Doomsday Preppers: Part 1, Practical Prepping

By Steven Sandberg

CENTRAL POINT, Ore. — Several disasters and other emergencies around the globe have helped bring to light the movement of “prepping.”

In the first of a three part series, NewsWatch 12’s Steven Sandberg gives a look at some of the people preparing for emergencies. Some groups take it to extremes; but for many others, it’s just common sense.

“Always be prepared.” For Joel Wallace, it’s more than a motto – it’s a lifestyle.

“Do a little bit at a time, just think about, what would I do if this happened to me?” he says.

One look around his house, and it’s clear he takes it to heart. He has a full stocked pantry, and emergency food when that runs out. Wallace’s house can run on solar power if he loses electricity, and underneath his shed are two thousand gallons of stored water. He’s been going it for years to keep his family safe if an emergency were to strike and he does it because it’s just good common sense.

“Hopefully I’ll never have to use this, but I go through it once a year and make sure there’s anything that has to be replaced,” Wallace says.

More people are doing the same.

“It kinds of ebbs and flows,” Wallace notes. “I’ve seen it over the years. When the economy gets tough, you’ll sometimes see people do it, but that’s kind of tough because things get expensive.”

In the wake of last year’s tsunami and nuclear incident in Japan, several earthquakes, and concerns about the global financial crisis, those fears have spawned a movement to prepare for disaster.

For many people like Wallace, it’s good to practice, but he knows the chances of such a disaster are rare. But for groups called “preppers” it means getting ready for what they think is inevitable.

Several TV shows have profiled the preppers, stockpiling food and supplies for some impending disaster. But online, it tells a different story.

People at preppergroups.com say they were portrayed as extremists. Newswatch12’s Steven Sandberg attempted to contact preppers in Southern Oregon to set the record straight; but once he mentioned he was a reporter, his account was deleted, and he was told no one wanted to talk to him.

Joel Wallace says he can understand that; stocking up is not something people like to advertise.

Having a well-stocked pantry is important in the event of a natural disaster, but sometimes an emergency doesn’t take the form of a fire or flood.

“People lose a job and they can’t afford to buy the food they’re used to buying,” says Wallace. “Truckers strike that may cripple trucking into the valley, there may be a big snow storm that prevents trucks from getting into the valley for a while and we see shelves on the grocery store empty out pretty quick.”

No matter what happens, even if there’s just a slim chance, Wallace wants to be ready.

“Teaching people to stock up a little bit, have a little extra supply on hand of everything,” he says.

In the next story of this series: cashing in on emergency preparedness. We’ll take you inside the business of prepping, and what it means for the stores selling those supplies.