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"Doomsday Preppers" returns on National Geographic Channel with Utah family

By Mark Rappleye

For the Deseret News

Published: Monday, Nov. 12 2012 6:11 p.m. MST

The Southwick family from West Jordan, Utah, prepping for a smallpox epidemic. (Left to right, front row): Rylee, Jayden and Taja. (Left to right, back row): Braxton Sr., Kara, Braxton Jr., Treston and Colton. Each family member has his or her own role to play.

NGC, National Geographic Channels/Ste

Who would believe that the National Geographic Channel could have a hit show? Well, nothing is bigger than doomsday and NGC is once again featuring those American citizens who are preparing for the worst.

NGC’s No. 1 series, “Doomsday Preppers,” will return for its second season with back-to-back episodes Tuesday, Nov. 13, starting at 7 p.m.

Each episode of “Doomsday Preppers” features three different, seemingly ordinary Americans who have decided that they need to be prepared for when catastrophic events bring the country and civilization to their knees. These “preppers” lead normal lives, going to work, going to school, raising families, having hobbies, but also have taken, in many cases, an extreme approach to preparing for disaster.

Each prepper featured on the show has selected a major disaster that he feels is most likely to occur and has taken steps to prepare himself and his family for such an event. From terrorist attacks to F-5 tornadoes and from earthquakes to economic collapse, each situation presents unique challenges for preparation.

Tuesday’s episodes will feature preppers who have done everything from collecting gas masks and weapons to buying and building elaborate underground bunkers to running elaborate attack scenarios and teaching their children how to shoot, how to hunt and how to eat rattlesnakes for survival. And while these individuals might seem a little crazy to some, they see their preparation as perfectly reasonable and, in many cases, like a wise investment.

One family featured on Tuesday is the Southwicks from West Jordan, Utah. The father, Braxton Southwick Sr., has decided his family needs to be ready for a smallpox epidemic resulting from a terrorist attack. For their plan, he, his wife, and their six children each have their own role to play in preparing for such a disaster. During the episode, the Southwick family runs a “bug-out” simulation in which they have to pack up all their preparations and head out of town before the military arrives to quarantine them. And Braxton Sr. has a surprise planned along the way for his less-than-enthusiastic family.

After showing their preparations, each prepper is given a score out of 100 by NGC experts to rate their preparations and advise them how to improve. The Southwicks receive a score of 71, which is quite good compared to the other preppers featured on the show.

Perhaps the most interesting part of the episode, however, is when NGC’s experts also explain to viewers the likelihood for each disaster to occur. The results may be surprising.

“Doomsday Preppers” is a fun show for anyone wanting to see the extremes that some ordinary people will go through to prepare for the end of the world. And whatever his situation, and however crazy the preppers may appear to viewers, no one can go through an episode of the show without rechecking their own food storage and wondering, “Am I prepared?”

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