The National Geographic Channel has launched a new program, "Doomsday Preppers" (National Geographic Channel, Tuesdays at 9pm ET/PT) that places four to six families per episode in a theoretical, apocalyptic setting and chronicles how they respond under doomsday pressure.
As part of the show, Nat Geo enlisted Scott Hunt and his partner David Kobler, who run the Practical Preppers, a disaster preparedness business. Hunt evaluated how well the show's contestants have prepared for their doomsday scenario and gives them advice on how to be better prepared to subsist on their own.
"Most people rely on [calling] 911," Hunt said in an interview with Yahoo! News. "Most people don't have a plan. If there's social chaos, you won't be able to count on someone providing goods and services."
From zombie outbreaks to Mayan prophecies, Americans have a seemingly limitless interest in how and when civilization might end. What they appear to spend far less time on, is thinking and preparing for such an event.
"The biggest mistake people made on the show is going alone," Hunt said. "You have to sleep. You're making yourself vulnerable where one bad person could easily take you out."
More than 800 people attended a recent prepping conference hosted by Hunt in Columbia, South Carolina.
So, where would be the safest place in the world to bunker down in an extinction level event? Would you want to be near an ocean or major river? Or, maybe in the mountains, far away from population centers? Hunt says there's no one good answer to prevent against unforeseen disastrous events.
"People can't move easily in a disaster and we've found most people don't have the financial resources or desire to pick up and move before a disaster," Hunt said.
Hunt has prepared a Top 10 list of essential items anyone should have in order to survive for at least a few days in case of disaster. But he says the most important survival element isn't food or water.
"The most important asset is a community network," Hunt said. "If you live in a major population center like Los Angeles, you're going to want to tap into the community for knowledge and resources."
"We're trying to restore a back-to-community mentality," Hunt said.
Beyond food, water and shelter, Hunt said the most desirable non-essential item in anyone's survival shelter is electricity. Having access to a small manual generator or some form of solar power won't run an entire house, "but can help power some lights, some critical piece of medical technology, or maybe even a washing machine," Hunt said.
But what if the world doesn't end? "Preparedness is a lifestyle," he says. And he encourages people to possess the basic survival skills he says were commonplace only 50 or 60 years ago.
In his spare time, Hunt is pursuing one of his long-term projects. "I'm trying to get a truck to run on wood," he said with a laugh.
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