The Business & Mindset Behind Prepping - WBAY

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The Business & Mindset Behind Prepping


Prepping for some Wisconsinites equals big business.

Others call it a hobby, others call it fun.

So why do they do it?

Click here for Part One: Inside the World of WI Preppers.

"The first time I was every evacuated, I was like wow I'm not prepared," Curt La Haise said, a Wisconsin prepper living just outside of Madison.

La Haise said he started prepping after working the L.A. riots as a police officer in California.

At the Madison Preppers Group he helped created, the roughly 40 preppers, each with their own reason for prepping, share tips with each other.

"Different ways to process food and package food," Harold Coltharp said, a Wisconsin prepper.

La Haise sells prepping products.

"That's my part-time business," he told the group. "I sell emergency preparedness supplies."

One part business, the other part bracing for what some believe is inevitable - a natural disaster, financial or government collapse.

"There's a great willingness to share information with one another, and share knowledge with one another, but no willingness to share resources," Ryan Martin said, chair of the psychology department at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay.

We asked La Haise if something happened, and one of his neighbors came knocking on his door, what would he do?

"That's a tough question," he said. "My main thing is myself and my family."

Lucy Arendt, who studies disaster response at UW-Green Bay, says one of the reasons people talk about prepping is "people feel like their control is slipping away.

"The world is chaotic and scary and when people feel like there's too much uncertainty to handle, they'll do whatever they can to try to exert control over what's happening in their lives," Arendt said. "That includes preparing for something that my in fact never happen."

Preppers sometimes call it their insurance policy.

"You feel a little better when those lights flicker when you have a giant blizzard," Andrew Stuckey said, a Wisconsin prepper.

Many quickly say no to a TV interview.

"Being on the news-type of deal," La Haise said, "It's kind of a double-edge sword."

Preppers know they're prepared.

They just don't want their neighbors knocking on their door.

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