Six years ago when Keith Hillen was having a casual conversation with Paul Lissard he asked him what he did for a living. Lissard responded by saying that he was a “prepper”. Not knowing what that meant, Lessard told him that he actively prepared for emergencies and natural disasters by building survival kits for any type of situation.
Explaining to Hillen how much food and water one needed to survive, Hillen then asked around in his own network of people to see how they prepared for emergencies. Surprisingly, he found that no one was ready for anything and completely oblivious to what it would take to get through a disaster.
Owning a warehouse and a dusty storefront on 1472 Linda Way off of Glendale Avenue in Sparks, Hillen decided to open up a survival store and hired Lessard as his product specialist. In 2011 the pair converted the space and has experienced steady growth since its inception, opening up an additional location in Upland, California and is getting ready to open a third in Roseville, CA.
“We do a lot of business in California because there is a law that requires school districts to have emergency kits, so we build a lot for them,” says Lessard. Besides providing school lockdown kits, Prep And Save carry home survival and car emergency kits that are utilized by customers all over the world. “We had some guys come in from Australia, Texas, and Tennessee,” he adds. Plus, it’s common for missionaries to visit Prep And Save before venturing into developing countries.
As of late, Prep And Save have also seen a small uptick in business in burners are headed to the playa.
“We’ve had a bit of a pickup in business for Burning Man- we’re selling more eye protection and water storage systems. Since nothing is bought or sold in Burning Man, people have to come with their own supplies. Officials are checking vehicles to make sure attendees are equipped with enough food and water. We sell three-and-a-half gallon bricks (of water storage) that fit nice and compact in your car,” he says.
Prep And Save carries a large variety of survival foods with a 30-year shelf life and is able to build customized survival kits for certain types of situations.
“If you want a kit put together then we can do it in-house with just the materials you want so that you don’t have to worry about throwing anything away that you won’t use,” says Lessard.
Lissard suggests that at the minimum, people need these essentials at home:
1) Three gallons of water per person per day, a 2-week supply at home
2) “Food that doesn’t go bad- a caloric intake of 1200 calories per day for two weeks at the bare minimum. That’s how long it could take when waiting for FEMA to rescue you.”
3) Protective clothing or rain gear in case you lose your shelter
4) “A real first aid kit, one with advanced supplies.”
He also stresses the importance of keeping a car kit in case a driver gets stranded somewhere.
“Around the 4th of July there was a fire around here and people were stuck on the freeway for eight hours. That’s a long time to go without having an emergency kit,” Lessard adds. Prep And Save also sell lock tight zip up bags for “number one and number two” that helps coagulate liquid so that it doesn’t smell and can easily be thrown away.
Having a survival kit is a good idea for any type of situation, as you never know what could happen. Lissard says that he consumed food out of his personal kit during a time when he lost his job and was in a state of unemployment. “It helped with grocery bills,” he says.
Besides selling customized survival kits, here are some of the former Navy corpsman’s favorite supplies in Prep And Save:
• Military-grade gas masks with NBC filters
• Lifestraws (“We have a video of a woman who drank out of a bucket of cow manure- a Lifestraw is that good at filtering it into the water,” he says.)
• Skin staplers
• Plasma lighters that run strictly off of electricity and contain no fuel
• Berkey water filtration systems that can produce 6,000 gallons of pure water
“It’s your responsibility to take care of yourself, at least in an initial shock of an emergency,” says Lessard. For more information on customized survival kits, visit www.prepandsave.com.