Amid increasing social, political and economic unrest in the United States and internationally, so-called “preppers,” are becoming more vocal about the need to prepare for the chaos and upheaval that might result from such unstable conditions.

Preppers, who are sometimes referred to as survivalists, believe in actively preparing for both man-made and natural disasters by stockpiling food, water, medical supplies and becoming skilled in self-defense.

Increasingly, however, their concerns are gaining credence among politicians and being reported in prominent news sources.

The Independent, a newspaper in the United Kingdom, sought comment from Damian McBride, an adviser to former Prime Minister Gordon Brown. He credited Brown with averting disaster by nationalizing Britain’s banks.

As stock indexes fall sharply worldwide and economic conditions become unstable, McBride worries that the coming crisis may be “a cataclysm 20 times the scale of the crashes in 2008 .”

While some dismiss the warnings and prescriptions of preppers, rioting in Greece during its recent financial crisis, as well as the closing of banks and ATMs by the government underscore how quickly a crisis can lead to civil unrest.

Rioting, looting and violence demonstrate a threat of a different nature. When such situations arise, stores close making it difficult to find food. Gas stations may remain open, but raise the price of gasoline drastically.

Rioters rampaged through the streets of Baltimore in April, burning and looting 27 drugstores, putting residents who needed prescriptions or over-the-counter medications in serious jeopardy.

McBride offered a list of measures to prepare for a possible crisis that included withdrawing funds from banks and securing hard cash in a safe place. He also suggested maintaining a large stock of bottled water, canned food and essentials like medication and first aid supplies.

Making sure family members have a place to meet in the event communication is impacted by a disruption in a local or national electrical grid was also recommended.

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