Kansas

Rise Of The Survival Communities

Fast and Furious.

No, not the alleged Obama administation gun-running progam.

Rather, the number and frequency of articles concerning the rich buying “luxury bunkers” these days.

That being said, I spotted a piece over on The Atlantic website (slated for next month’s print edition) which I think might interest readers.

In “A Resort for the Apocaypse,” Ben Rowen wrote:

On July 25, 1961, President John F. Kennedy spoke to the American people of a need “new to our shores” for emergency preparedness, including fallout shelters. The bunkers of that era- Brutalist, cement, with foldout beds and stockpiled food- were designed to protect families in the event that the Cold War turned hot.

It never did, but fears of cataclysm- nuclear and otherwise- are back. So are shelters, with a twist. Growing numbers of “preppers” hope to ride out various doomsday scenarios in luxury

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Rowen brought up Rising S Company, “one of several companies that specialize in high-end shelters,” and which I just blogged about here. But he also pointed out “a handful of bunker companies are building entire survival communities in remote locations.” From the article:

One project, Vivos XPoint, involves refurbishing 575 munitions-storage bunkers in South Dakota; Vivos Europa One, in Germany, is a Soviet armory turned luxury community with a subterranean swimming pool.

By contrast, Trident Lakes 4, a 700-acre, $330 million development in Ector, Texas, an hour and a half north of Dallas, is being built from scratch…

Seriously, what is it with Texas and bunkers?

Rowen went on to write a good deal about the Trident Lakes project, being billed as a “5-star playground, equipped with DEFCON 1 preparedness.”

He also noted the following about the deep-pocketed clients of luxury underground survival shelters and communities:

Jeff Schlegelmilch, the deputy director of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at Columbia University, told me that the luxury-bunker trend is “not just a couple of fringe groups; there is real money behind it- hundreds of millions of dollars.” But why are wealthy people buying?

Some customers appear to be motivated by old anxieties, recently revived- the threat of nuclear war, or a national-debt default that leads to unrest. Others have newer fears: climate change, pandemics, terrorism, far-left and far-right extremism. The presidential election has brought new faces into the fold, namely liberals (who also contributed to a record number of background checks- an indicator of gun purchases- on Black Friday)…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Interesting. But are any of the survival communities mentioned potentially within the budget of the not-so-well-heeled? Well, Vivos xPoint, which is being billed as “the largest survival community on earth,” advertises this on their project web page:

Priced At Just $25,00 Per Bunker
No Per Person Charge

The biggest feature is the extremely low and affordable price. Each bunker is being privately and exclusively provided under:

A Bunker Lease for 99-years, with a one-time, upfront payment of just $25,000 per bunker;

coupled with,

A Ground Lease for 99-years, with an ongoing payment of just $1,000 per year

Your bunker will be your blank canvas to prepare as much, or as little as you like, with no restrictions on how many people will share it with you when the moment of truth (aka SHTF) arrives. So, you may bring as many friends and family as you like to accommodate in your private bunker, at NO EXTRA CHARGE!

If you shelter 10 people in your bunker, the effective cost is just $2,500 each. With 20 people, the cost is just $1,250 per person. Do the math, there is no lower cost shelter solution, anywhere


Vivos xPoint Promo Video

Watching that marketing video, Vivos isn’t kidding about that “blank canvas” bit.

Regular readers of Survival And Prosperity might remember The Vivos Group from a June 2013 post about the planned construction of “the world’s largest private underground survival shelter”- Vivos Survival Shelter & Resort- in an existing below-ground complex in Atchison, Kansas. Alas, the project was cancelled as “numerous concerns arose related to the geological stability and safety of the cave structure that we believe may compromise its ability to withstand the anticipated forces of future catastrophic or earth changing events.”

From the looks of things, that setback hasn’t stopped Vivos from charging ahead with new projects.

You can read “A Resort for the Apocalypse” here on The Atlantic website.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

(Editor’s note: Posting of information about any product/property offerings is not to be construed as being a recommendation from this blog and its editor, unless specifically indicated. I am not responsible for any personal liability, loss, or risk incurred as a consequence of the use and application, either directly or indirectly, of any information presented herein.)

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Wednesday, February 8th, 2017 Debt Crisis, Defaults, Emergencies, Europe, Man-Made Disasters, Natural Disasters, Preparedness, Shelter, TEOTWAWKI, Terrorism, War, Wealth Comments Off on Rise Of The Survival Communities

The Rich Keep Buying Survival Bunkers

Back in March 2011 I started blogging about underground survival shelters on Survival And Prosperity. Anyone remember that Discovery Channel TV series Doomsday Bunkers focusing on Dallas-based shelter fabricator Deep Earth Bunker? Yeah, I covered that production in a number of posts.

Chatter about survival bunkers in the mainstream media kind of subsided for a few years. Then I noticed a definite pickup about such shelters in the news over the last few months. Two just-published articles appear on the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and BBC News websites. Gordon Dickson reported on the Star-Telegram site Friday:

Inside his football field-size warehouse an hour’s drive southeast of Dallas, Gary Lynch is busy trying to keep up with orders for his solid-steel bomb shelters

Lynch explains that orders for his most expensive shelters, which can cost as much as several million dollars, have increased since the November election.

“It definitely has picked up a little as Donald Trump emerged as president,” said Lynch, general manager of Rising S Co. on the outskirts of the rural city of Murchison…

Sales of Rising S’s most luxurious shelters have jumped 700 percent in recent months…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

“Americans buy bomb shelters, prep for ‘Trumpocalypse”
Star-Telegram Video

Regular readers of Survival And Prosperity shouldn’t be surprised rich Americans are acquiring survival shelters. Last Thursday I discussed an article from the January 30, 2017, issue of The New Yorker entitled “Doomsday Prep For The Super-Rich.” There was this bit in the piece:

In private Facebook groups, wealthy survivalists swap tips on gas masks, bunkers, and locations safe from the effects of climate change. One member, the head of an investment firm, told me, “I keep a helicopter gassed up all the time, and I have an underground bunker with an air-filtration system.”

