Where will you be when the next big one hits… at work, at home, at school? Experts say California's next big earthquake will hit within the next 30 years.
Most people know to drop and cover when it does hit but what about after the shaking stops? What happens if power is out for days or even weeks? Would you be prepared?
There are a growing number of people who call themselves “preppers,” which is basically people who are prepared for a disaster.
Some may call them crazy but they say it’s crazy to not be ready.
Consider the devastation following the tsunami in Japan earlier this year, or maybe the city of New Orleans, still recovering six years after hurricane Katrina, or closer to home, the Northridge earthquake in 1994, which killed more than 60 people and caused $15 billion in damage.
All across the world, disaster strikes without notice, leaving destruction in its wake.
Nobody wants it to happen, but some are prepared for it.
Jim Long is a self proclaimed prepper and the owner of GI Jim's Military Supply in Prather. He's a firm believer in preparing for the worst. “It's like buying insurance; you buy insurance hoping NOT to use it. That's what these people are doing. They're hoping that this does not happen, but they're prepared for it anyway,” said Jim.
GI Jim's is a place where you can find anything and everything related to prepping. For somebody just getting started, walking into GI Jims might be a little overwhelming, but in reality it can be quite simple with something like a “bugout pack” that will keep you going for 48 hours. “You can survive exclusively just on that bag,” said Laurie Robinson, who teaches prepping classes for beginners in Fresno.
Laurie began prepping many years ago. “We were down in LA for the LA riots and it changed our life. We actually had to hike out of the LA Riots area and park the car because it just wasn't safe to drive it in the neighborhood any longer and it was safer to go on foot to get ourselves out of that situation,” said Laurie.
So what goes into a bugout bag? “Things that you will need if your car breaks down. We start with the real simple. You're car has broken down and you have to get to a telephone. What are you going to need? You're going to need a flashlight. You're going to need warm clothes. You're going to need shoes, so make sure you have socks, shoes, a jacket and a flashlight,” said Laurie.
You also need enough food to keep you going for a few days. Dehydrated food works best because it lasts for a very long time.
Laurie has taken the bugout bag to another level inside her truck. “In here is anything and everything I could possibly need for any occasion. We have dehydrated food as well as canned food and energy bars,” said Laurie.
Laurie says there is about $300 worth of food in her truck. She understands someone might not have the ability to go out and spend that amount of money. “You buy them a little bit at a time. You start with the basics and then you add and subtract,” said Laurie.
Back out at GI Jim's, he talks about the next big step, which is storing up a supply of food inside your home. He explains it doesn't have to be expensive and can be something as simple as beans and rice. “Pinto beans and rice have been a basis for many, many societies. The Hispanic American society has used pinto beans for years as a basis for their diet and it's healthy -- full of protein,” said Jim.
While preppers are constantly readying themselves for disasters that could strike at any time, Jim says these hard economic times are also a reason to start prepping. “I was unemployed for almost two years and I wound up retraining into another industry. If it hadn't been for my food storage, which we went through about 35% of, I would have lost my home because I had no money. It was either make the house payment or feed my family,” said Jim.
But GI Jim has taken prepping to a whole new level. He doesn't just have his bugout bag, he has a bugout truck, a 1967 M109 A3 shop truck that he bought at an auction. “I took it and kind of converted it into a solar powered motor home,” said Jim.
If disaster strikes and he needs to hit the road he's ready with enough food for about 60 days without hunting.
So what if the next big earthquake hit tomorrow? Would you be prepared?
Zane and Fallon Hansen live in Clovis with their three little boys. They agreed to our challenge to go 24 hours without power. They wanted to see if they would be prepared in the case of a disaster.
They turned off power and 24 hours later they realized they have some more preparing to do. “I think that we need to be better prepared because for example, we knew we wouldn't have electricity. We thought we had all four flashlights, but guess what? We couldn't find them when we needed them,” said Fallon.
The Hansen’s had some fun during their night in the dark but in the end, they knew what they needed to work on and had a message for other families. “Prepare! Just absolutely be prepared because at the end of the day, you're family is what's most important. These kids are everything so you want to make sure they're taken care of.”
Some people think prepping is crazy but Jim and Laurie disagree.
Laurie said, “For me, prepping's not crazy -- prepping is common sense. You have a responsibility to the people in your family to take care of them no matter what happens.”
Jim said, “The hurricane Katrina was a perfect example. You saw the violence and the looting and everything that went on there, and it has nothing to do with a skin color. It has nothing to do with an ethnic background. It has to do with people being unprepared.”