Survivalist: Time to start preparing for next disaster, not the coronavirus

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CLAY COUNTY – As the coronavirus pandemic has prompted people to rush to stores to purchase years of toilet paper, a professional survivalist warns that there are better ways to prepare for a worst-case scenario.

Steven Claytor is a survival professional in North Florida that, after training for years under veteran survivalist instructor and star of Discovery Channel’s “Dual Survivor” Cody Lundin, teaches families from all over northeast Florida how best to prepare for a possible disaster. He said hindsight is 2020 in that families around the country should have already been prepared for the coronavirus now.

“It’s probably hindsight to say this but preparing now is pretty much too late,” Claytor said. “You’re not preparing now. You’re scrambling to survive.”

Claytor said the behaviors he’s seen during the COVID-19 pandemic are signs of what he calls a survival-mode scramble. Stores are already picked over, people are waiting on supplies, and nobody is getting everything they want, he said, and that’s because they waited until the actual situation to prepare. Claytor said people should already be prepared for a situation like this in an ideal world.

Companies like Amazon are still delivering goods en masse in the wake of stores running dry of essential goods and resources, but that could come to an end if the coronavirus gets worse so Claytor said people not prepared should do their best to gather essentials now.

“You don’t need years of toilet paper,” Claytor said. “You need things like powdered milk, powdered eggs, two to three weeks of water at a minimum, fuel, a month’s worth of medical supplies and cash.”

Being a survivalist, Claytor said he’s always prepared for disaster scenarios like a devastating hurricane, an EMP blast that takes out the country’s electronics or a pandemic. He said everyone should be prepared in this way.

“What you don’t want to be doing when things like this happen is having to worry about having all of the necessary things you need,” Claytor said. “You should slowly build a stock of things like medicine, fuel, water, food, and even toilet paper so that when situations like this occur, you’re not that person at the store buying a year’s worth of toilet paper and stopping the old woman down the street from getting what she needs to survive.”

Claytor said people often look over financial needs in situations like this.

“You need to be prepared financially at all times,” Claytor said. “Have money in your savings for essentials. It’s very wise to cut out now minimal things like Burger King for lunch or Starbucks coffee in the mornings. Put those few dollars in your savings every day and you’ll have a strong savings before you know it. We’re often taught about the non-perishable foods we need in situations like this and the evacuation routes we need to know, but financials don’t get talked about enough as it relates to disasters.”

Claytor recommended parents build a box of ready-to-go supplies so that if it comes time to go, everything is already prepared. He also recommended that parents buy board games, card games and new toys for children to store in the box.

“Your children are going to be extremely stressed, especially seeing you get stressed,” Claytor said. “Having a brand-new toy for them will give them comfort and give them something to be excited about. That goes a long way in taking their mind off of what’s going on which ultimately makes things easier for you.”

One of the biggest things Claytor stresses in his classes is the importance of a self-reliant system of food. He noted that people tend to eat more than they need to when bored and if an entire family is stuck at home in quarantine, their emergency supply of food will dwindle faster than expected.

He recommended that families start small gardens.

“Not only will you have your own fruits and vegetables, which will feed you and stop you from going out to grocery stores where you might come into contact with a virus, but you’ll have something to do,” Claytor said. “This gives you an occupation as home that can provide for the family and keep everyone busy.”

Claytor’s been doing this his entire life. He even has hogs on his farm.

“People make fun of doomsday preppers and trust us, we hope we don’t ever need this stuff,” Claytor said. “We hope they’re right and that we are just crazy, but we find that people always come to us in times like this.”

“Here’s what I tell people that I teach: I’m teaching you to be self-reliant and independent. I’m teaching you to be responsible in an emergency.”

His goal is to teach people how to be in a situation where during something like the coronavirus pandemic, they can lend a hand instead of being the person with a handout asking for something.

“I’m trying to strengthen the country by strengthening the individual,” he said.

Claytor is teaching all aspects of survival at his school in Ocala. Appointments for classes and disaster preparedness consultations can be made at www.northfloridasurvival.com, or you can reach out directly to Claytor at 352-502-5355.

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