Last night the National Geographic Channel, or NatGeo TV, aired a special episode of Doomsday Preppers, ′Escape from New York.′ Three preppers, all residents of New York City, were the focus of a midnight race to flee the city in the event of a disaster. Each had help from a survival expert. Margaret, Cameron and Jay, our three preppers, all come from different backgrounds and experiences which led them to become preppers. They each have their own separate fear of what may happen in the future. So let us see if they can escape NYC if compelled to?
We begin with Margaret, a former resident of New Orleans. She went through Hurricane Katrina and survived both hurricanes, Irene and Sandy, which hit NYC. Her prep-plan is to bug out in the event of a major storm on foot, walking hundreds of miles to the safety of the hills and mountains of upstate New York. Margaret has a trainer, Matan Gavish, formerly of the Israel Defense Force, who is teaching her self-defense and survival skills. Margaret is so worried that everyday, she takes her ′go-bag′ backpack with her everywhere. Gavish reviews the contents and sees that she is carrying too much junk.
An expert in Krav Maga, an Israeli martial art used by commandos, Matan teaches Margaret how to inflict deadly injuries with common items, including a lollipop stick! You gotta love this guy! Her escape route will take her through 14 miles of NYC streets, so Matan plans a few surprises along the way to test her skills.
Cameron is a young man, 23, who has lived all around the world. He fears a nuclear power plant meltdown should an earthquake damage the Indian Point Reactors. When originally built, nobody knew that the power plant was located above a geologic fault. Some people believe that a relatively minor quake, just 6.0, would be enough to damage the reactors. So Cameron is planning to flee by way of New Jersey. His trainer is Aton Edwards, a prepper with 25 years of survival experience. Aton also has issues with the load of Cameron′s ′go bag′ and aids him with tips as they begin a 13-mile escape drill.
Despite Cameron′s youth, he quickly become exhausted. Aton rides a bicycle while Cameron jogs alongside. One of Aton′s tests is to have Cameron steal a bicycle. This will give Aton some clues as to the ethics and morals of Cameron. Aton also puts Cameron through a mock attack by hooligans using Aton′s favorite defense method, bear repellant! Several times more nasty than pepper spray. Will he cut the mustard when it comes down to his own survival?
Our third contestant is Jay, a middle-aged stock broker with a family of three. Jay remembers 9/11 very well and believes that one day, there will be another terrorist attack on New York City, possibly involving a dirty, radiological bomb. Shane Hobel is the expert who is helping Jay with his preps and strategy. In the event of another attack, Jay will race on foot to a prearranged rendezvous point to rejoin his wife and 6-year old daughter before fleeing to their bug-out home in the Hamptons. This will be about a 12-mile trek through the city which jay hopes to make within 6 hours.
Again, we have issues with Jay′s ′go bag′ being too overloaded. Shane teaches Jay how to use as few items as needed to reach his objective. First is to determined the wind direction regularly to avoid any radioactive fallout. Later, Shane shows Jay how to make a simple but effective water filter using a bandana and some charcoal. Shane also demonstrates to Jay how to use some local plants as antiseptic for treating wounds.
All three preppers are way behind in their escapes. Margaret gets a simulated attack while crossing Central Park. She eventually makes it to the George Washington Bridge but is more than two hours late. In a real hurricane, such as Sandy, the bridge would have been closed by the time Margaret reached it. Cameron is also way behind and tired. He reaches his destination where his last move is to cross the river into New Jersey using an inflatable kayak. Jay is also late but does rejoin his family. They speed away in their SUV, which carries most of their prep gear as well as bicycles for a back-up mode of transportation.
So the lessons learned in this special episode of Doomsday Preppers – Escape from New York is that time and speed are important. Carrying too much gear and having a poor plan to bug out will lead to failure. Had all three begun their treks using bicycles, they would have been much faster and less exhausted. National Geographic Channel did us all a service with this episode, especially given the timeliness after Hurricane Sandy. The next new episode to be aired on NatGeo TV will be another special on January 1st, Doomsday Preppers – Supersized Strongholds, where we see two families building their own doomsday castles. I wonder if they are building them in the Ozarks?