Just a glimpse at the television screen depicting the recent devastation in Moore, OK, from a powerful tornado, or the destruction Hurricane Sandy caused last year in the northeast, not to mention the countless natural disasters we don’t hear about on the news, makes you wonder what you would do in that situation. Would we have enough food to eat if we were stranded in our home for days? Where would we go if it was unsafe to stay home? Maybe you even contemplate coming up with an emergency plan, only to find it too overwhelming and eventually push it to the bottom of the to-do list.
In Florida, many residents are immune to hurricane warnings because these storms are a fact of life here and we all just assume it’s never going to affect us. Hurricane Season (June 1st through November 30th) is really the closest we get to a 4th season (the others are Pleasant, Hot, and Really Hot and Humid). But emergency preparedness is not something you can gamble with or ignore. I vividly remember being 8-months pregnant with my first daughter, living in Gainesville, FL, when a hurricane blew in off the coast, steamrolling Cedar Key on its way to visit us. I sat in total darkness in the bedroom of our 3rd floor condo listening to the terrifying sound of the wind howling through the building corridors and convinced that the entire building would be sucked up into the storm. As an expectant mother, I was beside myself when I realized we had very little food in the house, maybe enough water for a day and no landline to call for help. As an 8-months pregnant very cranky, very swollen woman I wanted to march out into that storm and curse it’s name (I can’t remember the name) and demand – you get your act together and get the hell out of town because I want the air conditioning back on and I want the lights on so I can finish reading my stack of parenting books before Talia makes her entrance into the world, so help me God! Luckily, by midday the following day the storm had passed us, and a day or two late the power returned.
Disaster can strike on many scales, be it widespread destruction caused by mother nature or an accidental house fire or flood. We all have insurance for our property and belongings but we must start looking at emergency preparedness as another form of insurance.
Have I overwhelmed you yet? I am overwhelmed and I am the one writing this post! Deep breaths… I have just the thing – a guide book… man, do I love a guide book. The Untrained Housewife’s Guide To Getting Prepared: Surviving Emergencies Without Stress will take you step-by-step (think walk, before you can run) through preparing yourself and your family so you will be ready, in the event of an emergency. Robin Egerton and Angela England have done the leg work and laid out all of the details for you to help you focus and get organized in order to accomplish this crucial task for yourself and your family.
Divided into 3 sections, the book starts with Preparing to Prepare, and I love this, because I am the type of person who needs a solid game plan before I move forward with a project of any scale. My to-do lists have to be organized before I actually start crossing items off the lists. The opening quote from Don Williams Jr., might have to be my new motto, “Despair is most often the offspring of ill-preparedness.”
The book starts by breaking down the must-have items you need to be prepared for an emergency and then tackles the First Priorities, such as, insurance, food and water storage, generators, and my personal favorite – the 72-Hour Survival Kit. My pediatrician has actually preached this concept to me before and each hurricane season I make a little more of an effort, but this year I will make good on my promise to do this. Just the peace of mind alone would be worth the effort.
Section 2, Preparing Around the House, focuses on what you can do in your home to make sure you would be able to survive if you were stranded with out power. The instructions on how to prepare food, properly storing dry food and how to can and store food – including recipes, really take a lot of the guesswork out of this project. And what about clothing? Energy Sources? Sanitation? Not to worry, all covered in the book. Take note of the chapter on Buying Supplies before you rush out and haphazardly grab everything that you think may be useful from your local big box store.
Section 3, Preparing for Action, begins by detailing how to menu plan for 30 days at a time. I struggle with meal planning for a week, let alone a month, but it’s broken down so simply here that not only can you implement it in regards to emergency preparedness, but also in your day-to-day life (or month-to-month as it were). There’s also information on how to begin to live off of your land, or small patio. I strongly urge you to check out Angela England’s book, Backyard Farming on an Acre More or Less, if you want to upgrade your wimpy house fern, to a full blown backyard vegetable garden and more.
The book wraps up by touching on disaster plans and sharing them with your family, health, safety, first aid and even touches on what to do in the event of an unexpected home birth. There are checklists and resources in the back of the book, all meant to make this whole process as simple as possible for you so you can get done what you need to without becoming totally overwhelmed.
Angela and Robin have given real information that readers can easily implement. The peace of mind that you can gain by even just beginning to follow their guidance is worth every penny. Regardless of how you choose to interpret their words, don’t hesitate to take action and prepare your family for surviving an emergency
Full disclosure: I was given an advanced copy of this book to review but the opinions are mine and honest. The links in this post are Amazon Affiliate links.