What can you do to protect yourself and your family in the wake of a disaster like a hurricane, earthquake, blackout or flood? It could take days after a catastrophe for emergency responders to reach you, so it's important to be able to survive on your own, including having supplies that will last at least three days. Here are five books for catastrophe preparation that can help you assemble an emergency kit and make disaster plans.
Author Peggy Layton, a home economist, offers a practical guide to disaster preparation that outlines what you would need if your power, telephone, water and food supply were cut off for an extended period. Her book, Emergency Food Storage & Survival Handbook, provides 10 steps to an affordable food storage program plus tips for choosing the food you store, and how to use it regularly to keep it fresh. This guide will also help you store water in a safe and sanitary manner, create a first-aid kit, a car kit, and 72-hour emergency kits for the whole family.
Being truly prepared for a short-term disaster requires more than just a few days' worth of provisions for each family member. Author Judith Kolberg explains many of the other steps that could greatly aid in post-disaster recovery like organizing important documents, creating a communication network with friends and family members, listing a home inventory and confirming that insurance coverage is in order. Disaster preparation of this sort will help you get back to normalcy as quickly as possible.
What do you do if you're forced to evacuate your home on short notice? This book by Tony Nester is a guide to creating what's referred to as a 'bug-out bag' - a pack of provisions that's always ready to go, so you can grab it and run out the door if necessary. Nester compiled the information after interviewing people who lived through recent disasters, focusing on gear and supply lists that are both practical and attainable for the average person.
The worst-case scenario is a disaster that is severe enough to disrupt daily life for months or even years on end. While this type of disaster may be the least likely to actually occur, many people wonder what they would do if they had to rely only on themselves and a small community to survive in the long term. Recommended by sustainability advocates and survivalists alike, 'When Technology Fails' is a comprehensive guide to catastrophe preparation which covers food, water, shelter and energy, not only outlining skills and supplies that you would need in the event of a societal breakdown, but also how to live a greener and more self-sufficient life right now.
5. Finally, for those in need of a disaster preparedness resource that's entirely free, there's the Federal Emergency Management Agency handbook "Are You Ready? An In-Depth Guide to Citizen Preparedness." Offered as a PDF download on the FEMA.gov website, this step-by-step guide covers a range of possible disasters including floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, severe storms, blizzards, heat waves, wildfires, nuclear power plant meltdowns and terrorist attacks. Also available in Spanish, the guide includes emergency planning checklists, how to assemble a disaster supply kit, and the ways in which the government may be able to respond to various disasters. Additional free information is available at the website Ready.gov.