- Demand for survival gear is spiking in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak and other global emergencies.
- A growing number of consumers in the US are shelling out thousands of dollars on gas masks, hazmat suits, and even underground bunkers.
- Here are some of the things people are spending their money on to prepare for doomsday scenarios.
- View more episodes of Business Insider Weekly on Facebook.
This story is based on an episode of Business Insider Weekly. Watch the full episode here.
Demand for survival gear is surging following the spread of the coronavirus and other global developments.
In the United States, a growing number of consumers are buying gas masks, hazmat suits, and even $US20,000 underground bunkers to prepare for doomsday scenarios.
And for the companies that cater to survivalists, 2020 has been a record year so far. In January alone, three main events have fuelled the demand for gear: the outbreak of the coronavirus, a rash of devastating bushfires in Australia, and the US government’s assassination of Iranian military leader Qasem Soleimani.
Roman Zrazhevskiy, founder of the survival gear company Mira Safety, said January sales for his company’s hazmat suits, respirators, surpassed his entire year’s worth of sales from 2019.
“We completely sold out of all the products we had,” he told Business Insider Today.
Read on to see some of the survival gear consumers are buying in increasing numbers as some Americans brace themselves for the worst.
This is a hazmat suit is sold by the Texas company Mira Safety.
They’re one of the best-selling items the company offers. And last year, it began making them in children’s sizes.
The protective suits are carefully made in a factory in Guntersville, Alabama.
Before they go to market, they’re tested for leaks to be sure it can keep out viruses, radioactive particles, and toxic substances.
Gas masks are another popular item for doomsday preppers.
They come in children’s sizes, too.
“This is a powered device which makes it much easier for people to breathe, which puts them at ease,” Zrazhevskiy said. “And that’s the most important thing. It’s to keep them calm when there’s an emergency.”
Then there are the bunkers. Customers shell out thousands of dollars to install underground bunkers where they can live in the event of a nuclear disaster or other emergency.
Atlas Survival Shelters, a company from Sulphur Springs, Texas, has been making bunkers that can cost up to $US1 million dollars since 2011.
In 2018, the company began selling more affordable bunkers that can cost less than $US20,000.
Ron Hubbard, president of the company, makes sure to highlight other potential uses for the bunkers — like as wine cellars or gun rooms — in case doomsday never comes.
This is Jason Charles, a former New York City firefighter who has turned his survivalist instincts into a lifestyle.
Charles runs the New York City Prepper’s Network, hosting monthly gatherings and organising field trips to teach survival skills.
Entrepreneurs like these admit that if global disasters subside, their businesses will suffer. But they don’t think that will happen any time soon.
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