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    In the Press

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    The next big development in prepping will be the arrival of entrepreneurial capitalists, and this made me think of Fabian Illanes and Roman Zrazhevskiy, two men in their 20s I met at the show-and-tell. Former classmates at George H. Hewlett High School on Long Island, Mr. Illanes and Mr. Zrazhevskiy have been prepping since their teens and recently created, a Prepper Web site that sells prepacked bug-out bags with paramilitary names like the Tactical Traveler ($439.99) and the Covert Defender ($629.99)

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    And people are listening. In the past week, preppers-turned-entrepreneurs Fabian Illanes and Roman Zrazhevskiy say they have seen sales of gas masks and their harrowing-sounding NBC (Nuclear Biological Chemical) survival systems skyrocket. “Tripled is probably an understatement,” Illanes says. Their company, Ready to Go Survival, sells prepacked survival, or “bug out,” bags and kits. As fears of Ebola grow, they’ve been filling $1,000 orders of gas masks for whole families.

    Illanes, who recently moved to Texas from New York, says he imagines a time when Manhattan might shut down all access into and out of the city. “If I’m in a car with my family and each of us has gloves, masks, and bodysuits, and there’s a regular family in a car next to us—who do you think the people controlling borders are going to feel more comfortable letting through?” he asks.

    In response to the calls they’ve been receiving, they’re putting together a “pandemic kit” that will provide quick full-body protection and will go on sale late next week.

    “It’s better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it,” Zrazhevskiy asserts.

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    Fabian Illanes, and his high school camping buddy, Roman Zrazhevskiy, founded They’ve sold a thousand of their survival kit’s which include first aid supplies, ready to eat meals, and clean water. Their goal, they say, is to have one in every home.

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    For prepper Roman Zrazhevskiy, motivation for self-reliance starts with realizing “the government system is not too big to fail, and people must be their own first responders in the event that it does.”

    Zrazhevskiy and his former Long Island classmate, Fabian Illanes, founded Ready to Go Survival—a website selling comprehensive, ready-to-use emergency survival systems. The two men, both in their 20s, test all their products in close consultation with EMTs, law enforcement officers and other preparedness experts.

    Their survival systems include gas masks, emergency radios, and cell phone chargers. Prepping is not about surviving a zombie apocalypse, Zrazhevskiy said, nor is it merely concerned with stockpiling to survive a one-time disaster: “Prepping is not about hoarding a bunch of canned food … it’s a lifestyle of self-sustaining.

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    Ready To Go Survival says there has been a major uptick in sales in their survival packs, which include a gas mask, duct tape, matches, ammonia inhalants, water purification tablets and ready-to-eat meals in prices ranging from about $210 up to $700.

    There are also retail outlets such as Ready To Go Survival, which offers “practical, comprehensive, fully functional and ready to use emergency survival systems.”  Roman Zrazhevskiy, who runs Ready To Go Survival, concedes the Ebola threat pales in comparison to the number of people who die from influenza ever year.

    Many elderly people who prepare for emergencies have a lot of equipment they would need to take with them to maintain health,” said Roman Zrazhevskiy, founder and chief executive officer of Ready To Go Survival.

    “Carrying this equipment to a safe location is one of the biggest reasons this segment prefers to hunker down instead of evacuate,” Zrazhevskiy said.

    This is one of the most important things you can do, considering a broken window would leave the rest of your home [exposed] to wind, rain and flying debris,” said Roman Zrazhevskiy, founder and chief executive officer of Ready To Go Survival.

    “If you cannot acquire sandbags on short notice, fill a few heavy-duty garbage bags one-third of the way with water and place them side by side to supplement,” Zrazhevskiy said.

    Widespread natural disasters almost always cause supply chain interruptions,” Roman Zrazhevskiy, founder and CEO of Ready To Go Survival, tells Romper in an email interview. “Basic necessities such as food and water either become largely unavailable, or very expensive considering the spike in demand.

    Most of all, Zrazhevskiy says, people should be prepared to evacuate at a moment’s notice, preparing what he calls “a bug out bag,” or a long-term survival kit with the sole purpose of getting you out of danger as quickly and safely as possible.

    For a major [natural disaster], you should have 14 days worth of provisions on hand for each person in your group. That means 2000 calories and one gallon of water per person, per day,” Zrazhevskiy says. It’s important to also have on hand a minimum 3-day supply of food and water for each of your pets. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), each cat or dog will generally need one gallon of water per three days.

