Emergency Preparedness The Right Way, by Howard Godfrey
When the author set out to write this book on emergency preparedness skills, he wanted it to be “not overly complicated”. He has had many years experience in fire skills, law enforcement and the military, has taught preparedness skills and helped organize preparedness shows. With this background, he found that many of the books available were either incomplete, or attempted to be too comprehensive. He elected not to write about firearms, self-defense, nuclear, biological or chemical warfare, or medical care in detail—not because these were not valid and important subjects, but because he felt there were numerous books dedicated to these subjects already available. Instead, his purpose was to prioritize basic emergency items needed, suggest ways to improvise whenever possible and provide a healthy resource list of suggested reading/web sites/suppliers, etc. In other words, this is a great book for those new-to-the world of emergency prepping!
His chapter on water is an excellent overview of all things that need to be addressed when planning for this important need. He distinguishes between environments—suburban vs. rural, desert vs. mountains, etc. He delves into different sources for water, such as wells, springs, swimming pools, rainwater, hot water tanks, etc. He addresses the contamination and water-borne diseases issue, along with many different types of disinfecting processes, including chlorine dioxide and iodide tablets, solar water disinfection (SODIS) and various types of filters. One thing I found to be very helpful is that he frequently discusses some “reputable brand names”, which serves as a good jumping off point for a newbie looking into these types of purchases.
He discusses the question we have all asked; “how much food do you store”? His answer, while emphasizing that the final decision has to be based on individual needs, is three months of food you would normally eat every day, backed up by enough “long term food” for a year. He discusses the pros and cons of purchasing the “one-size-fits-all” food packages, and, in addition, writes at some length about the basic grains, legumes, oils, salts, sugars, honey, etc. He explains the basic difference between freeze-dried and dehydrated foods, and the processes used to make them. This should help someone new decide how they wish to store their food.
In the chapter on “Cooking, Lights and Fuel”, the author is assuming there is a non-functioning electrical grid and the reader is dependent on their own resources. Generators, solar ovens, and different types of stoves and fuels are discussed. He includes pictures and diagrams along with some comparison charts, which I found to be very helpful.
While he does not go into any great detail in his chapter on “Medical and Sanitation”, he does provide a basic first aid list, along with important over-the-counter medications to have available. He especially stresses the importance of good sanitation and hygiene practices. He addresses how to improvise sewage facilities and properly dispose of garbage and rubbish.
One of the last chapters is devoted to the “72 Hour Kit”. He feels each member of the family should have their own kit, and it should be individualized accordingly. He is a big believer in improvising whenever possible and buying from garage sales, thrift shops etc, if necessary. The bottom line, he says, is that the kit must meet your 3 most important needs: food, water and warmth. Food choices vary from MREs (Meals Ready to Eat) to canned tuna and protein bars. Water choices depend on many personal factors, including ability to carry at least 2 quarts of water and have a method to purify more. Different types of fire starters, including how to simply make your own is also explained. Multiple types of back packs and sleeping bags along with pros and cons to different styles are discussed.
The chapter on Miscellaneous Recipes was most interesting. I never knew, for example that there was an actual recipe for hard tack, or a use for acorn flour! But, the last chapter, which focuses on how to make or improvise equipment could prove to be extremely helpful. Included are the plans for an iceless refrigerator, solar oven and rocket stoves.
Threaded throughout the book are many observations, “random thoughts” and tips from the author. All are useful and thought-provoking. For example, I have never thought of using a now non-functioning car as a place to dry vegetables—but, it would work! His tip about “keeping a pair of shoes by your bedside, as one of the most common injuries in an earthquake is cut feet” also makes a great deal of sense. The author has emphasized that preparedness is paramount for any number of potential disasters, from nuclear explosions and Electromagnetic Pulses (EMPs) to floods and other disasters. His list of recommended reading and web sites will prove invaluable for anyone, either a newbie or a seasoned survivalist. At 141 pages, the book is concise, and very readable, and, as Mr. Godfrey wanted “not overly complicated.” Anyone who is a serious prepper will obviously have a more complete library, but this is a great jumping off point for someone just starting out.