‘New word for old ways’: More North Carolinians identifying as ‘preppers’

CHARLOTTE — Survivalists in the Carolinas are preparing for the worst, whether it’s a natural disaster or a large-scale power grid failure, and there’s a growing number of people looking to have a backup plan.

A recent study found that millions of Americans identify themselves as preppers. Here in North Carolina, nearly ten thousand people are in a Facebook group about prepping.

That includes people like Angie Huss, who showed Channel 9′s Dave Faherty some of the supplies she has at her home in the foothills.

“[I] try to keep a stock of good variety,” Huss said.

She has several freezers on the property, along with generators if the power goes out. She has medical supplies, a reliable water source, and she raises chickens for the eggs and meat.

Huss believes she and her husband could survive for two to three years.

“We could face just about anything. We have alternate sources of heat here, we grow our own food, we have the power the weather those storms,” Huss said.

There are stores in North Carolina that cater to those who want to survive disasters, whether in the wilderness or at their homes.

“One of the biggest things we have is freeze-dried food,” said Johnny Odom, the owner of Prep N Ready.

Johnny and Melinda Odom run the store in Hildebran. Some of the containers of freeze-dried food that they sell have enough food for three months, and they can be stored for years.

“We even have pizza buckets,” Odom said.

Prep N Ready is stocked with survival gear for homes, but it also has other items small enough for camping or to keep in your car, like thermal blankets.

“You’ve seen on the news and stuff, a snow blizzard hit and a whole bunch of cars lined up on the interstate can’t go anywhere because they’re all snowed in,” Odom said.

Not everyone who preps is comfortable revealing who they are or where they live. One man agreed to speak with Faherty if we kept his identity and location hidden, but he said he has enough supplies for ten people to last two years.

“The world has gone to trash. I really think rougher days even rougher than the Great Depression are fixing to come upon us. So I have to be ready for my family,” he told Faherty.

A recent survey found that Americans spend billions of dollars on prepping. The Federal Emergency Management Agency encourages people to have their own food, water, and other supplies in an emergency to last 72 hours.

Dawn London Page is prepared to survive much longer than that at her home in Burke County.

She told Faherty she learned her prepping skills at an early age. She has gardens and medical supplies, and she knows how to make her own soap and detergent. She says she’s got enough supplies to last a year.

“Prepping is a new word for old ways. We’ve always been prepared to feed our families and to reach into the cabinet and get what we need,” Page said.

(WATCH: What is being done to prevent power grid attacks?)