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Survivalist convention prepares public for emergency situations

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FORT MILL, S.C.--Roughly 500 people from the Carolinas and several other states from around the country are attending the first ever “Charlotte PrepCon" Saturday in Fort Mill. The event has speakers and vendors to help educate individuals as to how to become better prepared and more self-reliant.

Buying pre-packaged, freeze dried food, Columbia resident Gene Garris is adding to his already stocked pantry.

"We have probably a room that's 10x12 that's probably two-thirds full with commercially purchased canned food and then things that we've canned,” said Garris.

It's a part of something called "prepping,” and at Saturday's Charlotte PrepCon event, participants were learning about just that – how to be prepared for any type of disaster, natural or otherwise.

"Because we don't know this stuff anymore. My grandparents grew up on farms. They canned meat and had smoke houses and a lot of their work was preserving that harvest, but I don't have that knowledge, so I have to reach out to other people who know how to do it,” said Garris.

Scott Hunt is the co-owner of Practical Preppers. He says he calls it homesteading or sustainability, and says it's not fear-based.

"You're used to water being delivered to you, your power being delivered to you, your food being delivered to you. If those delivery systems were interrupted, what would you do?" said Hunt.

He cites examples such as Hurricane Katrina or the recent power outages in the Virginia, West Virginia, and DC areas. He says even in these situations, many people aren't ready.

"We're helping people with water, when to bug out, when to bug in, when to stay in your location or when you might have to leave your location and are you prepared to do that?" said Hunt.

They say their main goal is to get others interested in prepping, to make sure they have a plan when it comes to finances, food, water, and shelter in case of any emergency.

"If we as a community are prepared, we can take care of each other. But if we as a community aren't prepared, there will be chaos. And we want to prevent chaos is the main reason to be prepared,” said Rich Davis, who organized the event.

A second Charlotte PrepCon is already planned for September eighth of this year. For more information, go to CharlottePrepCon

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