By Arthur Bradley “Author of Process of Elimination”
If you’re like I was, you’re looking through the various disaster preparedness books wondering which one is best. I have worked my way through 7 of the most popular books and offer a shared review of all of them here. I hope this comparison helps you make a decision.
Like many of the disaster preparedness books, this one begins by answering the question, “Why bother being prepared?” It also outlines a framework for being prepared that includes accumulating supplies, getting mentally and physically prepared, and having your finances in order. One thing I particularly liked was the emphasis on the importance of knowledge.
It wasn’t just about what items you need, but also what skills and knowledge you should develop. But this book is mostly about food preparation for a major disaster, with emphasis on having a year’s food storage, milling your own grain, growing sprouts, home canning, dehydrating, freeze-drying, etc.
There are detailed tables showing the calories of various foods including their protein, fat, and carbs. The final third of the book offers advice on other topics, including weapons, hand tools, clothing, energy, medical, sanitation, transportation, communications, and home preparation. The book concludes with a list of recommended books and a brief listing of companies that sell disaster preparation items. Overall, this is a very good preparedness book. I probably should have given it 5 stars, but I thought it went a bit overboard on the food plan. That said, it is the most comprehensive of the preparedness books.
This is another thorough disaster preparedness book, one that focuses more on emergency situations (fire, chemical attack, etc.). It is organized into brief chapters (some only a few pages) on a variety of important topics, including: water, food, shelter, sanitation, communication, transportation, and protection.
It is also filled with many packing lists detailing what you should get in preparation. It introduces the e-kit (a very lightweight kit to keep with you) and grab-n-go bag with more extensive items. Final chapters of the book discuss various possible disasters, including earthquakes, tsunami, infectious diseases, chemical and bio warfare, crime, fire, and extreme weather. Some of the commentary is a bit questionable, but the technical content is good. Note the deficiency with this book is that it does not offer any detail on food storage.
First of all, this isn’t a book. It’s a DVD video. I wasn’t paying attention when I bought it, and was a bit surprised when it arrived. I generally like the Dummies series. They are well researched and serve as a good summary. This DVD offers a lengthy video discussing many disasters (hurricanes, earthquakes, tornados, etc.), briefly outlining how you might prepare for them.
It also has an overview of how you should react in case of a terrorist attack (nuclear, chemical, and biological). But the advice is all very general, and is more like what you’d expect to hear from your local weather station. For example, the video repeatedly advises you to “stay calm” and “evaucate in an orderly fashion.” The videos are high quality, but don’t expect detailed outdoor survival tips or food storage suggestions. Everything presented is relevant and useful, but it feels more like a FEMA public service announcement.
This book is broken into six main sections. The first section offers decent but very incomplete summaries on preparing for short-term emergencies. The second section discusses how to store and purify water. The third part talks about the logistics of setting up a food-storage program, and has some suggestions on how to store food.
The fourth section details what types of foods you should store. The fifth section has blank inventory planning pages. And finally the last section has some recipes. About half of the 285 page book is either blank planning pages or simple recipes. The first half of the book is pretty good stuff, but I found this book to be incomplete. It does however offer some good advice on food storage.
This book goes an entirely different direction than the other preparedness books. Emphasis is on understanding the federal resources (i.e. FEMA, Red Cross, etc.) available, creating a personal intelligence network, organizing essential documents, maintaining insurance coverage, listing a home inventory, preparing your house for disaster, basic first aid, and having a good family communication plan.
There is also a good list of necessary items to have on hand that would suit many common disaster. I recommend this book for its common-sense look at disaster preparedness. However, it is not the only book you would need, because it doesn’t detail food storage, water purification, heating, etc.. That said, it covers some topics that the other books overlook.
This book is almost completely about in-home food storage and preparation. There is little discussion outside that (except for basic water issues). Many chapters discuss food in significant detail, to include things like grains, recipes, preparing sourdough breads/biscuits, dairy products, honey, sprouting, drying of fruits/vegetables. At the end of this book is a huge compendium of preparedness resources, telling where things can be purchased in every US state.
This book offers well-researched insights into disaster preparedness. Topics include water, food, heating/cooking, light, power, communications, medical, sanitation, and security. Those subjects are well done. However, much of the book reads like a bit of doomsday prediction, with many pages devoted to scaring the heck out of the reader… focusing on missile attacks, chemical dangers, nuclear war, radiation, decontamination, communist threat, etc.
For me personally, I would have like to see more pages devoted to likely threats (e.g. hurricanes, floods, earthquake, blackout, fire, etc.). Also note that Amazon may not carry the latest version (updated in 2001), so you may want to buy directly from the author.
Overall, if you can only purchase three books, I would recommend Book 5, Book 6, and either Book 1, 2 or 7. With those three, you should have a balanced look at common sense organizing, food storage, and emergency items to have on hand. If you can buy only one book, I recommend Book 1.