Glitzy backyard bunkers replete with flat-screen televisions, billiard tables and underground swimming pools. Bulletproof SUVs that can smash through walls and trample cars. Safe rooms with satellite communication equipment. Aviation and marine evacuation services, personal medical hotlines, as well as private security staff.

Or, how about an underground, Cold War-era missile silo converted into a luxury “survival condo resort,” complete with a medical facility, shooting range, rock-climbing wall and dog park—and, of course, the ability to withstand a nuclear blast?

These are all part of a growing menu of high-end emergency preparedness offerings that high-net-worth individuals and their families are opting for in the face of encroaching disasters and potential political uprisings.

Once the domain of wackadoo zombie apocalypse types, emergency preparedness has gone mainstream and is going high end. Gwyneth Paltrow, Mark Zuckerberg, Ralph Lauren and Glenn Beck are among a cadre of rich and famous people who are reportedly taking prepping more and more seriously.

Bespoke emergency preparedness kits are even being sold at Restoration Hardware, at New York City SoHo boutiques and by Upper East Side doyennes via Tupperware-like parties.

In addition to the uptick in natural hazards and terrorist incidents, cyber warfare is another pressure point driving high-net-worth individuals to opt for defensive services and supplies.

“Five years ago it was a different world,” says Dale Buckner, the chief executive of Global Guardian, who works with 79 high-net-worth families and 28 family offices to provide emergency response and security solutions. Now, he says, internet profiling creates more hostage and ransom scenarios, never mind physical intrusions. And the idea of virtual calamity keeps people mindful about other problems on the rise and makes them want to prep.

Climate change is exacerbating extreme weather events. Charged political environments are fostering uprisings and riots. Terrorism, of course, incites fears of random acts of violence.

This all brings emergency preparedness front and center in today’s world.

Joel Smernoff, chairman of Black Umbrella, a New York City firm that creates custom emergency/safety plans and curates disaster kits for executives, families and businesses, says wealthy individuals and their extended families view uncertainty and risk through a different lens than average people.

“I think risk mitigation is very important to them,” he says. “That’s why many have family offices and focus on capital preservation. So in following the concept of being able to protect what you have, I think they also over-index in preparedness. These are people that are used to having insurance for everything. One way to look at emergency preparedness is as physical insurance.”

Emergency preparedness involves three basic steps: being informed, having a plan and keeping a stock of proper supplies. To be sure, most people have the ability and the wherewithal to accomplish all of these steps. But most don’t take action.

About one in four Americans is without an extreme weather event preparedness plan, and nearly one in three is not sure what to do after an event occurs, according to Travelers Insurance. Moreover, Travelers found in a survey that the least prepared demographic is people who live in wealthy areas. Why? Infrastructure is typically more sound in affluent neighborhoods than in places where poorer people reside. Municipal services are also likely more responsive. But this can insulate people with higher incomes from some of the more common problems when disasters strike, including the lack of shelter and police or medical attention. It makes them, as Travelers puts it, “overconfident and underprepared.”

Aberrant storms such as Hurricane Sandy, extreme cold and blizzards produced by the so-called polar vortex, once-in-a-thousand-year floods in the South, and mega-droughts in the West are changing minds, however, if not habits about preparedness.

The actor Tom Selleck, for example, was recently busted for hijacking water from municipal supplies during a drought rationing period to irrigate his huge California ranch property. He isn’t alone in taking radical steps to stock up on basic needs. Live Prepared, a long-term storage food provider in Salt Lake City, reports an increase in its sales of big food vaults, namely to individuals with multiple homes. These vaults cost thousands of dollars each and can provide enough food for up to a year or more.

“I think it kind of naturally flows that wealthy individuals understand the value of their family and that they want to protect them at all costs. They have the additional means financially and perhaps time-wise to be able to do that at a greater degree than other segments of the population,” says Smernoff.

That not only translates into luxe gear and ample supplies; it also means instant medical care and security and evacuation services.

“In the moments after a disaster, it’s all about security and concern for personal safety. Two minutes after that, it’s about medical attention,” says Dr. Dan Carlin, who heads WorldClinic, a 24/7 emergency medical service that caters to wealthy patients. Through a private concierge telemedicine capability, Carlin can assess and direct victims to hospitals and medical facilities around the globe and come up with treatments. Carlin has even remotely instructed surgery procedures.

To help people prepare for the extreme, Carlin researched numerous disaster scenarios throughout history. What rises to the top in terms of importance is communication. “If we can communicate with someone, we can keep them from doing something stupid,” he says. That may mean instructing an injured person not to go to an emergency room. “A triage situation changes depending on the event,” he says. “In many circumstances you may not need to go to an emergency room in a macabre environment, or if you do, you want to be able to jump to the front of the line.”

Given that many wealthy people are hyper mobile—attending meetings, lunches and dinners in multiple locations throughout the day—and given that many have multiple residences, it’s very important to them to have security and geolocating services during a crisis.

“You want to immediately know or be able to know where the critical people in your life are,” says Buckner, who has found and plucked individuals from myriad crises, including the Paris terrorist attacks and catastrophic storms in Mexico and Taiwan.
Technology can be the key to survival in many instances, or help with piece of mind.

With the push of a button, it’s possible to call up your own private rescue squad or find out if your loved ones are safe and sound.
OnStar, the in-vehicle emergency service, is the simplest example of this. Microsoft has its HelpBridge app, which is designed to help you connect with the people that matter to you most during a large-scale natural disaster. (It also enables you to give your money, time and resources to support relief and rebuilding efforts.) And the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), as well as the American Red Cross, have apps that can both alert family members that you are safe and well and direct you to local shelters.

But these are rather plebeian tools for the jet set, who might instead pay six figures a year for a private, on-call service similar to Switzerland’s Rega. Rega is famous for its mountain rescue operations. It is an independent nonprofit “cooperative” that keeps a state-of-the-art aviation fleet on call and has advanced communication and technology equipment. It is staffed by 400 highly trained emergency responders who can bring to safety Alpine paragliders, skiers and hikers. It also works on a global basis and provides worldwide repatriation from 400 destinations. Rega operates private ambulance jets and helicopters, the coolest of which is the all-weather AW169-FIPS rescue helicopter equipped with an anti-icing system, which enables it to fly in the worst inclement weather.

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