PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – “Preppers” are people who prepare for natural disasters or catastrophe.

Some are even prepared for terrorist attacks, or the fall of society.

“This mini water filter here – this tube goes in here.”

Erik Lowry was showing KDKA’s David Highfield.

“And then we have ammo.”

What’s in his “bug out bag.”

“Like a surgical kit scalpels,” Lowry said.

It’s filled with items.

“You eat one of these bars every four hours,” Lowry describes – to help him survive for 72 hours during a disaster.

He became a “prepper” after being stuck on a train in New York City during a massive blackout in 2003.

“Lights went out and I was just stuck there for hours and hours and hours and it got scary because everyone started to panic,” Lowry said.

So how many preppers are there really in our area? Well the republican candidate for mayor in the city of Pittsburgh is one.

“I am preparing for a series of catastrophic terrorist attacks,” Josh Wander said.

Wander was featured on a TV show called “Doomsday Preppers,” but says he’s not really preparing for doomsday.

“Then we’re going to go and treat the wounded,” Wander says in footage from the TV show.

He does, though, want to be prepared for other situations.

“There are times and we’ve seen it in recent history even that you can pick up the phone and during a natural disaster or manmade disaster, call 911 and there will not be anyone on the other line or they won’t be able to assist you,” Wander said.

There are more than 150 members on a Pittsburgh preppers meet-up group online.

Lawrence Borland is the co-coordinator, but says the group has never met.

“There’s a big spectrum,” Borland said. “I think there’s a lot of people who just want to prepare food – and there may be some people who want to go in the woods and see if they can survive.”

To him, prepping is more about canning vegetables, firewood and having a generator.

But for some, something else is essential – a gun.

“This is one of the most sought-after high capacity shotguns on the market,” Lowry said.

Lowry actually owns Pittsburgh Tactical Firearms and sells both guns and “bug out” bags.

“A good prepper is prepared for everything,” he says.

Rep. Mayoral Candidate Talks Politics, Refutes “Doomsday Prepper” Label
More Local News
More Police News

Watch & Listen LIVE