The people readying themselves for the end of the world by practicing how to quickly don a hazmat suit and hoarding gasoline may have seemed a bit out-there when "Doomsday Preppers" debuted in February on National Geographic Channel. But as the show's second season premieres at the same time some of our nation's most populated areas are still trying to recover from the devastating aftermath of superstorm Sandy, audiences may begin to believe these cautious over-planners aren't so crazy after all.
"We hope we don't get the last laugh," says one of the show's prepping experts, David Kobler, who is also cofounder of Practical Preppers LLC, a company that specializes in preparedness products and consultation. "We're Americans just like you guys, and we don't want anything bad to happen to our neighbors, our country. But we want to protect our family."
One family ensuring they will survive the worst is the Southwicks, a clan of eight featured in Season 2 who lives in suburban Salt Lake City. The mother, Kara, says the family doesn't stock a year's supply of food for just grand-scale disasters.
"Maybe we run into a financial crisis, a car breaks down or we have a job layoff for 30, 60 days, whatever the case might be, then we are prepared for that," she says of her impressive cache of nonperishables. "And I think we're teaching our kids responsibility to be self-reliant, to rely on themselves when things come up."
"That's true," adds her husband, Braxton. "[The goal is to] not look to the government for help, but be able to sustain [ourselves]."
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Whether hit with a smallpox outbreak or earthquake, the Southwick family is ready. “It’s human nature to be survivalists,” says mom Kara. Here’s how they’re prepping:
Each family member has a Bug Out Bag stocked with a three-day supply of food and water and other necessities.
Their storage room houses a year’s supply of food, as well as chemical suits.
The Southwicks buried 1,000 pounds of coal and have stored more than 100 gallons of diesel fuel and propane.
Each child, ranging in age from 13-20, knows how to handle a rifle. “If we have to, we’d hunt,” says Braxton. “Using weapons to protect yourself is an extreme.”