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National Geographic's 'Doomsday Preppers' features emergency preparedness at its extreme.

By Mark Rappleye

For the Deseret News

Published: Monday, Feb. 6 2012 7:38 p.m. MST

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The National Geographic Channel takes a close look at the extremes of emergency preparedness with its newest series, "Doomsday Preppers," which premieres tonight.

Those who think their parents' food storage was getting out of hand have not seen anything compared to what some have put away for "doomsday."

During each episode, "Doomsday Preppers" will go into the lives of ordinary men and women who have taken measures — sometimes extreme — to protect themselves in case of disaster.

The show begins by introducing viewers to one of the week's featured preppers.

These individuals are regular citizens, usually with regular jobs and living among the regular populace. Then viewers are shown the steps that these preppers have taken to prepare themselves against the disaster which they think is most likely to occur, whether it be a natural disaster or man-made catastrophe, such as economic collapse.

Tonight's premiere will feature a retired couple who have built a home out of nine 40-foot steel shipping containers assembled for maximum durability and protection. This couple, through preparing and canning five extra meals per day, has also stored enough food to feed 22 people for 15 years. Their home is also equipped with alternative fuel and energy sources that can sustain them should they be cut of from city power and fuel sources.

On top of all of this, they have also prepared an evacuation plan with specialized vehicles in case they need to "bug out."

This episode will also feature a man living in Los Angeles who runs several farmers markets and teaches, but who has also prepared himself for a massive earthquake by learning to live under the radar on the streets of Hollywood, foraging for food, even if it means eating weeds, and carrying all that he believes he will need in a pack on his back.

Viewers will also meet a young woman living Houston as a Web developer and party girl. She is convinced that an oil crisis will occur during her lifetime that will result in such items as food and gasoline becoming totally inaccessible.

She has prepped by stocking up on as much food, water and other items that her small apartment will hold, including guns and "lots of bullets." She has also kept herself physically fit, working out four hours a day, and has prepared an evacuation plan through the urban streets.

Each prepper is given a score from the experts, a group called Practical Preppers, that let them know how well their efforts will actually prepare them for disaster. At the end of the episode, National Geographic gives an estimate of how likely each disaster is to occur. The results might be surprising.

Whether these preppers have taken necessary and reasonable precautions or have gone way overboard for something that isn't likely to happen will be up to each viewer to decide.

"Doomsday Preppers" premieres at 7 p.m.

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