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

The article also talked about Larry Hall (first blogged about here in March 2012), the CEO of the Survival Condo Project, who sells luxury survival condos built underground in former Atlas missile silos. Hall and his survival condos were the focus of a January 31 BBC News piece analyzing the market for such shelters. Neil Koenig, “The Life of Luxury” series producer, penned on the BBC News website earlier today:

Despite the fact that the apartments cost millions of dollars each to buy, starting at $1.5m (£1.2m), Mr Hall says he is seeing strong demand from wealthy customers

Hall is by no means the only player in the specialist market for survival bunkers, with rivals offering facilities at several locations across the globe. But with his use of luxury elements, experts say, Mr Hall is exploiting a growing trend

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Koenig added that one complex is already completed, with another one “well under way.” The New Yorker piece noted every unit in the first complex has sold out.


“This doomsday bunker costs $3 million”
YouTube Video

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Sources:

Dickson, Gordon. “Bomb-shelter builder stays busy as customers prep for ‘Trumpocalypse.'” Fort Worth Star-Telegram. 27 Jan. 2017. (http://www.star-telegram.com/news/business/technology/article129232199.html). 31 Jan. 2017.

Koenig, Neil. “The nuclear bunkers designed for luxury living.” BBC News. 31 Jan. 2017. (http://www.bbc.com/news/business-38795967). 31 Jan. 2017.

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Tuesday, January 31st, 2017 Business, Government, Preparedness, Wealth Comments Off on The Rich Keep Buying Survival Bunkers

Disaster Retreat: A ‘Prepped Community’ In Central Virginia

Back on November 13, I blogged about how the 5,000-person Vivos Survival Shelter & Resort that was to be constructed in an existing below-ground complex just outside of Atchison, Kansas, had been cancelled. I wrote:

Too bad the project didn’t pan out. I’ll have to check around and see if a similar affordable private underground shelter isn’t in the works someplace else in the United States.

Well, I did check around, and wasn’t able to find another private underground survival shelter of that size in the works. However, I did stumble on a related project out in central Virginia the other day that caught my attention.

Enter Disaster Retreat. From the website’s FAQ page:

WHAT IS DISASTER RETREAT?

Disaster Retreat is a 160+ acre former private hunting reserve. Now offered as a rural retreat in times of crisis.

Disaster Retreat is a “Prepped Community”. We do the upkeep and tenants have the security of knowing they have a place prepared. Tenants also have greater privacy by not attaching their own names to any government documents.

Disaster Retreat is NOT a vacation home, rather it is an active insurance against disaster. Tenants pay a monthly fee and to lease space and have supplies “Prepped” for the tenants arrival.

A place that will actually PROTECT your Family! An investment that will provide shelter and security for your family, even in the most tumultuous of times.

WHAT DOES DISASTER RETREAT OFFER?

Disaster Retreat offers leases on 1/4 acre and up parcels of land. The tenants are highly encouraged to install their own private underground bunkers. As part of the lease, Disaster Retreat provides all emergency food and water supplies for the tenants.

Our onsite caretaker will rotate these supplies for each individual tenant and ensure all bunkers are in good working order. The objective is to have everything ready at all times.

FOOD AND SHELTER: Sleep well knowing, that no matter what the emergency, you have a home consisting of your private shelter waiting for you and ready. Meals for you and your family can be included in your lease and the stock can be monitored and refreshed, as needed, by our staff.

WATER AND POWER: If you choose Off-the-Grid water and power, you are guaranteed that you and your loved ones will always have the things they need. Our staff will also rotate and refresh your unit’s internal water storage, as needed.

SAFETY AND SECURITY: Disaster Retreat provides you the opportunity to “Bug Out” and retreat to a safe location, complete with your own personal space and all of the necessities of modern living. As we all hope for the best, YOU will be prepared for the worst… from Natural Disasters, Man-Made Acts of Aggression to Nuclear War.

You Can Now Own an Underground Bunker, the Zenith of Emergency Preparedness!

Here is the land, now is the time! Disaster Retreat is giving you the ability to lease your own wooded acreage, with the explicit permission to install your very own Underground Bunker or Fallout Shelter, without you having to take care of it all! Who has the time for that, as time is money. Best of all it is only a short trip from your home now!

We have even negotiated special pricing on behalf of our tenants, with Ultimate Bunker, a premier bunker manufacturer, specializing in family and luxury bunkers…


“Disaster Retreat, Your Prepper Community.”
YouTube Video

There’s quite a bit more information about the “crisis retreat” on that FAQ page, including:

HOW DO I GET TO DISASTER RETREAT?

Disaster Retreat is within driving distance of Northern VA, Washington DC and Raleigh NC. We also offer a private landing strip and Helipad.

WHAT DOES IT COST?

Our pricing is very simple. It starts at $997 per 1⁄4 acre for standard-sized lots. However, the member can chose premium lots or multiple lots in order to meet their individual needs…

WHAT IS INCLUDED WITH A LEASE?

All of the specifics are spelled out in our lease agreement but the basics are the following:

– A 10 year lease to place an underground bunker.
– Maintenance of lease area so that it is ready for you 24/7.
– As much or as little support as you want setting up at the beginning.
– $400 worth of shelf-life food for your initial food stock.
– Year round running streams.
– Confidentiality.
– Pre-event security.
– Private emergency grass landing strip and helipad.
– Shelter maintenance per manufacturer’s recommendations if desired.
– Many other services can be added to the lease agreement to meet individual desires.

Sounds promising. I wonder if someone would build anything like that out in my neck of the woods (Chicagoland)?

