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  • Lavish Bunkers and Laser Eye Surgery: Even Millionaires are Preparing for the Worst

    Bunkers that cost more than $100 million and have amenities like a bowling alley, movie theater, a pizzeria, or a swimming pool. Secret doors that can only be opened by playing a certain set of notes on a keyboard, a la “Goonies,” or by dialing a certain phone number. Executives who use “buying property in New Zealand” as a code for an apocalypse shelter.

    Hollywood Shelter - Illustration by Mario Wagner via Hollywood Reporter Lavish Bunker Nice and normal up top, secret and lavish down below - Illustration by Mario Wagner via Hollywood Reporter

    Many of the most wealthy people in the U.S. – one tech executive estimated as many as half of Silicon Valley billionaires, for example – are investing in lavish doomsday prepping.

    Companies are catering to them, offering bomb-proof, climate change-proof bunkers with air and water filters, underground greenhouses, off the grid power and water systems and armed guards. Oh, and interior designers to make sure they’ve got the best -looking shelters, with all the amenities.

    It’s not just shelters, either. Some are getting laser eye surgery, buying firearms and taking survival training

    “It's really just the newest form of insurance,” Robert Vicino, founder of a company that builds communities of bunkers in Indiana, told The Hollywood Reporter.

    Most of us will never have access to these kinds of resources. (One bunker community costs $5 million per “chamber,” and residence is by invitation only.)  However, we may apply many of their principles of preparation.

    Steve Huffman, the thirty-three-year-old co-founder and C.E.O. of Reddit, spoke in-depth to The New Yorker about his preparations. He told the magazine if disaster hit, he would look for a community.

    Knowing neighbors and friends is not only sociable but also valuable if there’s a disaster, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Its “Listen, Protect, and Connect” brochure offers ways to prepare so you can help those around you during a disaster.

    Even if you can’t afford a bunker or secret room, you should have a safe place for your most important personal information and an emergency fund.

    Larry Hall, the C.E.O. of the Survival Condo Project, told The New Yorker that two technology companies wanted him to design “a secure facility for their data center and a safe haven for their key personnel.” The same story said wealthy individuals are also buying Bitcoin and gold coins.

    And Steve Humble, president of Arizona-based Creative Home Engineering told The Hollywood Reporter, “There are a lot of Oscars and Emmys tucked away safely behind my secret doors."

    “If there’s a natural disaster like a fire, do you know where your birth certificates are?” asked Ann House, coordinator of the Personal Money Management Center at the University of Utah.

    The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s “Emergency Financial First Aid Kit” is a great organizational resource, she said.

    The 44-page booklet includes four sections that identify what information to collect, like social security cards, insurance policies, prescriptions and emergency contact information.

    She also recommends keeping a few hundred dollars in small bills with an emergency kit. That way, if you need to buy water, you don’t have to find an ATM or pay $50.

    Medical preparation is necessary too.

    Yishan Wong ,the C.E.O. of Reddit from 2012 to 2014, had laser eye surgery. He told The New Yorker it was to do away with his dependence on a “nonsustainable external aid for perfect vision.”

    Everyone else can keep glasses and copies of prescriptions with emergency supplies or important documents. If your insurance will let you, get a few days’ worth of medication.

    Trident Lakes - via Business Insider Lavish Bunker Trident Lakes - via Business Insider

    At Trident Lakes, a planned luxury condominium development that includes in its amenities fortified shelters, the cost of a condo could be above the mid-six figures, according to a story in Business Insider. However, the community will offer discount rates for police, teachers and other civil servants.

    Learning useful skills can help anyone prepare for disasters, both natural and events like job loss.

    “Learn new skills that could be turned into a small job such as a piano teacher,” Kayleen Chen, a peer mentor at the University of Utah’s Personal Money Management Center, wrote in an e-mail.

    Preparedness is also about ability to evacuate quickly. One Percenters can do that in style.

    In a piece for GQ,  author Michael McGrath described how Goop’s 2016 “Ridiculous, But Awesome Gift Guide” included the Jetpack Bag, an “all-in-one, 72-hour survival pack,” for $399.

    For the rest of us, this FEMA brochure is more apropos.

    And there is another commonality between these super-wealthy preppers and the rest of us: Everyone’s eating canned food.

    Or, as The Hollywood Reporter put it, “The rations are grim, ranging from beef Stroganoff to chili.”


    Disaster_Blog_Banner Lavish Bunker

  • Liberals are Preparing for the Trumpocalypse (What are You Preparing for?)


    Throughout the years, plenty of Americans have always worked hard to be prepared for whatever emergency may arise. As time went on, more people joined in the prepping fun. Many of these people prepared out of fear for the future under their current political leaders. Others prepared because they didn’t know what the future held, and just wanted to be prepared for anything, including political, natural, and other disasters.

