NAtGeo TV had a show in the UK last night about the growing number of British preppers – men and women who are preparing against future catastrophes ranging from economic collapse to electro-magnetic flares that knock out all electric equipment.
What they have in common is they are ready for a world without food distribution, and with no law and order.
Most have spent thousands of pounds preparing for disaster.
Pictured here with her with survival equipment, American ex-pat, Annie Durbin, who lives in east London, is one of Britain’s female preppers.
She said: ‘The specific point that I became interested in prepping was in the summer of 2011, just after the riots. I thought, wow, you know, this is really serious. If this handful of kids can shut down London, you know, what happens if something really major happens?’
So she has stocked up on pulses, grains and canned goods to last three months.
She said: ‘which I think, should be sufficient, because if the s*** did hit the fan, I would probably not be able to stay here very long anyway. So I think that amount of food is probably about right.’
She has put together a ‘survival kit’ including her favourite ‘commando knife’ which makes her ‘feel tough’ and can be made into a spear.
Miss Durbin said: ‘I can’t imagine I’ll need a spear, but you never know what’s going to happen. That’s a handy dandy little item to have. Prepping is a statement of independence. You know, I’m taking the situation into my hands.
‘I don’t like the feeling of being helpless. I felt so helpless when the stores were shut, when the riots happened, and I thought, this is pathetic.’
She has put together an all-purpose kit bag, with some surprising items telling the documentary: ‘One of them is actually a couple of versions of the Qur’an. Because I live right in the middle of the largest Muslim population in the UK.
‘So you never know, it’s very good to adapt to your environment. And I’ve got baggies of all sorts of things. Oral hygiene things, a little hairbrush.
‘Even if you’re out surviving, you still want to look nice, don’t you? Still a matter of self-preservation, taking care of yourself, I think that’s very important. Especially if everything around you is collapsing.
‘Apparently I am unusual being a female prepper. There don’t seem to be many others around. But I probably do think of issues that men don’t think of.
‘I’ve got lots of condoms, and various lubes and things, because even in times of hardship, people have sex.
‘Perhaps even more so in times of hardship, that’s one natural comfort that they can easily get. So it’s good to be prepared.
‘You don’t know who you’re going to encounter out there on the streets, or in the wild, so it’s best to protect yourself. You never know.’
Like Annie, the preppers have supplies of food with a long shelf life, caches of petrol, weapons in some cases, and little things to make life comfortable. Only they know the exact location of their secret hideaways, or “bug-out locations” where they can escape in the event of widespread chaos and looting.
One ‘prepper’, Edward O’Toole, has already given up on Britain and is living ‘off grid’ in Slovakia.
Science fiction author Mr. O’Toole left his home 14 years ago and
met his wife, Renata, in Slovakia. They now have three children who help him hunt and trap.
He said: ‘I’m preparing for a new Dark Age. If Britain lost electricity, and oil, then within a week most people would be dead.
‘You’re talking 70 million people on an island, all competing for the same resources. The most likely catastrophic situations that we could experience are natural disasters. I think there will be a new Dark Age. And I want to prep so that my children have a good chance of survival.’
He says that governments around the world are secretly preparing for Doomsday.
‘There are lots of things being prepared for at the moment. For example, China and Russia – Have both been building vast bunkers,’ he said.
‘Russia now has enough bunkers to house the entire population. In America people are trying to build bunkers, but they can’t get the equipment and they can’t get the companies to do it, because the government has been hiring the companies to build theirs. On a much, much higher level, there obviously is something in the works’
He said: ‘I’ve probably been preparing since I was about fifteen, sixteen, in one form or another. Obviously now I have a family, there are five of us, I’ve got to think about feeding five people each day, day after day. You know, I don’t want my five year-old daughter, like, starving.
Retired soldier Michael Sanderson lives with his wife and two young daughters in Hertfordshire but has a trailer ready for them to escape to a secret Welsh hideaway at 15 minutes’ notice.
Mr Sanderson, who served in the Falklands and Northern Ireland, said: ‘I’m preparing for a natural disaster.
‘Bad things do happen, people’s homes do get burned down, there are floods, there are catastrophic events that affect people completely.
‘If you go too late, you’re dead. People say to me “why are you a prepper?” And I’m always baffled by it, because what I say to people is, I don’t understand why you’re not.
Mr Sanderson said: ‘My mum’s 85 years old, you know, I’ve got young children, how do I get the family out? So they didn’t leave, the stayed. And – they expected, they expected somebody to come and save them. And nobody did.
‘What we see, internationally, is all these things happening on a day-to-day basis, but we don’t think it could possibly happen here. Couldn’t possibly happen here. Or could it’
At his hideaway he will use wood and keeps the fire going and will be ‘reverting to a simpler time’.
He added: ‘Towns and cities are dangerous places. You know, an awful lot of people fighting for the same resources, you know, it’s a dangerous place. What you’re talking about is the biggest, the toughest, the meanest, getting whatever’s going.’
He would use ‘lethal force’ to defend his family. Mr Sanderson said: ‘The last thing you want in a serious situation is for someone to sneak up on you and steal all your preps. I would do everything possible to avoid a lethal confrontation, but if we ended up in a situation without the rule of law, would I use lethal force to defend my family? Every day of the week and twice on Sundays. Absolutely. ‘
is a new recruit and believes she is one of the only woman preppers.
Although it sounds like something out of a science fiction novel department store manager Royston Upson, from Surrey, is preparing for the aftermath of a solar flare.
But he will not survive alone and has prepared to save a dozen ‘like-minded’ people from the impending disaster to form a new community.
He said: ‘I’m going to make sure that myself and those around me are prepared for anything.
‘It only takes, say, like, an EMP from the sun, with a coronal mass ejection, and it can potentially wipe out all electric grids in the Western world.’
‘These are what the Mayan calendar’s all based around, it’s about solar maximus, solar minus. We’re now coming into solar maximus.
‘The system is fragile, incredibly fragile. Everything is reliant on electricity. Here we rely on Tescos, well if Tescos doesn’t have any tills to work and there’s no money in the banks, nothing is going to happen.
Pete Stanford, from Hampshire, is a personal development coach. He would use his inflatable canoe to get to his island hideaway eight miles out of town he has an NBC – nuclear, biological, chemical – suit.
Mr Stanford said: ‘To control any civil unrest, nerve gas, tear gas and type of chemicals might be used to subdue whatever civil unrest there is. So if, for some reason, I had to clandestinely and stealthily go through that area, I’d want to be protected.’
Mr Stanford has been prepping for five years for WROL – a world without the rule of law.
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