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Why survivalism is going mainstream

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Diane Vukovic

It’s a fact that's both scary and reassuring at the same time; Texas has the highest number of ‘survivalists’ in the country, according to a recent survey.

A survey of 3,000 respondents by Primal Survivor, a website dedicated to providing practical prepping advice, reports that 16% said they were most worried about an economic collapse, while around 14% are preparing for an international conflict. About 13% said they were worried about another major pandemic.

The study also appears to indicate that more people are joining the survivalist movement. More than one-third of respondents said the reports about surveillance balloons prompted them to ramp up their preparations. More than half of the respondents said they were more likely to become survivalists now than they were years ago.

But despite the growing interest in survivalists, most Americans aren't well-prepared for an extreme event. When asked how long they could survive without help from authorities if the power were to go out, the average response was just one week. And 17% of respondents said they wouldn't even make it past day two.

Having a fully stocked bunker isn’t necessary to be a survivalist. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recommends having a basic Disaster Supplies kit ready, which includes items such as three days’ worth of bottled water and non-perishable food, a battery-powered radio, a flashlight and extra batteries, a first aid kit, a whistle, and warm clothing.

It appears that that prepping has become a way of life for many Texans. Fifty-seven percent of those surveyed said they now consider prepping to be a mainstream movement.

Given the extreme nature of Texas weather, the fallibility of the Texas grid and the “you’re on your own” attitude of Texas political leaders—prepping for an extreme event doesn’t appear to be an extreme perspective anymore and has become mainstream.

What are some simple things people can do to prepare for a disaster? What survival skills should people learn? What does the increased interest in survivalists tell us about the general anxiety so many feel about the future?


Diane Vukovic is with Primal Survivor and the author of the book Disaster Preparedness For Women: 52 Steps To Get Ready For Anything.

"The Source" is a live call-in program airing Mondays through Thursdays from 12-1 p.m. Leave a message before the program at (210) 615-8982. During the live show, call 833-877-8255, email thesource@tpr.org or tweet@TPRSource.

*This interview will be recorded on Tuesday, March 28.

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