For more information, visit the Disaster Retreat website here.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Tuesday, November 25th, 2014 Emergencies, Food, Man-Made Disasters, Natural Disasters, Preparedness, Security, Shelter, Supplies, TEOTWAWKI, Water Comments Off on Disaster Retreat: A ‘Prepped Community’ In Central Virginia

World’s Largest Private Underground Shelter Project Cancelled

There’s been more talk than usual in the news about underground survival shelters due to a recent Wall Street Journal article featuring luxury survival condo builder Larry Hall of Doomsday Preppers-fame (blogged about here in March 2012). Headlining that November 9 piece:

“Affluent buyers worried about doomsday are snapping up well-appointed bunkers built in a former missile silo”

Regular readers of Survival And Prosperity know the wealthy have been acquiring survival shelters for a number of years now.

But what about those who would like the perceived safety of a bunker but don’t have the financial resources to acquire one? Well, they may have been consoled knowing there were plans for a more affordable 5,000-person Vivos Survival Shelter & Resort (wrote about in June 2013) to be built in an existing below-ground complex just south of Atchison, Kansas. Encompassing over 2 million square feet, it was billed as the world’s largest private underground survival shelter. But checking on the status of the project today, I read the following on the website of Del Mar, California-based Vivos Group:

Vivos has reluctantly decided to pull the plug on the Atchison, KS project for use as an underground survival shelter from our expanding network. Despite our significant investment of time and expense for the intended retrofit and outfitting of the cave system, numerous concerns arose related to the geological stability and safety of the cave structure that we believe may compromise its ability to withstand the anticipated forces of future catastrophic or earth changing events. These are risks we simply cannot take with potentially so many lives at stake.

Our concerns included many issues from a history of previous ‘domeout’ cave collapses, with the potential for unforeseeable and unpredictable future cave-ins; controlling the ongoing humidity and temperature extremes; to a variety of health and environmental concerns expressed by our members and crew who visited the facility with no clear means of mitigation.

We hope to soon be able to offer another shelter within this geographic region of America. In the meantime, please contact us about other immediate Vivos shelter opportunities.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)


“World’s largest doomsday shelter coming to Kansas”
YouTube Video

Too bad the project didn’t pan out. I’ll have to check around and see if a similar affordable private underground shelter isn’t in the works someplace else in the United States.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Thursday, November 13th, 2014 Emergencies, Man-Made Disasters, Natural Disasters, Preparedness, Shelter, TEOTWAWKI Comments Off on World’s Largest Private Underground Shelter Project Cancelled

Terrorists Planning On Kidnapping Americans, Attacking Water Systems As Well As Airlines Again?

There is quite a lot of terrorism talk going on these days in the mainstream media outlets. On October 10, Mike Deeson reported on the website of Tampa Bay CBS affiliate 10 News about potential terrorist “dry-runs” on the airlines. Deeson wrote:

A memo obtained by the 10 News investigators from the union that represents pilots for US Airways says that “there have been several cases recently throughout the (airline) industry of what appear to be probes, or dry-runs, to test our procedures and reaction to an in flight threat.”

In a September 2 incident aboard a flight from Reagan National Airport to Orlando International Airport:

Crew members say that shortly after takeoff, a group of four “Middle Eastern” men caused a commotion.

The witnesses claim one of the men ran from his seat in coach, toward the flight deck door. He made a hard left and entered the forward bathroom “for a considerable length of time.”

While he was in there, the other three men proceeded to move about the cabin, changing seats, opening overhead bins, and “generally making a scene.” They appeared to be trying to occupy and distract the flight attendants.

“He made a hard left and entered the forward bathroom ‘for a considerable length of time.'” The other three men acting all anxious?

Could’ve been an earlier “chow call” gone horribly wrong with a subsequent frantic search for the Imodium A-D that was packed away in their checked-in luggage.

All kidding aside, both US Airways and the Transportation Security Administration confirmed the incident for 10 News investigators, and there’s been a Congressional call for an investigation of the matter according to a later 10 News piece.

On October 18, possible terrorist activity directed against Midwestern municipal water systems was reported on the Kansas City Star website. According to the paper:

The FBI is investigating a threat against water systems in four Midwestern cities, including Wichita, Kan.

FBI spokeswoman Bridget Patton said Friday the FBI hasn’t substantiated any threats to the four cities. She would not name those cities, saying only that they were confined to the Midwest.

Finally, last weekend it was reported that intelliegence sources have informed FOX News there’s been significant Internet chatter by terrorists urging followers to kidnap Americans overseas:


“U.S. uncovers new terror threats from Al Shabab”
FOX News Video

By Christopher E. Hill, Editor
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Sources:

Deeson, Mike. “10 News Investigators find memo warning about terrorist “dry-runs” on airplanes.” 10 News Tampa Bay. 10 Oct. 2013. (http://www.wtsp.com/news/topstories/article/339104/0/INVESTIGATORS-Memo-warns-of-terrorist-dry-runs-on-planes). 24 Oct. 2013.

“FBI investigating threat to water systems in Midwestern cities.” Kansas City Star. 18 Oct. 2013. (http://www.kansascity.com/2013/10/18/4561155/fbi-investigating-threat-to-water.html). 24 Oct. 2013.

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Thursday, October 24th, 2013 Government, Infrastructure, Public Safety, Terrorism, Transportation, Travel, War, Water Comments Off on Terrorists Planning On Kidnapping Americans, Attacking Water Systems As Well As Airlines Again?

Coming Soon: Vivos Survival Shelter & Resort In Kansas

In the last two days or so, the media has picked up on the construction of what’s being called the world’s largest private underground survival shelter in Atchison, Kansas. After reading/seeing a couple of pieces about the proposed facility, I have to admit, this “hu-man cave” sounds kind of cool. Plus, it seems to be affordable.

