8th August, 2014
IMAGINE disaster strikes right now. Today. An asteroid hits, Ebola arrives, the electrical grid goes down. What would you do? Where would you go?
“Most people would die, it’s simple mathematics,” said Peter, an avid disaster ‘prepper’ who runs Oz Prepper Forum, a site with 400 members dedicated to sharing tips and ideas on how to survive when it comes to TEOTWAWKI (the end of the world as we know it).
“That’s not even talking about the people on life support systems. Even just the people solely reliant on the supermarket, even if you’re well prepared you have to be extremely lucky to survive.”
It’s the first time he’s spoken to media about the notoriously shy group who distinguish themselves from survivalists as they are more focused on preparation for disastrous events rather than the specific skill sets survivalists cultivate.
“Preppers prepare for disasters which are natural and man made whereas survivalists, it’s a skillset. Most people don’t realise that when they first look at it,” he said.
Peter was inspired to start the website just over a year ago after watching the American show Doomsday Preppers and thinking about what would happen when SHTF (s*** hits the fan) in Australia.
His forum has nearly 400 members with around 40 chatting at any given time. They come from all over Australia to discuss everything from how to store batteries to the best source of electricity in a disaster, night vision equipment and ‘bugging out’ with kids.
Each member has their own particular doomsday scenario they are most worried about, whether it’s an asteroid hitting, bird flu taking over the world, solar flare or financial collapse.
His personal nightmare is the electrical grid going down meaning no water, fuel or food source for millions of people at once and the chaos that would ensue afterwards.
“You don’t realise how quickly things can happen,” he said.
“The first 24 hours would be pretty hectic. At first people would just think ‘the power is down’ but 12 hours later they realise they have to look after their family, their priorities have now shifted, people are going to stop going to work, there’s no power, no food, no petrol.
“The trucks can’t run, roads are gridlocked. It seems too soon when you first think about it but 24 hours is all it takes for a big outage. If they don’t bring it back on in 12 hours, after a day or two things would fall apart very quickly.”
The forum strictly bans bigotry or verbal violence and Peter said the overwhelming feedback from members is that it’s a relief to share their ideas with like-minded people without being branded a “crazy”.
“There’s lots of stigma about this,” he said, adding that most members don’t tell their friends and even family. But he expects it’s only going to get more popular “given the world is going to s**t”.
Another Australian site Aus Prep has more than 150 members with nearly 14,000 posts covering everything from advice for women to notes on how to avoid being complacent and tips on DIY projects or specific state-based preparedness.
The community is also well-established overseas with sites like The Prepper Journal, UK Prepper Girl and Survival Blog written by former US Army Officer James Wesley Rawles, sharing articles and advice on how to raise rabbits and capture rainwater to the latest on Ebola and where storms are due to strike.
In the Australian community Peter said everyone has a different plan on what will happen when SHTF. It’s a choice between “bugging out” to a BOL (bug out location) or ‘bugging in” by hunkering down at home.
While some think it’s best to tell neighbours and join forces, most think it’s best to keep their prepping a secret in order to avoid ‘zombies’ — the masses who will mob you for your stuff.
“When people get hungry and need to feed their family they tend to turn into different people than you know. I tell my friends but I don’t go advertising it,” he said.
“If you’re bugging in you’re still going to be in sh*t creek because as someone knows you’re there and you’re defending it they’re going to try and get in. Bugging out is a more preferred option … They might be vague about the general location but obviously that’s their security if something goes tits up.”
ATL — Attempt to locate
Bug in bag — the essentials for “hunkering down”
Bug out bag — A bag you grab when you need to get moving with enough supplies to last for 72 hours
But out location — the place you retreat to
Bug out vehicle — the car you will use to get there
CYA — Cover your assets
Doomstead — your survival retreat
EDC — every day carry; including pocket knife, torch, lighter, phone, etc
ELE — Extinction level event
FIFO — First in first out system for food storage
FRED — Field rotation eating device — also known as “f**ing ridiculous eating device”
GOOD — Get out of Dodge. Also known as bugging out or leaving the city in a hurry
INCH — I’m never coming home kit — the gear you’ll take when you GOOD permanently.
Junk silver — coins with little face value but high silver content
Mall Ninja — someone that values style over substance
Pollyanna — someone who denies TEOTWAWKI could happen and remains optimistic
SHTF — When sh*t hits the fan
WROL — without rule of law — when the military or police have lost control
YOYO — You’re on your own. For when the government isn’t providing essential services
Zombie — the unprepared masses who will look to you to take what you’ve prepared