Last summer’s Hurricane Irene taught us a valuable lesson in survival.

That is…once the power goes out, all bets are off!

At first it’s an inconvenience, which eventually could turn into chaos.

You’ve already seen the effect of living with no power for days…even weeks.

Now imagine a nation or a world plunged into darkness, without knowing when or if the lights would ever come back on.

Survivalists have been planning for that eventuality.

And yes, they feel it is an eventuality.

There’s a network of preppers that began popping up in 2009, and has only kept growing in the last couple of years, especially in light of the ordeal many have had with Hurricane Irene.

Claire Furber of Wayne is one of the many. The 53-year-old runs the Northern New Jersey Preparedness group, also known as “NJ Preppers.”

Furber had her own awakening to the need for her family’s preparedness when Tropical Storm Irene cut her home’s electricity and flooded her basement.

The storm “is what changed my outlook on everything,” she said. “We’re not one of those crazy people who think the world is going to end tomorrow. … We’re more into just taking care of ourselves.”

The group started in 2010, and Furber took the leadership position earlier this year. For the 183-member group, she helps organize lectures about canning and dehydrating food, gardening in small spaces and “bug outs,” or short-term survival situations where backpacks carry supplies.

“It’s almost like we’re taking a step backwards to doing what our ancestors always did,” said Furber. “They always prepared, and we’ve just gotten away from that too much.”

Do you feel you could live without some of the basic necessities we’ve all come to take for granted…like hot and cold running water, electricity, and all the other creature comforts?

Survivalists are betting you can’t.

And they may be onto something!