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Handbook to Practical Disaster Preparedness for the Family Paperback – 9 Jul 2010
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About the Author
Dr. Arthur Bradley holds a doctorate in engineering from Auburn University and currently works for NASA. Having lived all across the United States, he writes from personal experience about preparing for a wide variety of disasters, including earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, house fires, massive snowstorms, electromagnetic pulse attacks, and solar storms. He has been featured in the New York Times, Money magazine, the Toronto Sun, and numerous radio shows. Dr Bradley subscribes to the philosophy that preparedness should always be motivated by love and concern, never by fear and paranoia. His practical approach to family preparedness has received widespread praise from individuals, emergency preparedness groups, and religious organizations. He is the author of several highly acclaimed books on disaster preparedness, including the “Handbook to Practical Disaster Preparedness for the Family,” “Disaster Preparedness for EMP Attacks and Solar Storms,” and the “Prepper’s Instruction Manual.” He conducts free seminars around the world, teaching individuals and families how to establish effective disaster preparedness plans.
Top customer reviews
The book is written for the US market so the section of bullets or butter (food) is of little use in the UK although it does still have relevance in that in a true emergency and no law enforcement you will still need to 'look after' what you have got in the way of resources. This book covers all aspects of being prepared and the 'hobby' of being a prepared for the worst whilst hoping that it never happens. It also suggest further reading is the reader has a particular scenario that he/she is preparing for. A lot of the advice is also useful in everyday life i.e.: ensuring that your cupboards are full and that you cycle food item ensuring that nothing is wasted. How many times have you reached for a spare battery for the remote, or run out of sugar for your tea to find that no-one had restocked after using the last item in the cupboard.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
The book is laid out and organized by types of preparations, much like many other books of this type, but in each category the advice proffered is focused on addressing the most imminent and likely needs.
- Staying Alive
- Electrical Power
- Heating / Cooling
- Medical / First Aid
- Financial Preparedness
- Special Needs
- Creating a DP Network
- Five Horsemen of Death
- Electromagnetic Pulse and Solar Storms
- Trial by Fire
The last three chapters are dedicated specifically to different types of disasters(natural and otherwise) and specific actions that you can take in the midst of those disasters. This book is a "must read" even just for these last three chapters.
It was obvious that quite a bit of research went into this book and this 3rd edition is quite polished and extensive.
This book was well formatted for the kindle with the ability to quickly skip from chapter to chapter and access the linked Table Of Contents. Also, the beginning of each chapter had a linked "Table of Contents" of it's own to quickly take you to the different sections of the chapter. I only wish that the primary TOC had more detail than just the chapters.
This book is highly recommended for:
- Preppers who want advice for preparing for the most likely disasters
- Preppers who want more information about dealing with natural disasters
If you enjoy reading about survival and prepping, I also recommend Ultralight Survival: Make a Small and Light Bug Out Bag That Could Save Your Life for specific advice on creating the lightest and most efficient bug-out-bag possible.
I felt that this book was an excellent one-stop shop for getting one in the right mind-set to prepare for almost any disaster. Many might say that "oh, well that's just common sense!" . . . only to answer in the negative when asked if they have a month's supply of food stored up or have bothered to take a photographic inventory of their household goods. Sometimes even the "common sense" things need to be reiterated.
Below I'll list a few tips and comments of my own regarding some of the categorized chapters in this book.
--If you are trying to have a goal of a one-month's supply of food, I would strongly suggest getting a bulk amount with a shelf life of 25 years. Buy it once and be done with it. Wise Food Supply, Thrive--among others--have a variety of bulk packages you can buy sometimes with free shipping and/or other goodies tossed in.
--I felt the author was a little too concerned with taste. If I'm in a survival situation I can care less about taste as long as it's edible, doesn't make me sick and lets me live to see another day.
--A P38 is still a great can opener. Where else can you fit a can opener on your key ring?
--Some newer home toilets only use 1.6 gallons per flush, which is less than the 2-3+ cited by the author. One can also cut down on toilet-water costs by installing a European-style Dual-Flush kit, which allows you to use about half as much water (.8 gallons) for liquid waste.
--I found it odd that Shelter is the most important--according to the author--but shows up in Chapter five AFTER Food and Water. If Shelter is indeed number one, then it should also be the first thing discussed.
--Don't forget that one can also use Parrafin Lighter cubes to start an easy fire. You can buy them online and from experience I can tell you that even one cube is enough to get a stack of coals going on the grill.
--Of all the things that could happen, I'd consider loss of electricity to be one of the most detrimental. So I found it amusing that the author listed primarily websites and suggestions of keeping lists and spreadsheets on your computer. I'm sorry, but when the power goes out, what good is that going to do for you?
HEATING / COOLING
--Another heat source to consider is the Micathermic space heater. There is no blower, no glowing parts and no moving parts. You also don't have to worry about oil dripping (oil-filled radiator).
MEDICAL / FIRST AID
--In addition to bookmarking a few medical websites, if the power goes out, I would recommend a few books, such as this one . . . Take Care of Yourself, 9th Edition: The Complete Illustrated Guide to Medical Self-Care that was recommended to me when I was in the Army.
--Something I do religiously every Friday--log into all websites that involve money and track all your finances on a spreadsheet. Set limits for certain expenses and color code as you go so that you can quickly see if things are going good (green) or bad (red). Doing this every Friday helps you remember the password for your websites and know for certain what you have in there.
--Don't forget swords. You can buy a fully functional katana blade for about $300. Hanwei/Paul Chen is a good place to start. Not as good as a gun, but a heck of a lot better than a knife. Also, beware of "wall-hanger" swords you see in malls. When I say "fully functional" I mean a sword that can chop a limb in half.
CREATING A (D)isaster (P)reparedness NETWORK
--I think a neighborhood DP network is a good idea for those who can't immediately afford some of the more expensive survival items listed (generators, gas masks, etc). However, having a DP network where everyone knows what the other has was also ironically contradictory to the author's statement that you shouldn't reveal what supplies you have on hand. If possible, I'd say you're better off fending for yourself, especially if you live in a bad neighborhood.
While I'd argue that this book is not completely practical--do you really have the money to go out and buy a NukAlert or an expensive generator setup?--I did feel that it covered all the bases, offering much food for thought along the way. Perhaps future editions can give recommendations on how to set up a survival kit on a limited budget or using only everyday household supplies. I consider myself middle-class and even on my salary some of the products mentioned are ridiculously expensive--even if I only focused on applicable threats.
What I DID NOT want was a guide on how to farm my own crops and stockpile hundreds of pounds of wheat for milling and how to stockpile my own bunker to arm my own militia. I also knew that buying a pre-made backpack of cheap 'survival gear' from Amazon wasn't going to cut it either.
I got exactly what I needed plus much more.
Dr. Bradley goes through air, water, food, and first-aid so you can see where you might need to improve your own plans. He also goes into some self defense and security without letting it overwhelm the book... it is in balance with the scope and scale of all of the topics. He also talks about other risks and risk planning like building a support network and building a sound financial plan for you and your family so that you aren't overwhelmed when a risk event hits (anything from a heavy car repair bill to the loss of a spouse).
The book helped me flesh out the plans / preparations I had planned to set up (primarily water/food/light/air), made me re-think work I had already done (enough life insurance?) and brought several additional topics to mind that I hadn't thought about (Nuclear disaster, Shelter-in-place, EMP) that aren't really in my sphere of control, but I can help plan a bit for to protect my family.