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Preparing for disaster in the Miami Valley

By Mark Luedtke

Photo: Omega Survival Supply is the only dedicated survival supply store in the Dayton area

The term “prepper” conjures wildly varying visions for many people. For some, the TV image of oddballs locked in sheds clutching rifles come to mind. Others envision the old survivalist image of weekend warriors stalking through the woods, spitting tobacco. Matt Jones, owner of Omega Survival Supply at 300 Warren St. in Dayton, the only dedicated survival supply store in the city, says those impressions are incorrect.
“People have a rather inaccurate idea about ‘preppers,’ a term with a negative stigma,” Jones says. “Police officers, EMTs, veterans, as well as tradesmen, business people and doctors are all among our clientele in high frequency. The idea of a crazy uncle cradling his bourbon and shotgun in a dark basement is a figment of TV and the media. Your well-to-do neighbor is probably in the closet about their preparedness.”
Speaking of well-to-do, count millionaires and billionaires among preppers. Billionaires around the world are readying bunkers in preparation for predicted and unpredictable disasters. Billionaire Robert Vicino is preparing a billion dollar bunker for the ultra-rich in Germany. But Daytonians don’t have to be billionaires or mountain men to prepare for disaster. They can visit Jones.
“One of the best resources we provide for the community is information,” Jones says. “You can come here with any level of preparedness in mind, and we can talk for five minutes, or five hours, informing the client and working within their budget to achieve some level of comfort. There is no judgment here. It’s funny. I have to tell people they can ‘come out of the closet’ in the store about prepping and express their thoughts and theories on the economy, terrorism or solar weather. We don’t judge you. We understand, plus we have the equipment that can help you sleep a little better at night.”
You might think disaster won’t happen, that prepping wastes time and resources, but Jones’s customers have already experienced disaster on a small scale. “Some of our clients mention the 2008 windstorm (the remnants of Hurricane Ike), which left much of Montgomery County without power for two weeks or longer,” he notes. “This did not go well for many people, and it opened some eyes.”
Fortunately for the victims of that storm, power continued working for most people in the region, so victims had access to food and water. They could find shelter with relatives and friends or in hotels. But that won’t be the case if a disaster is more widespread.
“Should we have a large scale loss of power for more than a few days,” Jones says, “well, the experts at an Infragard conference sponsored by Dupont in December 2014 said in a report: BEDLAM. Delivery of goods breaks down, followed by social chaos and loss of control.”
In that case, store shelves are quickly cleared and taps run dry.
Jones compares prepping to camping or insurance, but emphasizes there’s no one-size-fits-all solution to prepping. And while every individual prepares for different disasters in different ways, a common concern for informed preppers is the collapse of the economy.
“The biggest concern is economic meltdown,” Jones notes. “It’s mathematically impossible at this point, due to interest payments, for the country to pay down our debt and become solvent. People don’t realize how delicate the world economy is right now. It’s a Jenga tower. Should another economic crisis occur, we can’t afford another quantitative easing. Literally, it will likely result in civil disturbances for a host of reasons.”
While prepping is going more mainstream, it’s not there yet, and Jones believes preppers tend to be drawn together because of it.
“There is definitely a kinship felt between people who prepare, a kinship deeper perhaps than is felt between people who like the same sports team or hobby,” he says. “As ‘preppers,’ we are used to being the butt of jokes, laughed off or otherwise mocked. It may make people feel uncomfortable because they know things can happen and they’re not doing anything about it. So when we do meet each other, it’s a happy day. Not only do we have plenty to talk about, but we feel it’s safe to talk about it.”
Maybe that’s one reason his business is growing.
Beyond stockpiling supplies, preppers also gain from networking. Tim Sanford founded the Miami Valley Preparedness (MVP) Network as a meet-up for preppers to build a community and teach basic survival skills.
Sanford explains, “We are doing nothing different than what our parents, grandparents and great grandparents have done their whole lives such as gardening, raising chickens, canning, sewing or just having backup power when the lights go out. The value of networking before an event is that you have already built a community that you trust and can count on to be there in an emergency situation. Fear or panic only comes when you don’t know what to expect or how you’re going to react to any given situation.”
Omega Survival Supply and the MVP Network are open to everybody, and Jones and Sanford invite everyone to stop by. Maybe you’ll run into your neighbor.

Omega Survival Supply is located at 300 Warren St. in Dayton. For more information, please call 937.212.5561 or visit

Reach DCP freelance writer Mark Luedtke at

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Reach DCP freelance writer Mark Luedtke at

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