WANT TO GO:
WHERE: 5345 Big Tyler Road, Cross Lanes
WHEN: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday
TICKETS: Adults $20, children ages 6 to 12 $12, younger than 6 free.
INFO: 304-982-2850 or www.providencellc.us
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- While most of the state will be thawing and/or drying out by this weekend from the latest natural disaster to befall the state, local survivalists or "preppers" will meet in Cross Lanes on Saturday to mix, mingle and share thoughts about being ready for the next catastrophe.
Bob Keller is one of the sponsors of Saturday's Prep-Con 2012. The 45-year-old engineer and former West Virginia State University professor-turned-shopkeeper and survival guru will give a talk on solar applications for the prepper.
Other talks during the conference include "7 Essentials of Disaster Preparedness" by Crisis Response International Director Chuck Reber and a keynote address by Steve Nolan, publisher of SurvivalWeek and The Beacon.
Keller, a Charleston native, owns and operates Keller's Survival Store, a small, out-of-the-way shop near the very end of Washington Street West, where most of the business fronts have given way to houses and yards. His store sells a little bit of everything.
"We started this thing as a pawnshop and survival store," he said. "But the pawn business got to be a headache, and we just quit that."
A few odds and ends from that business remain -- mostly used DVDs that Keller was quick to point out are at rock-bottom prices. He needs to get rid of them to free up floor space for more of his prepper stock.
The survival business, he said, has been good.
Along with racks of camouflage clothing, he has military-style MREs (meals ready to eat), an extensive collection of knives, gas masks and a selection of books.
Some of it, he acknowledges, is probably more useful than others. Not everybody needs a crossbow or a sword -- even if both seem to be in fashion on NBC's post-apocalyptic drama "Revolution."
What people are interested in, he said, is usually broken down by how they think they'll handle a crisis.
"It comes down to whether you want to stay or go," he said.
Different kinds of emergencies call for different approaches.
Keller asked, "What would you do if you had 10 minutes to get out of your house and never come back? What would you take?"
Along with supplies, Keller offers advice.
"If you need to be on the move, you should have a bag you can just throw in the car and go."
This is called a "bug out bag."