Ready for a natural disaster? Here’s why 2.8M WA residents are prepared for an emergency

With the world changing rapidly around us, many Americans are bracing for the next global crisis as self-described survivalists, according to a recent survey. Survivalist website Primal Survivor says that based on responses to their survey, there are likely millions of Americans bracing for the next national or world-wide emergency.

In Washington state, nearly half of the population is preparing, according to responses.

Primal Survivor commissioned an online panel and collected responses from 3,000 adults based on age, gender and geography. According to the survey results, 47% of residents in Washington state consider themselves survivalists, over 2.8 million Washingtonians. This is less than the report’s national average at 57%.

The state with the highest proportion of survivalists is Hawaii, at 80% of its total population. At the very end of the list is Rhode Island with 17%.

A survivalist, also known as a “prepper,” is someone who prepares for emergencies like widespread disaster where access to necessities like food, water and shelter is limited, according to Primal Survivor’s report. These individuals load up on resources like water and medical supplies and hone skills such as hunting, fishing, gardening and self-defense to bolster their chances for survival.

On average, survey-takers said they could last up to a week without help from local authorities if power were to go out.

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Notable WA preppers

Perhaps one of the most well-known examples of a survivalist in Washington state, is Mick Dodge, who has lived off the grid from modern society as a nomad for more than 30 years. For decades, he has tread the North Olympic Peninsula’s Hoh Rain Forest barefoot, living a self-sufficient lifestyle. From 2014-2015, Dodge appeared in a National Geographic program that chronicled his life, “The Legend of Mick Dodge.”

It’s difficult to state with certainty Dodge’s current condition and whereabouts. The 71-year-old doesn’t live with technology that grants him immediate communication to the outside world. However, an Instagram user posted a photo of himself with Dodge in October 2019.

Other survivalists live in less remote areas and are more reliant on technology, like a Seattle-based YouTuber known only by his first name, Cliff. His channel, TheUrbanPrepper, is more focused on urban doomsday prepping. The channel description states that it aims to educate viewers on how to respond in emergency survival situations like floods or power-grid outage and items to stock in various emergency prep kits.

Disaster supply kit equipment

To be ready for an emergency event, the Federal Emergency Management Agency recommends building a basic disaster supply kit. This should include:

  • A gallon of water per person a day for at least three days

  • Three-day supply of nonperishable food

  • First-aid kit

  • Warm clothing

  • Battery-powered radio

  • Flashlight

  • Extra batteries

  • Sanitation supplies such as moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties

  • Maps of local areas

  • Cell phone

Washington state’s Emergency Management Division also has some help online for individuals post-disaster, with advice and resources for recovery.

What survivalists are preparing for

Survey results indicate that current world events have prompted survivalists to equip themselves for survival. Survivalists say they are preparing for these reasons:

  • Extreme natural weather: 54% of respondents say this is their main reason for preparing

  • News of Chinese spy balloons: 34% of respondents cite this as a reason

  • Economic uncertainty: 16% of respondents cite this as a reason

  • International conflict: 14% of respondents cite this as a reason

  • Another pandemic: 13% of respondents cite this as a reason

  • Domestic political uncertainty: 3% of respondents cite this as a reason