    If you live near a coastal area that’s prone to flooding during hurricanes, get a raft and make sure it’s inflated before the storm hits,” Zrazhevskiy says. “Water rescues are a major reason first responder resources were strained after Hurricane Harvey. If you have a raft, you can wait for the storm to end, save yourself, and then move on to help your neighbors.

    When the fourth-largest city in the country needs to be rebuilt, contractors and subcontractors make a killing,” noted Roman Zrazhevskiy, founder and CEO of Central Texas-based Ready To Go Survival, a retail brand specializing in personalized emergency preparedness. “There aren‘t enough local businesses to take on all the projects so I predict a large influx of recovery professionals coming in from all over the country to assist.

    Retail chains like Home Depot (NYSE:HD), Lowe’s (NYSE:LOW) and others that specialize in hardware and DIY will certainly see a sales spike.”

    On the negative side, Zrazhevskiy said, “Harvey and Irma will certainly put many small to medium-sized insurance companies out of business as was witnessed in 1992 after Hurricane Andrew.

    Insurance will help with physical assets, but lost information can destroy years of hard work, agrees Roman Zrazhevskiy, founder and CEO of Ready To Go Survival, a retail brand specializing in personalized emergency preparedness. “If you have sufficient notice and conditions are safe, relocate your most valuable assets to a safe place or higher ground. Renting a truck and a warehouse at a safe location could minimize potential downtime.”

    “Notify your insurance provider at the first sign of damage,” advises Zrazhevskiy. “Waiting until later puts you at risk of being at the end of the line for a payout.

    Roman Zrazhevskiy is the founder of Ready To Go Survival, a retail brand that specializes in personalized emergency preparedness, and has been through four website redesigns. Zrazhevskiy said that it is imperative to have a clear understanding of what you need to be done to your website before you start looking for web developers.

    While the underlying love story is universal, the stranding specifics are hopefully not one you’ll ever relate to. But just in case, Food & Wine talked to The Mountain Between Us location manager, Robin Mounsey, as well as adventurer/survival expert Patrick Sweeney, and Ready To Go Survival Founder/CEO Roman Zrazhevskiy, for just what kind of cooking, dining, and drinking knowledge tips you’d need to survive. 

    Depending on where you are, there may be deer, moose, wolves, lynx, bobcat, cougars, porcupines, or ptarmigan birds, which you can try to catch with snares. If all else fails, though, Zrazhevskiy says, “your best bet is to dig for grubs, ants, termites, or find woodlice in moist areas.” Which may not be as hard as you think!

    Once you’ve got your meat, don’t eat it raw—as you probably already know, it’s healthier cooked. You can start a fire for some campfire style grilling, but, Zrazhevskiy recommends, “the best way to prepare food for survival is by boiling it,” because “you don’t lose any nutrients or fats to the fire, as they will stay suspended in the water.”

    As Mounsey points out, you can fit plenty of calorie-dense energy bars in your pocket, but if you’re really worried Zrazhevskiy says the 3,600 Calorie Datrex Emergency Food Bar can’t be beat. No, it’s not one giant bar, but the pack contains rations that will last you for 72 hours, with, believe it or not, no preservatives. Fine mountain dining indeed.

    At Ready To Go Survival, founder and chief executive Roman Zrazhevskiy said gas masks were quickly moving off the shelves and overall sales “are up like 700 percent over the last two months.”

    A prepper himself, he said his greatest fear was a U.S. economic collapse as a result of the country’s unsustainable debt.

    “Once people go hungry, they are going to get to the streets and look for food,” said Zrazhevskiy, 31, who grew up in New York City’s borough of Brooklyn and now lives in Texas.

    Roman Zrazhevskiy is founder and CEO of Ready To Go Survival, which specializes in personalized emergency preparedness. His company has helped many families prepare for emergencies, including natural disasters, nuclear threats, and supply chain interruptions. He has a few ideas about making sure you can access your money when you need it most. “Keep $1,000 cash in your bug out bag, preferably in small denominations. During a crisis, change might be scarce by so it’s best to carry plenty of singles and fives for small expenses to avoid paying $20 for a gallon of water.”

    You can keep $200 in your pocket and $800 tucked away. “Emergencies have the potential to bring out the worst side of people, increasing the rate of robberies, looting, etc. If you get stuck up with no way to defend yourself, give them the wad of cash in your pocket. This way, they’ll likely leave you alone and you still have a reserve tucked away,” says Zrazhevskiy.

    Be mindful too, that if you live in a flood prone area, you don’t want to store money in your car. “Six inches of water can sweep it away,” says Zrazhevskiy.

