Across the country, self-proclaimed "preppers" say they feel the heat of a changing global political climate.
Cylde Scott, owner of the Rising S Company in Murchison, Texas, makes his living by making underground bunkers for those who want to be prepared for anything that may come. He said since the inauguration of President Donald Trump, he's seen a large increase in business and interest.
“In the past week and a half, our sales went up 250 percent,” Scott said. “Typically we sell one [or] maybe two bunkers a month. I sold five this week, Monday to Thursday."
U.S. & World
Sparks fly from welders’ torches in his Henderson County shop as they ship and install secret shelters across the nation.
“We have sold quite a bit in Texas, Maryland, North Carolina, Virginia. We sell them all over the United States," Scott said. "Some people will even have me put them in on weekends so neighbors won't know."
Scott started his storm shelter-building company 13 years ago, but his upbringing challenged him to be even more creative.
"When I was young, I was raised as a prepper. I always thought my parents might be a little crazy,” he laughed. “I guess it's bred into me. I grew up and I became one."
He’s now added underground survival shelters and those have become his primary business.
"A lot of people say being a prepper is kind of a negative attitude and why would you do that,” Scott said. “Usually my first response to those kind of people is 'Why do you buy car insurance? Why do you have health insurance?'"
Scott said that he is not alone, and in the past two weeks, he’s met even more.
"The phone calls I've been receiving and the people I've been talking to… everybody thinks World War III is coming," he said.
Survivalism has become more popular under the super-wealthy in Silicon Valley and New York City as well, according to a recent article in the New Yorker. It found that people like tech executives and hedge fund managers have been buying up homes or bunkers, getting citizenship in remote and self-reliant New Zealand and even getting eye surgery so they won't need glasses in the event of a global meltdown.
Scott said his customers come from all walks of life, but most are affluent.
"An average bunker for a family runs around $100,000," he said.
The larger models can fit six to 10 people and are solar powered with air and water filtration.
"As long as you have food and water, you can go underground and live for a year if you need to," Scott said.
He currently has a staff of around 25 people, with 22 of them dedicated solely to welding.
"We're building bunkers as fast as we can get them. I receive emails and phone calls daily. So, I imagine that my sales will probably be nine to 10 bunkers a week for probably the next six months to a year,” he said. “Because I know the direction we are headed and we are going to be needing more people. Right now I’m looking to staff up maybe 10 more people.”
Now Scott’s American dream of owning a business has come to a point where it is prepping for what he hopes is not a worldwide nightmare.
"At the end of the day, my ultimate goal is to know that if we do go to World War III with Iran, Russia, China, Turkey, whoever it may be, that my family is going to be able to survive," he said.