Oklahomans from all walks of life prepare for emergencies

“We're regular people. We're housewives and accountants, lawyers and teachers,” said Mark Smith, the organizer of the Spring 2012 Preparedness Expo scheduled Saturday in Del City.
BY MATT DINGER mdinger@opubco.com Published: March 31, 2012

“Preparedness is a lifestyle. It's not a fad, it's not a weekend project. It's a journey, not a destination. There's always more to learn,” Smith said.

Along the way, you increase both the quantity and the quality of your options; the more options you have, the better off you'll be, he said.

“As we go through the process of living a preparedness lifestyle,” he said, “there is always that next challenge, that next class to take, that next purchase. But to me, that's part of the fun.”

Having fun and networking are two reasons Smith puts on the Preparedness Expo in the fall and spring. Saturday's expo will include short workshops, products and information.

‘Bugout bags'

Michael Olson will teach an afternoon workshop on “bugout bags.”

“A ‘bugout bag' would be a get-home bag or whatever you want to call it. You have your bag with you and it will help sustain you for 72 hours,” he said.

His bugout bag, which he will use in the workshop, includes about 18 pounds of food, ways to filter and purify water, flashlights and other essentials.

Olson, a former Marine, and partner Joseph Lambert operate Survival First Wilderness Survival School. When Olson's not teaching people how to survive in the rough with just their wits and a few tools, he's a chef in Oklahoma City.

“Basically, I started this school in memory of my great-grandfather, who taught me these skills growing up,” he said.

“We're survivalists. A lot of people think that's a bad term, but it's not. We're not a militia. We're not there to hurt anybody,” Olson said.

Survival First has three tiers of wilderness survival training — from the two-day, one-night basic course to the advanced six-day course. Classes run from $300 to $650.

“With these skills, you can survive anything, really. All the skills I teach can be used in urban environments, the wilderness, pretty much everywhere,” Olson said.

“My expert class is probably 60 to 80 miles of hiking. I'm nice in the basic class. I'm not that nice in the advanced and expert classes,” he said.

In the basic course, students are allowed to bring tents. In the advanced and expert courses, they sleep in shelters made from natural materials and are taught how to find their own food in the wild.

“I want to teach people so if they get into a situation, it may save their life or save the lives of people with them,” he said. “If I can help people, then that's great.”

If you go

Preparedness Expo

When: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday.

Where: Del City American Legion Hall, 5000 SE 24.

Admission: $5 per person or $8 per couple, free for ages 13 and younger.


9:30 a.m.: First-aid kit needs.

10:15 a.m.: Essential oils.

11:15 a.m.: Pet care.

12:15 p.m.: Long-term storage food.

1 p.m.: Shortwave radio.

2 p.m.: “If I can see you, hear you or smell you, I will kill you.”

2:45 p.m.: Prepping on a budget.

3 p.m.: Bugout bags.

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