    Another thing to remember, he adds, “After a major disaster, emergency supplies can be worth more than cash. Stock up on extra food, water, and flashlights, etc. There’s a high chance you’ll be able to use it to barter for services that you need.”

    A small solar generator can be a good investment. Says Zrazhevskiy, “It will keep your electronics charged if the power goes out. This would allow you to send money via PayPal, Venmo, and other payment providers if ATM’s are down.

    Of course, deciding what to buy is a confusing business. For advice, I tried prepper shopping site Ready To Go Survival. It’s one of many, many, many such stores online, but it’s founded by New York natives. Its consultants offer custom “survival packages” based on your ZIP Code, budget and darkest fears, ranging from riots and earthquakes to nuclear disaster.

    And interest is peaking again. “We see huge spikes in sales during hurricane season and other natural disasters, but also news coverage like North Korea,” says co-founder Fabian Illanes.

    For New Yorkers, Ready To Go always recommends a survival axe for opening fire hydrants, and a waterBOB, which turns your bathtub into a 100-gallon tank, says Mr. Illanes.

    Inside an Austin home garage is a business that ships products all around the world. It’s called Ready to Go Survival. They make individualized kits for people when disaster strikes.

    “What was once on the fringes of society is now becoming more and more mainstream because there’s reason to prepare,” co-founder Roman Zrazhevskiy said.

    Eric had the right idea of creating a bed of bark to prevent heat loss through conduction, and jamming himself in a tight space to prevent heat loss through radiation,” said Roman Zrazhevskiy, a former EMT and founder of Ready To Go Survival. “Our bodies expel heat all the time. If you can find a way to capture that heat, you can use it to stay warm.

    Fabian Illanes, founder of Ready To Go Survival, said his company works with customers to individualize their survival kits and provides gas masks, first-aid kits for animals, and suits for adults and children that protect against chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear dangers.

    “We really don’t want to seem that we’re pushing it or selling fear; we’re trying to accommodate the customer,” he said. “If that’s truly what makes them sleep better at night, then it’s our responsibility to provide them with those options.”

    There is a difference between practical people wanting to be prepared in case of an emergency and “doomsday preppers,” Mr. Illanes said.

    “That’s all they think about. That’s all they want to talk about. They have bunkers. … They are pretty much obsessed, and it takes over their lives,” he said. “We have a couple of those, but more than not, 70 percent or somewhere in that, are just regular families, regular practical people, practical preppers.

    Roman Zrazhevskiy is the Co-Founder and CEO of Ready to Go Survival, a company that creates custom survival kits. As a former EMT and lifelong outdoorsman, Zrazhevskiy understands the connection between facility security and your personal safety. He says the best place to start updating your home security is with the exterior doors to your home. Here are his key points:

    • “First, replace all the doors with solid wood or steel doors, and install high-quality deadbolt locks.

    • Ensure the door frames are made of steel or have steel supports for the door, and that all door hardware is a minimum of three inches long. You can also install a steel bar on the inside that can be closed if needed.

    • A great product that helps secure your doors is called the Door Sentinel. It comes with all the hardware to reinforce your exterior door so it will be much more difficult to break into.” – Roman Zrazhevskiy

    A messy lawn and cluttered porch not only looks bad—it also puts your property at risk for major damage from wind and rain. Preemptively remove dead trees and branches, keep gutters and drains clean and free of debris, and find space inside for all loose objects, including patio furniture, garbage cans, and garden equipment. In locations that have the potential to experience strong winds, install impact-resistant shutters or windows. “This is one of the most important things you can do considering a broken window would leave the rest of your property vulnerable to wind, rain, and flying debris,” says Ready To Go Survival founder and CEO Roman Zrazhevskiy.

    Make a Conscious Effort to Be Different

    Roman Zrazhevskiy, Founder & CEO, Ready To Go Survival

    Stand out and do something different in order to drive customer loyalty and industry attention. Look at your top competitors and determine how you can stand out and be better. Get out of the building and spend time with your potential customers. Ask them questions, get feedback, and ultimately ask them to buy your product. If you can’t sell your product face to face, you’re not going to be able to sell it online either. You should also have an expert develop your website with an SSL and premium hosting right from the get go. Having to do this at a later stage of the game can bog you down when the priority should be generating more sales. Lastly, build your authority by networking with as many journalists and bloggers as possible.

    There are many places to shop online, and new stores will always be looked at with skepticism. When you can show that you’ve been featured on the Wall Street Journal or another big publication, it builds trust and social proof for your brand, and raises overall conversion rates.