Preppers in the spotlight as Ebola fears grow
The prepper community has vaulted into the spotlight in recent weeks as a combination of disbelief in government assurances about Ebola and dire pronouncements from the international community on the spread of the disease make people who have been ridiculed for years as kooks suddenly seem quite rational.
Indeed, most preppers have always been rational. reasonable, and prudent planners. There is a kooky fringe who believe there will be a race war, or that aliens will invade. But most preppers prepare for real threats like hurricanes, earthquakes, and mass casualty terrorist attacks.
We could all learn a thing or two from them.
That said, this being America, there is always a buck to be made.
Last month, Charles convened a meeting for NYC members specifically to go over Ebola precautions. The most important thing, he told attendees, is to boost the immune system with essential oils and constant hand-washing and sanitation. Along with, of course, stockpiling medical supplies and food, as you would for any emergency.
And people are listening. In the past week, preppers-turned-entrepreneurs Fabian Illanes and Roman Zrazhevskiy say they have seen sales of gas masks and their harrowing-sounding NBC (Nuclear Biological Chemical) survival systems skyrocket. “Tripled is probably an understatement,” Illanes says. Their company, Ready to Go Survival, sells prepacked survival, or “bug out,” bags and kits. As fears of Ebola grow, they’ve been filling $1,000 orders of gas masks for whole families.
Illanes, who recently moved to Texas from New York, says he imagines a time when Manhattan might shut down all access into and out of the city. “If I’m in a car with my family and each of us has gloves, masks, and bodysuits, and there’s a regular family in a car next to us—who do you think the people controlling borders are going to feel more comfortable letting through?” he asks.
In response to the calls they’ve been receiving, they’re putting together a “pandemic kit” that will provide quick full-body protection and will go on sale late next week.
“It’s better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it,” Zrazhevskiy asserts.
On Doom and Bloom, a prepper blog and online store, concerned citizens can purchase a $59.99 “Deluxe Ebola Pandemic Kit” that includes goggles, coveralls, masks, and biohazard bags.
The website is run by Joe Alton, a retired OB-GYN and fellow at the American College of Surgeons, and his wife, Amy, a nurse. They’re the authors of The Survival Medicine Handbook, a guide for post-apocalyptic wellness.
On Thursday morning, Joe flew from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, to Texas—home to America’s three Ebola cases—to talk prepping on Glenn Beck’s television show. On his way there, he said he was more careful than usual, wiping down the plane’s seat armrests with bleach wipes for the first time ever, and scrubbing his hands with strong sanitizer half a dozen times.
Six months ago, there was zero chance of a worst case scenario coming true. Today, even something short of a worst case scenario demands that prudent, common sense measures be taken to protect yourself and your family. You should have an emergency plan anyway for natural disasters and terrorist attacks. Now, with Ebola a possible threat to civil society, that plan should include all the supplies and precautions needed to ride out the storm safely.
There is still only a very small chance of catastrophe. But what will the world look like six months from now? Prudence demands you take at least minimum precautions in case the world goes mad.