Throughout my many past vocational endeavors, I have been to many expos, conferences and seminars. These have been in the educational industry, coffee industry, ones for tea room owners, health care for the elderly, as well as the EMS industry. Every industry seems to have their own, providing a wealth of information on new trends and developments. So when I started to search for local emergency preparedness expo’s, I was surprised to find zilch. It seemed most of them were in the Midwest or southern states. When I found the NW Preparedness Expo in Prosser Washington, I was ecstatic. Since it was only 300 miles and one month away, it was definitely doable. Son Giver Man is on our emergency preparedness team at church and wanted to go as well, so he shuffled some work days to make it happen.
On Friday May 5th, with ice chest packed, we were off. Never mind the nasty, painful root canal I had done the previous day. I was too excited to focus on the pain. I rented a room at the Best Western in Prosser since the conference check-in time was 7:30 AM the following morning. With a good night’s sleep and a full breakfast at the hotel, we were ready to roll.
The only location information I had for the Expo was from their website that gave an address and the dubious side note that it was “on a working farm”. As we climbed this huge hill, the white circus-type tents came into view. My initial city girl response was one of disappointment. Every expo I had ever been to was held in a nice, WARM, dry building. I did not know it then, but I had the early symptoms of normalcy bias.
It was clear from the beginning, that this Expo was going to be different than any other expo I had ever attended. The first thing I noticed when I got out of the car, was the wonderful aroma of beef brisket being smoked on site. We registered, received our wrist bands and picked up our programs. Every expo has their list of “rules” and this Expo was no different, and yet they were. I read things like “don’t chase the farm animals” and “all weapons must be holstered”. The Expo opened with a prayer, then the flag salute. EVERYONE stood.
The speaker presentations were all on such fascinating subjects, I wanted to take them all but had to make some choices. Son Giver Man promised to share information from the presentations that he went to, but for many of them, we went together. The following were my favorites.
Attending John Jacob Schmidt’s presentation from Radio Free Redoubt/AmRRON was an instant draw, as I had recently become interested in becoming a HAM operator.
Glenn Tate – Author of 299 Days. I had heard about Tate’s 10 book series but had just finished A. American’s 9 book Survivalists series and was not sure I wanted to get hooked into another book series. After listening to Tate’s presentation, that all changed. His first hand knowledge and experience working in government gives him an enormous amount of credibility as far as I am concerned. I just finished his 10th book.
Patrice Lewis – Blogger Rural Revolution. I had been following Patrice’s blog for a while so it was an honor to sit in on her presentation, then meet with her personally. She was kind enough to talk with me, answering questions about her blog, listened patiently as I babbled on about starting my own, then passed on tons of encouragement to just “do it”. I have since read her E-book, Bear Poop and Applesauce – An Urban Migration To The Country. This is one gutsy lady! I have a ways to go.
Presentations on heirloom seeds, defensive landscaping and strategies for unarmed defense, further filled this information junkie’s brain. Add in the 36 venders, smoked beef brisket sandwiches (despite the enormous pain upon chewing) and it was a day made in heaven. There were more in-depth classes offered on Sunday for an extra fee and for those who wished to stay. Our schedule and pocket book did not allow us to participate.
Weather – Cold in the morning but it warmed up by midday. The grassy “parking lot” was soupy so glad I didn’t wear my “cool” boots. One thundershower in the afternoon, but no one ran for their life. This is Washington, no matter what side of the mountains you’re on.
Acoustics – Not great in the tents or barn as expected, but I could hear most everything by sitting up front. Microphones worked great without incident.
My one and only criticism – More handouts! For those of us who are visual learners and can’t take notes at warp speed, (and add age into the equation), hand outs will help us download our newly acquired knowledge once we return home.
To future presenters: I may not act on your provided information today, but if I have your handout filed in my notebook, I WILL reference back to it many times for my own benefit, and maybe someday, to yours.
The North West Preparedness Expo states their goal is two fold: To educate the local communities of the value of preparedness, and to build camaraderie. I saw both that day. I’ll be back next year.