From Del Mar, California-based The Vivos Group, a privately-funded venture with no religious affiliations that’s building a global network of underground shelters, comes the Vivos Survival Shelter & Resort. Here’s what the Vivos website has to say about the new project:

NOT JUST A SHELTER, BUT A YEAR-ROUND RESORT

This massive underground complex encompasses over 2 million square feet of existing shelter area. Now being outfitted, the Vivos Survival Shelter & Resort will accommodate approximately 5,000 people for a minimum of one year of autonomous survival, without the need to return to the surface. Located nearly 130 feet below the mountain surface, carved out of solid limestone, and having a strength 6 times stronger than concrete, this massive structure will resist virtually any predictable disaster or catastrophic event.

This Vivos complex will also be a year-round resort offering its co-owner members the opportunity to visit the shelter anytime they desire, 24/7. With a host of survival, educational and recreational activities and amenities, the Vivos Survival Shelter & Resort will be an attraction for the entire family, both above and below ground.

At full capacity, the underground complex will save the lives of nearly 1 in every 1 million people on Earth, along with precious museum artifacts and treasures, the DNA and gamete cells of thousands within a series of cryovaults, volumes of data, books, and more.

This shelter is a virtual fortress with full-time security and protection devices, drive-thru blast doors that can withstand a nuclear blast from mere miles away, filtration systems for nuclear radiation and fallout, biological pathogens and chemical war gases.

Perhaps the most unique feature of the shelter is that members can drive a full size recreational trailer or motor home directly inside, with space for more than 1,000 vehicles. Like an underground RV park, each family will enjoy the privacy of their own vehicle, meeting their particular needs and comfort standards. Due to the economies of scale of this mega complex, the effective cost per person for access is now reduced to about 10% of the other smaller Vivos shelters. A family of 4 in a 25 foot long RV can join in for $25,000, with pricing set at $1,000 per lineal foot of their vehicle’s length.

The ongoing resort and recreational benefits are well worth the price of co-ownership, not to mention the ability to protect your family from virtually every foreseeable future catastrophe. We are confident this shelter will become your resort vacation destination, year after year!

KCTV5
“World’s largest doomsday shelter to open in Atchison”
Channel 5 Kansas City Video
ANY CHARACTER HERE

As to when the Vivos Survival Shelter & Resort will be completed, according to the Vivos website:

The shelter already exists… retrofitting and outfitting is being completed in on a phased basis, with the critical life-support equipment and fixtures having a priority. Upon completion of the first phase these elements will be completed and the shelter will be fully operational…

We are hopeful that the first phase will be completed by the fall of 2013.

For more information about the Vivos Survival Shelter & Resort shelter in Atchison, Kansas, you can visit The Vivos Group’s website here.

By Christopher E. Hill, Editor
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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States’ Response To Health Emergencies Analyzed

How prepared is your state for major health emergencies?

From a press release issued earlier today by the Trust for America’s Health (TFAH) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF):

In the 10th annual Ready or Not? Protecting the Public from Diseases, Disasters, and Bioterrorism report, 35 states and Washington, D.C. scored a six or lower on 10 key indicators of public health preparedness.

The report, issued by the Trust for America’s Health (TFAH) and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), found that while there has been significant progress toward improving public health preparedness over the past 10 years, particularly in core capabilities, there continue to be persistent gaps in the country’s ability to respond to health emergencies, ranging from bioterrorist threats to serious disease outbreaks to extreme weather events.

In the report, Kansas and Montana scored lowest—three out of 10—and Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Vermont and Wisconsin scored highest—eight out of 10…

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

“There continue to be persistent gaps in the country’s ability to respond to health emergencies, ranging from bioterrorist threats to serious disease outbreaks to extreme weather events.”

I’m not surprised. Just one more reason preparedness makes an awful lot of sense these days.

Illinois, where I currently live, received a score of 5 out of 10 possible points in the report.

Boo!

Wisconsin, where I’m planning on moving to down the road, received 8 out of a possible 10 points (as noted in the report).

Nice.

You can read Ready or Not? in its entirety here on the RWJF website or here on the TFAH site.

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Wednesday, December 19th, 2012 Emergencies, Government, Health, Man-Made Disasters, Natural Resources, Preparedness, Terrorism, Weather Comments Off on States’ Response To Health Emergencies Analyzed

Signs Of The Time, Part 47

Be prepared, because you don’t want to deal with the alternative.

-Larry Hall, Doomsday Preppers episode 5

Fans of the National Geographic Channel TV series Doomsday Preppers might remember Larry Hall from episode 5, “You Shall Not Fear.”

Larry was on the Kansas plains, “building a luxury survival condominium to protect against solar flare, worldwide economic collapse, or anything Mother Nature could throw at us.”

According to his project’s website, all 8 luxury survival condo units have now been spoken for. 6 full-floor units and 2 half-floor units comprise the 7 residential levels in the former missile base. All have sold except for 1 half-floor unit, whose sale is pending. From SurvivalCondo.com:

Congratulations Larry and new condo owners.

Let me know if any of you ever need a houseboy…

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Wednesday, June 6th, 2012 Emergencies, End Times, Man-Made Disasters, Natural Disasters, Preparedness, Shelter, Signs Of The Time, TEOTWAWKI Comments Off on Signs Of The Time, Part 47

On TV: Doomsday Preppers, Episode 7

This past weekend I finally got the chance to watch episode number 7 of the National Geographic Channel TV series Doomsday Preppers.

The show focused on three prepper groups last Tuesday. In order of appearance:

Doug Huffman, Northern California
“I’m preparing for the Second Worldwide Great Depression”

Dianne (and Greg) Rogers, Alberta, Canada
“I’m passionate about prepping because I’m haunted.”

Ed (and Dianna) Peden, west of Topeka, Kansas
“I am preparing to survive and thrive underground.”

