WGCU and APT present ‘Surviving Disasters with Les Stroud’

Les Stroud just might have the antidote to worrying. And in this modern world, that’s a really good thing.

Because there’s an uncomfortable reality that is hard to ignore: As long as the Earth is a fixture in the heavens, the possibility of a natural disaster is always present.

But skip the fear and go straight to confidence and empowerment by watching the new documentary “Surviving Disasters with Les Stroud,” presented by WGCU Public Media and American Public Television.

Stroud shows that preparation – the kind that can save your life – does not have to be complicated. It can be a simple task- by-task effort. Then, long before the next hurricane/earthquake/blizzard/ice storm or flooding occurs, you can be as ready as you are ever going to be to handle it all.

While it would be easy to feel overwhelmed by all the possible ways to protect yourself and your loved ones, Stroud simplifies the three-part process of preparing for, surviving, and finally recovering from a natural event. You can even leave the idea of “disaster” behind, because even though those challenging natural occurrences are inevitable, the result does not have to be devastating.

In “Surviving Disasters with Les Stroud,” you will obtain life-saving information about obtaining food and water; about dealing with electricity; about preparations for seniors and people with access issues, as well as pets and children; about how to communicate when normal methods are not available; about travel, medications, evacuation, house and vehicle preparation.

Stroud, himself, was prepared for the documentary when the pandemic hit. Having completed his travels, to Florida, Texas, Idaho, Minnesota, Oregon and the U.S. Virgin Islands, among other destinations, and completed most interviews, he was able to wrap up the documentary with a few Zoom calls during COVID-19 lockdowns. Surviving a pandemic became an aspect of the documentary as well.

“This isn’t a Weather Channel show,” Stroud said. “It’s about what we all can do to prepare for any natural disaster.” For instance, do you know what items are essential for an emergency kit? You will, after watching this documentary.

“Surviving Disasters with Les Stroud” is the result of a $75,000 grant from APT, based on a “Pitchfest” at an annual conference in 2019, when teams of producers vied for funding for their documentary ideas. WGCU Associate General Manager for Content Amy Shumaker and Stroud impressed the industry experts and were awarded a grant. As a result, WGCU is the presenting station for the film, making its Southwest Florida public media debut on WGCU PBS at 8 p.m. Tuesday, June 8 and 8 p.m. and Saturday, June 12 at 1:30 p.m.