NORTH TEXAS (CBS11) – Hollywood and television have portrayed doomsday preppers many times before.
Usually they’re depicted as survivors of post-apocalyptic events where little life is left, but according to those in the community, real life preppers have nothing to do with fiction and everything to do with perceived threats.
They say their numbers are spiking quickly because of recent uncertainty over safety and perceived threats.
Benjamin Gilmore of Fort Worth is a self-proclaimed prepper, and runs a social media group dedicated to prepping and helping new preppers embrace the lifestyle.
He says the growing numbers of people embracing the prepper lifestyle are “average Joes” worried about fending for themselves.
Gilmore defined preppers as “people who try very hard to prepare for disasters as they come.”
Dallas psychiatrist Dr. David Henderson is the founder and president of Dallas Four Stones Collaborative Group and says things like mass shootings, recent natural disasters and the threat of nuclear war are all are causing some people to live with anxiety and begin to “prep.”
“Why is this happening why is this getting more prevalent? Why are we witnessing more of these disasters both man-made and natural, and it’s a very scary thing,” said Dr. Henderson.
Gilmore said for those beginning to think and act like a prepper, becoming one can be very basic and inexpensive.
He said doing things like stocking up on food, fuel, guns, ammunition and keeping basic medical and first aid kits around is a good way to start.
While some new preppers may opt for keeping things simple and relatively inexpensive, one company in Sulphur Springs is seeing big business when it comes to building and assembling made-to-order bunkers or emergency fallout shelters.
Atlas Shelters administrators say they have been receiving “nonstop orders” since late summer for a wide variety of their bunkers.
Atlas operations manager Brian Fowler said, “Honestly North Korea has scared the (expletive) out of everybody plain and simple.”
The company reports selling 40 shelters just three years ago, but in 2017, with the addition of new models and prices that begin around $19,000, they’re on track to sell a thousand shelters.
When asked about those who criticize preppers as being paranoid and overly worried, Fowler said, “That is someone that doesn’t understand what is going on nor have they checked into what is being said or what these people think.”
If you’re interested in learning more about preparing for emergencies the Department of Homeland Security has set up a website with some starter tips.