Here are my thoughts about episode 7 of Doomsday Preppers, broken down by prepper group:

Doug Huffman

Doug is a retired defense contractor who has a 240-acre ranch in Northern California. He thinks another economic depression is fast-approaching:

We’re $15.2 trillion in debt. No one’s doing anything to address the problems. We cannot continue to keep spending money in this country. At some point, this is all going to collapse. And there’s going to be a massive, massive reset in the United States. You’re going to have a shortage of food. There’s going to be food lines again, gas lines again…

In the first 9 months of this type of economic collapse- no food, no water, and amazingly simple sanitation. Without soap and water- boom, disease everywhere, unstoppable. Simulations have been done- up to an 80 percent loss of our population. The government’s not going to be able to help you. You are going to be on your own, and that is the reality.

As a result, Huffman has transformed his ranch into a self-reliant village. He explained:

Well the whole purpose of me “building” my self-reliant village is, if something should happen, you are only going to survive in a communal group.

Availability of food during an economic collapse is a major concern for the California resident, and the show revealed that Huffman has implemented a 4-stage post-apocalyptic food plan to deal with such a disruption:

1. Hunt local game
2. Breed fish in his lake
3. Grow food in 2,500-square-foot greenhouse
4. Raise a variety of farm animals

In perhaps the funniest/disturbing (depends on the person) scene of episode 7, Doug showed how he’s raising rabbits for food and introduced a couple of his baby bunnies to viewers- “Stir Fry,” “Crock Pot,” “Blackened,” and “Cajun.” He tells the incredibly-cute Stir Fry:

Yeah, you’re going to be surrounded in vegetables.

Awww.

The episode also revealed that the rest of the California prepper’s food is preserved and hidden in 3 secret locations, including a root cellar. According to the show:

Root cellars are controlled storage environments, buried under earth or in a basement. They were widely-used to store fruit and vegetables during the winter months before refrigerators became available.

With his “self-reliant village” containing all this food, Huffman knows the ranch would be a likely target in a SHTF event. How does he plan on defending the place? From the show:

And while civil unrest is a common prepper concern, Doug has no intention in investing in prepping staples like high fences, security cameras, and motion detectors designed to keep marauders out. His plan is to draw them in.

He explained:

My plan for self-defense might be a little bit different. I’m not so concerned about holding the ranch. I’m perfectly willing to give it up. The most effective survival system is to disappear during the chaos, and reappear to just take back what you’ve lost.

Huffman plans on achieving this through the use of camouflage and hidden foxholes. It’s revealed that Doug is a master in the art of camouflage:

Doug has 30 home-made camo suits designed for every possible environment and season.

Huffman pointed out:

You have to have the different colors to fit your environment in fall, winter, spring, summer. The grasses change, the snow- everything changes. Appropriate camouflage is the difference between life and death.

Helpful advice. In addition, Doug has several hidden shelters around the ranch where he can live in temporarily. He showed off what’s called a “spider hole” to his friend and fellow prepper Brian. From the episode:

A spider hole is a combat term widely-used in the Vietnam War. It’s a camouflaged one-man foxhole, about 3 feet deep and 7 feet long. Doug plans to use them to hide in plain sight for 3 to 7 days at a time.

The show revealed that Huffman has a half-dozen spider holes over two hundred miles up to 9,000 feet. Doug told viewers:

My plan is to retreat, ride it out, and live to fight another day. That’s what the spider hole is for.

And at night, he plans to return to the ranch and “reclaim” his property. Huffman explained:

I own the night. It’s been a way of life for me for 25 years. I would return back at night- doing my recon, looking through the windows, getting my numbers. And it’s very, very important psychologically that I just start dropping people within 24 hours. I’ll just start taking you out day, after day, after day.

Huffman wouldn’t be alone at the self-reliant village if things go south. He is training a team of 32 young preppers between the ages of 10 and 19 to rebuild a safe post-apocalyptic community on his ranch. Huffman said:

Twice a week, I got teach a youth group called the “Junior Rangers.” My whole goal is to train people in an apocalyptic event. And that’s what it’s going to take- groups of people that build communities and can defend and protect that community.

The Rangers are trained in survival, foraging, camouflaging techniques, weapons and defense tactics.

Dang. Where was this type of instruction when I was growing up?

Huffman said something earlier in the show that really stuck in my mind:

You had better be prepared. Because it is coming. And the fact that so many people put their head in the sand- that’s a huge mistake. Based upon my law of natural selection, they’re the first ones to die.

In the “Expert Assessment” portion of this segment- conducted by Practical Preppers LLC- the following was said on the show:

In addition, when you retreat underground, it is likely that your supplies will be looted while unattended.

Huffman replied:

I look at that as a foolish answer. Alright? I am your worst nightmare. Maybe he doesn’t understand that.

I don’t think for a second Practical Preppers underestimates Huffman’s capabilities for “reclaiming” his ranch. But I wonder if the company founded by “original doomsday preppers” Scott Hunt and David Kobler recognizes the possibility that the “marauders” may not choose to stick around at the ranch once they take it. If they have the means (adequate transportation), the ability (traversable terrain), and the desire to remove Doug’s supplies from the ranch and continue on as soon as possible- rather than kick back and enjoy the spoils- they might try and do so. Huffman said it’s important for him to start “dropping people” within 24 hours. He might have to start and possibly finish doing that should the marauders intend to push on.

One other thought about this segment. Huffman mentioned that he thought the Second Great Depression would take place in 2012. It’s certainly possible. But recent activity in Washington and at the Federal Reserve have primed the pump, so to speak, and economic news looks to be on track for being rather good all the way until the November election- with the next major bout of economic pain not felt until 2013-2014- according to the same smart people who saw the 2008 global financial crisis coming.

Dianne (and Greg) Rogers

Greg and Dianne Rogers reside in Alberta, Canada, with their 7-year-old daughter Sara(h?). Dianne is a stay-at-home mom, and is prepping because of some reoccurring nightmare:

I’m passionate about prepping because I’m haunted. When I was in college, I had this dream- a disaster dream of some kind in that it was something that happened environmentally. It continues to this day. I’m trying to escape. Greg is getting our bags ready. I’m putting things away- trying to get to a colder place because it’s going to get hot. The temperature is rising. The dream happens all the time. For 20 years I haven’t been able to get away from it.

