I attended a class the other night at a local survival supply store. The advertised topic was having a family rendezvous point for when home wasn’t an option. The instructor did not talk about the advertised topic. Mostly he spent the time showing off his vehicle survival kit. While I enjoy seeing what people deem necessary enough to include in a survival kit, that’s not why I was there. I have kits built for both vehicles. Now, granted, it was a free class, and the instructor was volunteering his time, which I appreciate, but it was time that I chose to not spend with my family in the hopes of learning something new.
In showing off things he had in his kit, the instructor occasionally threw in things like, “I designed these, and now the Special Forces are using them.” Or, “I’m developing this for market. It will sell for $400.” And, in showing off gear, he did not even help the store owners, but instead kept saying, “Well, they may have something like this here, but I got mine at REI.”
During the presentation, a question was asked by another attendee. He noted that the instructor didn’t have any bottled water in his emergency kit. The instructor responded, almost appearing perplexed by the question, that that was what his stainless steel bottle and his bottle filter were for. I’m not sure where he thinks he will be using his kit, but Boise is basically a desert. If you are only counting on finding water on the trail, it could be a very short trip.
The most frustrating aspect of the experience, though, was the instructor’s apparent unwillingness to address the stated topic. Even after prompting (at least twice) by the store’s owners, and questions by other attendees, he wouldn’t commit. “It’s your plan,” he said, more than once. An example was a question by a woman who was attending with her husband. She said she was home all day with the baby, but in an emergency that would require a bug out, should she just go the the BO location with the baby, should she pick up the other child from school, or should the husband pick up the other child from school? “You have to make a plan, I can’t make it for you,” was his response. While this is a valid statement, we were there for some guidelines on making a plan, or a starting point at the very least. A starting point for this family would be: Is the child’s school on the way to the BO location for either parent? Which parent is closer to the child’s school? Is it prudent for the couple to leave for the BO location separately? Presenting the attendees with these types of questions they would need to answer to make a plan would have been all that was required. This did not happen.
A final issue with the instructor was an apparent mixed message he provided. He recommended from the start to use camouflage gear, in case you have to hide from government forces (in a martial law situation) or from would-be predators. While there is a difference in opinion in the preparedness community regarding military-looking vs. civilian-looking gear, this is certainly a valid outlook. The problem arose when, later in the class, he was telling a story of when he was living in the San Francisco Bay area when the Loma Prieta Earthquke occurred in 1989 (during the World Series). He and a couple others moved through their neighborhood to see if anyone needed anything. He remarked that the people who were best prepared were those with RV’s. They “were sitting in their RV’s with the lights on, drinking wine.” In the context of his philosophy of keeping a low profile that he had preached for the last hour, these statements were very incongruous. While sitting in your RV with the lights on drinking wine might be fine the first couple hours after a moderate earthquake, what happens if the power doesn’t return for several days, and predators begin scoping the neighborhoods for easy pickings. This could be a source of confusion among those who may be new to preparedness.
Again, I appreciate that this gentleman volunteered his time to present what he thought was the correct information. I also appreciate the store for holding the class and trying to get their instructor on subject. However, it would behoove the store owners to be a little more careful about who they allow to teach their classes.