Day 26 – National Preparedness Month Challenge, Building your Emergency Preparedness Reference Library
My husband thinks I’m a bit obsessive about information – maybe he’s right. I have almost an entire bookshelf of reference books and materials on a wealth of subjects. Most of these are self collected articles copied and meticulously organized by subject for easy reference.
Most people use Google, I turn to my “files.” He’s tried to get me to go digital or just get rid of these precious tid-bits of knowledge but I can’t let go of them. My biggest reason – “what if I need that information and I can’t get on the internet?” This quelled him until I got an iPhone (we have no regular internet connection), but I still value those files and books above all of Wikipedia because I know they will be there when all else fails.
Today we’re going to help you build your own obsessive emergency preparedness library. Having the information you need when you need it is a HUGE part of being prepared. Knowledge is power and having that back up of printed information could save you a lot of hassle or maybe even a life.
What Do You Need?
If you Google “Emergency Preparedness” you get exactly 21,200,000 results. Not an easy search to sort through. There is so much out there, some is good, some is ridiculous and some will just plain make you panic (or laugh). You’re probably not going to find everything you need in one book, especially since there are a lot of different aspects of preparedness to cover. In fact there are a lot of topics that may not even come to mind when you think of emergency preparedness but actually help foster self-reliance and security which is essential to good emergency preparedness. So here’s a list of what you should try and cover in your library.
- Disaster specific information
- First aid (not just in your first aid kit, but also in your library)
- Medical information
- Includes home health and alternative medicine
- Outdoor survival
- Edible and medicinal plants
- Building outdoor shelters
- Hunting and fishing
- Purifying water
- Protection from weather and animals
- Camping and backpacking
- Building a fire
- Outdoor cooking
- Emotional and Psychological Preparedness
- Symptoms of trauma and how to cope
- Physical Health
- Healthy eating
- Any health issues related to you or your family members (diabetes, ADD, etc)
- Employment and resumes
- Emergency Sanitiation
- Food storage (long and short term)
- Water storage
- Cooking and recipe books
- Emphasize cooking from scratch
- Your families personal favorites
- Standard substitutes for ingredients
- Should also cover these food storage areas
- Wheat and other grains
- Bread making
- Powdered milk
- Yeast and other leavening methods (example: sour dough)
- Cooking with out power how to’s and recipes
- Dutch over
- Food preservation – Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving is the only book that I believe is a MUST in EVERY library, and it covers all this.
- Jams, jellies, etc
- Cheese making (this is a skill that includes a great deal of supplies and should be purchased and practiced together – just the book is little help)
- Cleaning (homemade cleaning products, soap making, etc)
- Needs to be specific to your gardening zone (first thing to look up)
- Soil preparation
- Fruits, veggies, and flowers (many are edible)
- Harvesting information
- Small space gardening if applicable
- Plant fungi and diseases
- Planting dates
- Keep notes and packets from what you plant and have your own review system. Practice makes prefect.
- Sewing (mending in particular, and another topic that has supplies that it relies upon to be of use)
- If you take a basic sewing class, particularly college, you should keep everything
- Education – especially if you have kids. Their teachers send a lot of what you need home or can help supply you with the proper information.
- Workbooks for relevant grades
- Basic list of vocabulary per grades
- Reading materials
- Math basics per grade level
- Writing supplies
- Home improvement and repair
- Home Safety – parenting magazines are a great source for these
You can find books for each of these topics and some that cover a few or almost all. Either way you want to be sure that these topics are covered some where and some how in your library. Make sure that what you have in your library goes along with skills that you have or plan on developing. (For example, if you don’t sew than you don’t need an advanced sewing book, you need basics of sewing and some lessons.) This list is also a good place to start developing the skills that you’ll need to be prepared. Always remember now is the time to learn and practice, not in a disaster.
So where do you start?
Start by asking your already preparedness crazy friends what books they recommend. Once you have the preparedness bug you get really excited to share it when someone doesn’t think you’re nuts, so you should get plenty of recommendations. Be sure to borrow them if you can so you can see if it’s something that you feel comfortable reading and using (just like cookbooks there are different styles). Only get what you think you’ll use.
The next step I recommend is building your own set of files. I find that I turn to my collected files more than my books. There are tons of great publications that are free and easily available on emergency preparedness. If it comes from the red cross or most government agencies you can bet its reliable, and free.
Check out our Resources page for a list of sites to visit for free downloads. Remember a physical copy is the most important part of your library. Blogs, magazines, and other preparedness sites that you find (and like) are a great way to build your files as well. Our National Preparedness Challenge posts can be printed and organized for great starter library. Our goal is to create a reliable and practical emergency preparedness library for you to purchase and print so you know that you have the best of what’s out there and all in one place.
Another great place to find and gather information is at preparedness fairs. Maybe it’s just because I work the circuit, but there seems to be a lot of popularity for them this year. All of those workshops, booths, and people are great sources. Take a notebook and be prepared to come home with lots of paper. Just be sure that you organize it and put it away.
If you have lots of information on one topic, sort through it for the best pieces and get rid of the repetitive stuff. Once again keep only what you really need. Be sure that any forms you fill out (like the ones for your family emergency plan or checklists) have a blank copy in your files.
Lastly a great way to gather information is to take classes. Like I mentioned earlier, if you don’t know anything about something and you’ve never done it, now is the time to learn it. Look for classes on different topics to learn and practice skills and gather the information to help you create a reference library relative to your skill. Your library is not to be what you learn from at the time the emergency hits (plumbing is a great example of this). The goal is that by the time you need to use the skill your library is there to refresh your memory and supplement what you already know.
Today’s challenge: Build Your Emergency Preparedness Reference Library
Good: Ask a few prepared friends what books they recommend. Borrow a few to look over, and prepare/purchase at least one.
Best: Inventory your current library and see what topics you’re missing and what skills you need to develop. Make a plan for refreshing and obtaining skills and gathering information.
Our Personal Favorites:
Basic Food Storage Cookbook from thePocatelloHomeStorageCenter
An Encyclopedia of Garden Plants & Techniques by Andrew Mikolajski and Jonathon Edwards
200 Easy Homemade Cheese Recipes: From Cheddar and Brie to Butter and Yogurt by Debra Amrein-Boyes
What To Do When Your Child Gets Sick by Gloria Mayer, R.N. and Ann Kuklerus, R.N.
Reader’s Digest Complete Guide to Sewing by Reader’s Digest
Preparedness Principles: The Complete Personal Preparedness Resource Guide for Any Emergency Situation by Barbara Salsbury
The Encyclopedia of Country Living, 40th Anniversary Edition by Carla Emery