From the show:

Dianne is convinced her dream has a connection to the real world. A warning from the future that cannot be ignored.

She explained:

My greatest fear is that something catastrophic does happen environmentally and it sets off a chain reaction.

As a result, Greg and Dianne are prepping for all potential disasters (very smart).

Dianne’s husband is just as committed to prepping as she is. From the show:

Greg’s day job is as a granite fabricator. But at night, and on the weekends, he’s training as a security tech, a thief, and even an amateur chemist- all in the service of being prepared.

Greg explained:

In an unpredictable situation you never know what skills you’re going to need to pull yourself out of that situation and ensure your own safety and the safety of the family. I’m learning how to steal a car, for the same reason I’m learning how to pick a lock. I’m learning make gunpowder. Information is easy to carry.

In a SHTF event, the Rogers family plans on bugging-in. It’s revealed they have 12 months of supplies socked away.

Dianne and Greg share information about prepping with their daughter. Every night before bed, they have a “family prepping talk.” And in the show, Sara(h) goes with Mom and Dad to a gun store where the couple looks to purchase handguns. Greg revealed:

I’m not a big gun enthusiast myself, but I realize the importance, and it’s another tool in the tool chest.

Dianne said:

Sara(h) knows there might come a time when Mom and Dad need to use those weapons for things. She’s okay with that. And I would prefer that she’s comfortable around them.”

To successfully bug-in, the Rogers family transformed a portion of their basement into a makeshift bunker. They have food, water supplies, a propane stove, a medical/surgical kit, and a port-a-potty, among other things.

Dianne Rogers left viewers with this thought:

I think prepping has become such a big movement because there is so much more uncertainty in the world than there ever used to be. We know so much more now than we ever used to. Maybe it was easier when we didn’t know.

In the “Expert Assessment” portion of this segment, Practical Preppers LLC said:

You live in close proximity to others- which could be a disadvantage in a disaster. However, you could turn this to your advantage by establishing a network within your community for survival and disaster planning.

Dianne responded with:

There seems to be a bit of hesitation among other people. They just don’t want to think about it.

I’ve noticed on the Internet that websites exist where preppers can go to link up with other preppers. PrepperGroups.com is perhaps the most well-known one. In addition, there’s Meetup.com, which bills itself as the world’s largest network of local groups. For example, doing a search on this site for preppers around Chicago brought up two preparedness groups in nearby Oak Brook and Wilmette. Even though Dianne and Greg live in Canada, I saw some Canadian-based preppers on PrepperGroups.com. If the family is serious about establishing a network within their community for survival and disaster planning, they might want to explore this route.

Going back to that part of the show where the Rogers family visited the gun store, it was noted how Glock handguns are used by many law enforcement agencies across the country, and as such, the availability of ammunition might be better during TEOTWAWKI. I’ve heard this claim before and the one that says firearms chambered for “common” caliber cartridges like 9mm Luger, .45 ACP, .223 Remington, .30-30 Winchester, .308 Winchester, etcetera might also be easier finding ammo for when TSHTF. However, I suspect that beyond the initial stage of the crisis, pretty much all rimfire and centerfire ammunition will disappear off the shelves- to be used as barter by enterprising individuals if anything. Furthermore, in most instances I doubt the police/military will be sharing ammunition with John Q. Public should things go to hell. In fact, some argue they’ll be replenishing their depleted ammo supply from you if needed. Gun owners are probably better off acquiring all the ammo they’ll need before the brown stuff hits the fan.

Ed (and Dianna) Peden

Ed and Dianna Peden live in a decommissioned Atlas missile site west of Topeka, Kansas. Ed, a retired teacher, first became interested in the complex back in the eighties when the specter of nuclear war hovered over the world. He explained:

The economy is certainly in trouble. In some ways the economy has already collapsed. And everybody thought the economy was going to bounce back- it was just a little recession. Well, that hasn’t happened. It’s not happening. There’s going to be desperation and there’s going to be potential violence. And those that can make adjustments to the changes in optimal ways will thrive, while many others are going to suffer.

Ed believes there’s no time to lose in his prepping, as he feels an economic doomsday is already underway. He claimed:

We are at a critical moment. The banking institutions are troubled. The stock market is reflecting these things. The politicians have no answers. And we’re not finished with these trends.

According to the show, the missile base cost $4 million to build in 1960. Ed bought it in the eighties for $40,000. Like the Rogers family, Dianna and Ed plan on bugging-in, closing their 20-inch-thick blast-proof front door to the outside. Stocked with 12 months of food and supplies, the Peden’s renovated 20,000 square-foot bunker is very secure with its 18-inch-thick walls, an 8-foot tall steel and barbed-wire perimeter fence, a recently-installed automatic gate, and a new 360-degree security camera system.

When it comes to using firearms for self-defense, the show revealed that Dianna is committed to non-violence. But Ed is not. He warned viewers:

I don’t show them, but I’m well-trained in them, and that’s all I would care to discuss about it.

Dianna and Ed don’t plan on going at it alone during TEOTWAWKI. From the show:

If Ed and Dianna Peden’s predictions come to pass, and economic catastrophe and societal breakdown occur, they are aware that the two of them do not possess all the skills they will need to survive. So they have selected a group of people to allow into their fortified bunker.

When preppers assemble survival teams, commonly sought after professions are emergency-room doctors, mechanics, and professional soldiers. But for their team, the Peden’s have selected a “living food chef,” an intuitive healer, and a spiritualist.

Ed left viewers with this thought:

If difficult times do come, and I think that’s most likely, it’s going to be so important who you are around, who you have on the bus with you, so to speak.

