Doomsday prepping in New York City

How do you prepare for the end of the world in the #1 global city, New York City?

These urban doomsday preppers look very different from the stereotype of the rural, gun-toting conservative depicted on shows such as “Doomsday Castle,” Anna Maria Bounds, a sociologist at Queens College, City University of New York, said on Monday (Aug. 18) here at the 109th annual American Sociological Association meeting…

Urban preppers usually don’t own guns, their political views are all over the map, and they are often people of color, Bounds said. Many have seen firsthand, in disasters such as Hurricane Katrina, how long it can take for local and federal government agencies to restore order, she said…

One simple step is to make sure the car (if you have one) is always filled with gas and that medical prescriptions are always filled. Urbanites should also look around their apartments and figure out what would work in different emergencies, Bounds said. For instance, is the stove gas or electric? What services would a power outage eliminate?

Another essential for a mass New York exodus is to have a “bug-out” bag ready. This bag is typically a backpack filled with several days’ worth of survival gear that weighs between 20 and 25 pounds (9 to 11 kg). Typical items in a bug-out bag include water filtration systems, food and water, face masks and goggles to protect against airborne hazards, compasses and duct tape. Preppers go on long treks during all seasons to make sure they can carry them for extended periods, Bounds said.

Urbanites should also plan their escape route, which includes knowing how to evacuate a tall apartment building when the power goes out, and how to get out on foot, Bounds said.

Let’s hope it doesn’t have to happen. But, it is a fascinating question: how would you quickly, orderly, and effectively evacuate a major city like New York City? Even planning things like turning both sides of federal Interstates outbound assumes that people own cars and/or there are enough vehicles to evacuate all the people that need to leave.

The irony here is that although New York City (and other major cities) are seen as the places to be because of jobs, culture, exciting neighborhoods, and other features, the preppers assume the last place you would want to be when complex societies break down is in those same cities.

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