    In fact, it was estimated that at one time “there were 3 million preppers in the United States,” according to an article on The Economic Collapse. Now, however, that number has fallen to an all-time low. Speculation as to why this is ranges from a lack of catastrophic natural disasters to the election of Donald Trump as president of the United States. Many people feel good about the future, finding safety in the man they elected.

    Others, however, don’t feel the same.

    While Donald Trump has eased the fears of many, countless others believe the same man will bring economic and other hardships upon them (aka the Trumpocalypse). With these thoughts in mind, more and more U.S. Liberals are preparing with food, water, gear, and guns. In the last eight years, those aligned more towards the right were the in the majority when it came to prepping. Now, many left-wingers are joining the prepping fun, while the right-winged preppers are dwindling in number.

    Trumpocalypse Many disasters happen so unexpectedly that if you're not ready prepared, the time has already passed.

    Is it good that more people are preparing? Of course! Is it also good that many are no longer afraid for the future? Indeed it is. However, to sacrifice preparedness simply because of a more stable future is folly. Whether Donald Trump will make the economy better or not is still yet to be seen. So it is with natural disasters. Nobody knows when the next hurricane, earthquake, or tornado will come through. Water mains might break and power may go out for an extended amount of time. Donald trump has no control over such things. But you have control over how you will live when those events happen.

    There are fears amid liberals, among others, that Donald Trump has mobilized hate crimes and other deplorable activities. According to the BBC, this is why many supporters of Hillary Clinton are buying firearms and taking to the gun range. Personal safety is a concern, and one of the ways to feel safer is to become proficient with guns and be prepared for an uncertain future.

    In the past, the majority of those preparing with food storage, water, and gear have been those associated with the right-wing. Now, however, preppers on the left are increasing in number. Regardless of your political viewpoint, the value of preparedness is the same. The effects of what happens tomorrow and in the near and distant future can be mitigated by the way you prepare today.

    Natural disasters are all too common to ignore. Financial crises can come without warning. Job loss, accident, and other personal emergencies are unpredictable. But when you’re prepared for anything, the negative aspects of those emergencies and disasters can be lessened, and your life can continue on just as seamlessly as before the disaster happened.

    In the end, it doesn't matter if you prepare for a Trump administration, natural disasters, or even zombies. The fact is, being prepared for one event will prepare you for another.


    Disaster_Blog_Banner Trumpocalypse

  • Is Prepping on the Decline?

    Stock Market statistics Decline

    There was a time when being prepared for emergencies was a national past time. The Great Depression all but forced people to live within (and less than) their means, and save everything they could. Following the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, even more people saw the benefits of preparing and began building up supplies. Then there was the stock market crash of 2008, forcing countless Americans to live off what they had. Some had stored up enough with which to subsist until a new job or other means could be found. Many others struggled.

    Then the world was supposed to end in 2012 as predicted by the Mayans. Before the predicted date arrived, more and more people began stockpiling food, water, and gear…just in case. The world still stands, but that didn’t stop countless others from investing even more in emergency prep in the months before the 2015 blood moon tetrad.

    Preppers kept on prepping since then. That is, right up until election day. According to some sources, prepping is on a decline as people let their guard down with Donald Trump about to become president. They trust him to boost the economy, to produce jobs, and make everything awesome. Whether that will happen or not has yet to be seen (fingers crossed). But even if he does make everything awesome, that doesn’t mean we’re done prepping.

    Natural disasters don’t really care how good our economy is. Massive earthquakes, super tornadoes, category 5 hurricanes, and the biggest, baddest snowstorms can be debilitating. Even smaller disasters can leave you without power, water, and other comforts for an extended period of time.

    Family Dinner Decline

    Stocking up for the unexpected is more than just preparing for the stock market to crash (although also important). True, the Dow Jones has never been higher, and the market is looking good. So money might not be as big an issue as it has been in the past. But what about water storage, just in case your water get shut off? Broken water mains and other issues can do that without warning. Will your food storage be enough to see you through a hurricane if you can’t make it to the store? Or what about a way to warm yourself (and your family) when your power goes out during a blizzard? Or will you have sufficient food in your storage to get you by following a job loss until you can get yourself back on your feet? The list goes on.

    There are so many reasons why being prepared is a good idea. Don’t leave your safety and well-being up to fate. Just like any good ship, make sure you have a life boat. Nobody goes out expecting their ship to sink (Titanic, anyone?), but if your good fortunes do spring a leak, make your you have a lifeboat handy.


    Disaster_Blog_Banner Decline

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