Ellie defends her ground as a female prepper

'If you depend on someone else to come and save you, it's not going to happen.'

My first inclination to start prepping came after Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans. I saw what people were doing to each other down there and realized that it doesn't take much at all for society to break down. ... Just look at what happened when Sandy hit the East Coast! That's not a Third World country, that's New York and New Jersey. We're talking about sophisticated people here, but when you take away the power and the water, they turn to violence. My concern is feeling secure in that I've done what I need to do to protect my family in an event like that; teach them how to survive the way people have always survived. Living the convenient lifestyle puts you at risk: You don't want to be one of the people waiting in line for the government to help you when things start spiraling out of control. You need to have the essentials and, let's say that something significant did happen: You've got three days of food in your home, and there's only three days worth of food in the stores. That's gonna go fast. In a situation like that, the saying is that you're three days away from anarchy. The bottom line is this: If you depend on someone else to come and save you, it's not going to happen.

For women, things really started to change for us in the 1950s, after World War II. Women were in the workplace, and people all over the country started moving away from rural areas to live in cities. Women loved being able to cook on a stove, rather than over an open fire. The problem is that they didn't pass those skills down to their kids, so people's abilities to be self-sufficient were lost. Women are also more emotional than men, and even though men tend to be better trained, conditioned, and more culturally prepared, any female prepper that I know would cut your heart out in an instant without even batting an eye if they had to do it to protect their family. It just comes more naturally for women to do it.

Meet the other preppers:

Kids changed everything for rural Georgia veterinarian and prepper

• Ellie defends her ground as a female prepper
John Lloyd is perfecting the art of the bug out bag

34-year-old prepper Justin S. believes in the six Ps