Monday, July 26, 2010

Call me a pessimist...

I love reading about disaster preparedness. There's something comforting about an expert's reassurance. Everything will be alright.

Almost every title I've read warns not to use a single book as a be-all/end-all survival guide. I agree; each title has its spin on what defines 'survival' and what defines 'disaster'. The following are titles I recommend for various reasons. Three of these I have in my personal collection.

SAS Survival Handbook: how to survive in the wild, in any climate, on land or at sea by John "Lofty" Wiseman

This is the most important survival book in my collection. Its been in print for over 20 years, with plenty of updates about technology and techniques. It teaches you a lot about a lot, from star navigation to game cleaning to building an igloo. It is formatted like an academic text book but written like an easy pocket guide.
I take it with me when ever I'm out of the city.

Survive!: essential skills and tactics to get you out of anywhere, alive by Les Stroud

This is also in my collection, and if you know of 'Survivorman', then you know Les Stroud has experience. His book is for survival in the wild, whether the frozen North or a tropical forest. The only thing he doesn't cover is when the threat to your safety is other people.

And he's Canadian, so that's going for him.

Your Survival: the complete resource for disaster planning and recovery by Bob Arnot and Mark Cohen

This book is handy for home-owners and urbanites, and works best as a personal copy. Various forms and pockets are provided to tailor your emergency plan to your specific needs, whether you face specific threats (earthquake, fire, hurricane), or if you have unique requirements (medical, children, disabilities). The book approaches survival broadly, but comes with a 90 minute DVD.

Just in Case: how to be self-sufficient when the unexpected happens by Kathy Harrison

Where "Your Survival" leaves off, this title takes off. My favourite portions combine to form what I call 'disaster cookery'. She offers tips on water supplies, gardening, canning, cheese making, and a variety of cooking methods, including solar ovens and wood stoves.

Preparedness Now: an emergency survival guide for civilians and their families by Aton Edwards

Now take "Just in Case" and go further. Assume the world is crumbling and at some point soon will collapse. Do you have all the supplies, technologies, weapons and skills necessary to protect your loved ones? You've prepped for fires and floods, but what about, terrorism, Bird Flu, nuclear fallout, and rioting?

When Technology Fails: a manual for self-reliance, sustainability, and surviving the long emergency by Matthew Stein

This is the prize of my survival collection. Nearly 500 pages on every aspect, including: short-term, long-term, and on-going disasters; self defense techniques; ham radio and other communication formats; water filtration, pasteurization, desalinization and purification (with household supplies!); permaculture theories, including urban farming. Further, his recommendations for tools and supplies are extensive, well thought out, and presented for every financial situation.

When the end of the world comes, "Technology Fails" and the "SAS" will be in my back pack, next to the first aid kit.

1 comment:

  1. I read the SAS Survival handbook. It had me captivated with its morbid ingenuity. It was kind of like falling into a trap - I couldn't get out of it, even though I wanted to.

    The same thing happens when I read spoilers for horror slicks on Wikipedia.