. There's a growing subculture of people who want to be prepared for the collapse of American democracy and civilization. (photo: AP/Katherine Jones)
In fact, a day before a 4.7 magnitude earthquake hit Southern California Monday, the Los Angeles police and fire departments were, in commemorating the two year anniversary of the devastating earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan March 11, 2011, telling residents to be ready for "two weeks on your own."
CBS LA reported Battalion Chief Larry Collins saying, "the message for a lot of us needs to be, ‘Be ready for anything.'"
"The message used to be 72 hours, but we’ve seen in disasters like [Hurricane] Katrina, even [Hurricane] Sandy recently, that, really, if it’s wiped out your infrastructure, and your electricity grid and your communications, it will be very likely be more than three days before you start getting food, water and other supplies coming in from outside," Collins said according to CBS LA.
With that, perhaps prepping for longer term survival, which some might have considered crazy before, could be becoming more socially acceptable. In a previous interview with TheBlaze, Phil Burns, the president of the American Preppers Network, explained why the preppers movement was being "demonized" at the time of the 2010 shooting in Newtown, Conn., and clarified what prepping is really all about:
What many might not realize is that there are subsets of preppers — subsets Burns said might have some similarities to the prepper movement as a whole but that have different intentions: there are survivalists, doomsday preppers and conspiratorial preppers.
But the majority who consider themselves preppers — if they would even think to give themselves the formal designation — subscribe to a philosophy that is nothing like those of the more extreme variety that have been featured lately on reality TV shows and by those getting ready for the Mayan apocalypse.
“To us in particular, preparedness is about living a self-reliant lifestyle . . . It’s about, in a disaster situation, having a philosophy that is not we sit around and wait for FEMA to show up. Preppers come together, help each other out and make sure everyone is provided for.”
APN's Chief Operations Officer Mike Porenta spoke with TheBlaze during National Preparedness Month last October, giving more information about how preparing for a variety of situations means more than just stockpiling food:
Porenta’s number one suggestion is to get to know your neighbors before you’re in an emergency situation. There is a benefit in banding together as a group in an emergency, but he said doing so after a disaster strikes is not the best time.
“People think about food the most, but they haven’t taken into consideration shelter … or access to water,” he said.
In a situation where “normal American life can’t continue, figure out your most essential human needs” and gather those items (or learn how to safely obtain them if you can’t gather them per se):
- Water and water test kits
The message given to California residents might have hit home Monday morning when at 9:55 a.m. (PST) a 4.7 magnitude earthquake occurred in Southern California. The Richter scale goes from a level of less than two up to more than 10. To put the magnitude of this earthquake into perspective, the one that caused the tsunami that killed thousands in Japan was 9.0 magnitude.
The epicenter of California's latest quake was about a dozen miles from the Riverside County desert community of Anza, about 100 miles southeast of Los Angeles, and it was felt strongly at the BNP Paribas Open tennis tournament happening in nearby Indian Wells.
"It kind of shook and then I thought, 'God, is that an earthquake?'" Susie Bride, a cashier at Cahuilla Mountain Market and Cafe in Anza, told the Associated Press. "It kind of shook and then it rolled a little bit and then it shook again."
Rachelle Siefken was at home in the Riverside County town of Aguanga with her 4-year-old daughter and 16-month-old son when the shaking started. It was the first earthquake for both children and her son in particular was scared, she said.
"I grabbed him up in my arms and I stood in the doorway with him," Siefken, who teaches English online for the California Virtual Academy, said to AP.
Watch this CBS LA report regarding the earthquake with some footage of how it looked:
As battalion chief Collin's pointed out, natural disasters can take shape in earthquakes and hurricanes, but also snowstorms, tornadoes and more. APN would say people should be prepared for situations catalyzed not only by natural events but also terrorist attacks or economic collapse.
And with officials in California saying residents might need to be prepared to live on their own for days before help could be available to them and prepping experts too have emphasized the importance of not expecting to rely on FEMA, would it not be reasonable for everyone to consider preparing for the possibility of "two weeks on your own"?
- Our Fascinating Interview With a Prepper Leader: He Responds to 'Demonization' of Movement After CT Shooting and Explains What It's Is Really About
- Did You Know It's National Preparedness Month? Here Are Tips From Experts on How to Be Ready
- One Year Later Japan Reflects on Earthquake and Tsunami Devastation
- Evolution: Watch the Japanese Tsunami Travel From Sea to Countryside
The Associated Press contributed to this report. Featured image via Shutterstock.com.