During the “Expert Assessment” portion of the segment, Practical Preppers advised:

We recommend you train consistently with whatever firearms you store inside the silo. And consider investing in bulletproof vests in case your home comes under siege.

The Kansas prepper replied with:

I’ll choose my own way with that. His consciousness is at a different place than ours.

Perhaps that’s what the intuitive healer is for? I thought the recommendation about “bulletproof” vests was a good one. To tweak something actor John Wayne allegedly once said:

Life during societal collapse is hard. It’s even harder when you’re perforated.

I wish these preppers success in their endeavors.

New episodes of Doomsday Preppers air on the National Geographic Channel Tuesday nights at 9 PM Eastern/Pacific Time. For more information, go to the Nat Geo Channel website here.

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On TV: Doomsday Preppers, Episode 5

This weekend I got around to reviewing episode number 5 of National Geographic Channel’s new TV series Doomsday Preppers. “You Shall Not Fear,” which aired on February 28, focused on three prepper groups. In order of appearance:

Michael Douglas and family, Augusta, Maine
“I’m preparing for overpopulation to reach critical mass”

Larry Hall, Kansas plains
“I’m building a luxury survival condominium to protect against solar flare, worldwide economic collapse, or anything Mother Nature could throw at us”

Becky Brown, Salt Lake City, Utah
“Because of our nation’s high unemployment rate, Becky believes that the economy will collapse, causing the government to forcibly take over and declare martial law, which would dismantle democracy, and strip American citizens of their basic constitutional rights.”

Here are my thoughts about episode 5 of Doomsday Preppers, broken down by prepper group:

Michael Douglas and family

Michael Douglas is a former U.S. Marine who is now a wilderness school instructor. He lives on a 30-acre farm in Augusta, Maine, with his wife and three kids.

Michael is concerned about overpopulation. According to the Nat Geo Channel:

The global population first reached 1 billion in 1804. In only 200 years, the global population has soared from 1 billion to 7 billion. Researchers believe that the planet can only sustain a limited number of people. And Michael fears, that we are fast approaching critical mass, and will soon exceed the world’s carrying capacity.

The prepper added:

Overpopulation reaches critical mass, soils will be depleted and turn into deserts. Once those deserts establish themselves, it’s irreversible. Giant dust clouds turning the sky red for days will cover the landscape. What’s going to happen? Massive food riots in the streets. Violence. A gallon of water would cost more than a gallon of gas.

Not only has Michael been developing his survival skills for the last 20 years, but he’s also been teaching his three kids to be preppers and to be able to live off the land. He explained:

It’s important to have every family member on board if we are to survive as a family.

Michael predicts food and water shortages ahead. The farm produces food and has 400 gallons of water cached. However, he thinks the key to his family’s survival is to become “hunter-gatherers.”

Instead of utilizing traditional alarm systems, Michael has been teaching his kids to decipher alerts among the local bird population. He believes this gives them around 5 minutes warning of approaching danger. While this sounds good on the surface, what if there are no birds present in an area at a particular time? Or what if another sound (farm equipment, or steadily falling rain, for example) drowns out the birds? Then there’s the evening, when the family retires indoors to bed. The Douglas family might want to consider adding additional layers of alarms, such as a battery of motion detectors, particularly for those times when they’re inside their residence.

On the topic of protection, the show revealed:

Most preppers stock up on firearms for self-defense. But Michael does not possess guns. He believes population would cause ammunition to become a finite resource, and he does not want to become dependent on it.

Instead, the Douglas family uses martial arts, the tomahawk, and the throwing stick to protect themselves.

While I’m glad to hear that the family is paying attention to their personal safety, I wonder about the tools they’ve chosen. Martial arts has a limited effective range, as does the tomahawk and throwing stick. Introduce a firearm like a carbine or battle rifle into the equation and they could have a real problem. Also, in a confrontation, you’re likely talking about one tomahawk/one “stick,” one throw. Advantage, “high-capacity” magazine? Finally, while the family may be able to effectively deal with one or a small number of lightly-armed intruders with what they’re working with, I’m concerned the outcome might be different in other circumstances. The more bad guys, armament, training, and distance of engagement, the more likely the attackers will prevail.

Ammunition availability is a major concern for many preppers. The solution I often come across in my research? Get out there and start buying ammo, and be sure to “stack ‘em high and stack ‘em deep.”

Michael said he conducts self-defense drills every day, multiple times a day, and often without warning. That sounds great, although I hope he doesn’t end up like Cato from the Pink Panther movies some day.

The children are being guided towards a “rite of passage” event in which they are to recognize they have the essential skills they need to survive. In the episode, the middle child, 12-year-old Ryan, was undergoing such a rite. Initially, Ryan was shown as not being too interested in the whole program. The young man even said:

I don’t need to know all the different skills that he teaches me. Like, for the food, pizza. Fire, matches. Water, sink. Not drinking out of moss.

His rite was to require of Ryan to build a shelter and a fire using a blow drill and piece of notched wood. Turns out, Ryan was pretty darn good at doing both.

Michael Douglas is not one for accumulating survival “toys.” He announced:

A lot of preppers get sooo infatuated with new toys. They’re temporary conveniences that will rust, fall apart, break, get lost.

Great point- which is why preppers should obtain the best-quality “toys” they can afford.

Larry Hall

Larry Hall is an engineer turned real estate developer who is building luxury survival condos somewhere on the plains in Kansas. The condos are being constructed out of former nuclear missile silos. The structure is 14 stories deep (175 feet), embedded in up to 9 feet of concrete. It will contain room for 70 residents, including Larry, his wife, and 6-year-old son. He said:

The survival condo project is a one size fits all solution to solar flares and loss of the grid, avian bird flu, a nuclear explosion, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions.

The complex is stocked with a combination of freeze-dried and dehydrated food- approximately 5 years’ worth of food for each resident at 2,500 calories per day. Psychologists were consulted and recommendations implemented (high ceilings, for example) when dealing with potential “cabin fever.” Artificial windows, available with a number of different scenes, are being built into the structure. Redundancy has been achieved for key life support systems.

According to Hall, residents of the complex will perform preventative maintenance and man security details. The structure is almost completely hidden from view. A half-million dollar 4-stage security plan is in place:

• Security Stage One- 7-foot high perimeter fence
• Security Stage Two- Complex surveillance system monitoring interior/exterior
• Security Stage Three- Concrete-encased entrance offers protection for armed defenders
• Security Stage Four- 70 armed, battle-ready residents can be mustered if necessary

Each condo unit will be offered for between $1 to $2 million. A prospective buyer by the name of Sara(h?) visited the complex during filming. From the show:

Many Americans can identify with Sara(h)’s sense of impending dread. A recent poll found that 41 percent of Americans feel that preparing for a disastrous event is more important than saving for retirement. And over half believe some kind of catastrophic event will occur in the next 10 years.

Near the end of the second part of the show, Larry Hall offered up this little nugget of advice to viewers:

Be prepared, because you don’t want to deal with the alternative.

In the “Expert Assessment” section, Practical Preppers suggested:

However, you should think about recruiting inhabitants with advanced skills sets, including those with medical and military training.

Great advice. Larry responded with:

I agree 100 percent with that comment. We attempted to do just that, but given the economic conditions that we have today, that option became overcome by events, for lack of a better term.

I think I get what Hall is trying to say here. If that’s the case, the project leaders might want to coordinate top-notch training with the future inhabitants as soon as they sign on the dotted line.

One last thing. Residents who live some distance from the Kansas complex must figure out how to get to the bug-out location safely and promptly when all hell is breaking loose. Otherwise, their purchase might be for nothing. I wonder if this is something the project assists with (providing armed escort and transportation that is strategically-positioned around the country, for example) or is each party on their own. I’m guessing it’s the latter due to the significant costs that would be involved with the former.

Becky Brown

Becky Brown is a thirtysomething business school student living in Salt Lake City, Utah. She was introduced in the episode with:

Because of our nation’s high unemployment rate, Becky believes that the economy will collapse, causing the government to forcibly take over and declare martial law, which would dismantle democracy, and strip American citizens of their basic constitutional rights.

Brown herself added:

I foresee the government takeover happening within the next year or two. Honestly.

Brown is pretty intense about her prepping. She spends 4 hours a day thinking about prepping. She revealed that she has spent $50,000 on preps to-date- $30,000 in the last year alone.

Brown lives near the Utah State Capitol building. She said:

Having the Capitol right behind me is a constant reminder that the government could declare martial law and take over the city. So, it’s a blessing that I’m living so close to be able to put the clues together.

Then again, one can put the clues together while not living so close to a high-profile government facility. Her proximity to this building might make bugging-in and bugging-out more difficult in a SHTF event. Or it might work in her favor, as the amount of security in the area might provide some stability in a major crisis. I’d still keep an eye out for a good bug-out location though.

Brown dedicates 200 square feet of her 1,800 square foot apartment to supplies and preps. She fears water will be in short supply during a major crisis:

We won’t have a water supply. They’re going to hold the water for the most elite.

Brown owns several bug-out bags. Preppers are often known to utilize a vehicle bug-out bag and an everyday carry bag, or EDC bag, in addition to their main bug-out bag positioned at their residence.

Becky owns a stun gun, but not a firearm. She said:

I’m a girl, I’m feminine. I’m not supposed to love guns.

However, she added:

But you get in a different mentality when you’re protecting your family, and your home, and the things that are most important to you.

Consequently, she is shown receiving firearm instruction from a friend of hers, a “professional contract sniper.” In addition to some handgun training, she is given a scoped bolt-action sniper rifle for hitting targets 1,000 yards away. She explained:

I’m taking sniper training, because then I can keep people as far away as I needed to.

She proceeded to hit targets out to 200 yards with the long gun. That’s great, but I can’t help but wonder if she shouldn’t be concentrating on learning fighting skills in a particular order. Based on her not owning a firearm and living in an urban environment, she might want to consider learning hand-to-hand fighting skills first. After this is done, perhaps training in basic handgun, basic shotgun, and basic rifle should be pursued, possibly in that order. Sniper training might be further down the list of priorities for her, considering her personal circumstances.

In the “Expert Assessment” portion of the segment, Practical Preppers recommended to Becky:

If you have to leave Salt Lake City within a matter of minutes, it will be difficult to carry your supplies.

She responded with:

That’s why I have a big-frame hiking backpack , and so that’s the thing I would take if I were on foot.

Since it appears Becky has a large amount of supplies stored in her apartment, being able to take only a backpack-full of supplies in a “Get Out Of Dodge,” or G.O.O.D., situation seems wasteful. If she hasn’t done so already, she might want to select a good bug-out location (place of refuge in a major crisis) and pre-position supplies there and along the primary/alternate routes to the BOL in supply caches.

Becky recently appeared in a YouTube video with updates on improvements she’s made with her preps:


“National Geo Update.MP4”
YouTube Video

Another good episode. Funny how two of the preppers featured didn’t own firearms- although I wonder if Ms. Brown hasn’t changed her mind regarding that. Not as many good ideas worth looking into this time around- although I was intrigued by those artificial windows. I wish these three prepper groups success in their endeavors.

New episodes of Doomsday Preppers air on the National Geographic Channel Tuesday nights at 9 PM Eastern/Pacific Time. For more information, go to the Nat Geo Channel website here.

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Survival And Prosperity
Est. 2010, Chicagoland, USA
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    Degussa, a leading international player in the precious metals world which also offers safe deposit boxes (for customers) at branches in Germany, Singapore, Spain, and Switzerland, has just posted information about their next Numis Day (first blogged about here) at their Geneva and Zurich showrooms. From their website: The Next Numis Day We appreciate and […]