Monday, August 4, 2008

Book Review: "Preparedness Principles" and a Chat with Barbara Salsbury

By Nichole Giles

The other day, one of my friends and her family was put on standby for a home evacuation due to an out-of-control wildfire. It was 11:00 pm, and the children had all been tucked in bed, but the fifty-foot flames could be seen from miles away, and had turned in their direction.

She asked the same questions everyone would ask in her situation. “What do I do?” and “What do we take with us?”

Though the answer to that question should be obvious, (take your children and your important documents and get out of Dodge!) the truth is, if we are prepared for emergencies like this, there is no need to panic.

Barbara Salsbury’s book, “Preparedness Principles” is packed full of tips, knowledge, and plenty of ideas for the many “what if” situations life might throw our way. For instance, do you have an easy-to-grab evacuation (or 72 hour) kit? In this book, Barbara gives us pages of detailed ideas of what should go into these kits, how to make them easy to carry, easy to grab, and where to store them.

But that’s not all! This book is 355 pages filled to overflowing with easy to follow instructions on what to do…just in case. From money management how to’s, food storage advice; recipes, and information; guidelines on storing all the basic food groups in a food pyramid; protecting that food from bugs, rodents, and spoiling; a breakdown on disaster types and the supplies and know-how to deal with each one; growing your own mini-garden; emergency cooking options, heating options, sanitation issues, and shelter—this book has it all.

Not only that, if you’re wondering where in the world you’re supposed to store all these supplies, never fear! Barbara has also included an entire section (along with several tips throughout the book) on creating usable, un-wasted space. Have you ever seen a shelving system built onto a closet door? Barbara has, and she’s included the instructions in this amazing book.

To top it all off, Barbara has even included instructions for using a fire extinguisher. (I think I might copy that page and put next to our fire extinguisher for my kids to see.)

I’m telling you now, if you don’t already own this book, you should run—not walk—to the nearest bookstore and buy a copy for everyone you love. It’s a must have for all ages, all stages of life, and all situations.

Even though she’s just been called on a full-time mission to the Conference Center, Barbara was sweet enough to take a few minutes to answer a few questions I threw her way. What a lady she is!

NG: At what point in your life did you start worrying about emergency preparedness?

BS: I think I was born with it being part of my DNA. I’ve not worried about being prepared. I just love the thrill of the hunt, finding the bargains and having the security that I’m doing the very best I can, and trying to learn how to do better.

NG: Sounds like fun! Where did you learn all the information you wrote in your book? (It’s so thick; I can only imagine the research involved!)

BS: A lot of the information came because we have been “the visual ids” for a lot of the chapters. I really have spent years researching to make sure that the ideas I present are valid and not “some faith promoting rumor.”

NG: That makes sense. Tell me, who is your biggest inspiration?

BS: I would have to say my family. I wanted to make sure that my children would/could be taken care of if anything should happen to me. I’ve tried to cover the bases so that they would not have to worry. Now they have gone and gotten married and it starts all over again with grand kids. Dang! J

NG: Oh, boy, I never thought about that. I’m not to that point yet, but before I know it, I’m sure I will be.

If you had to pick one major disaster to be thrown into, what would you choose?

BS: Finding that my chocolate was melting and I had to eat it. Sorry, couldn’t resist. That’s not a fair question, because we don’t ever have that choice. I honestly don’t know. I just wouldn’t want to be alone. That happened in the CA earthquake that we went through. AND IT IS NOT FUN!

NG: No, I can only imagine. Does all your research and knowledge of what might happen make you feel anxious or worried on a regular basis?

BS: No, almost the opposite. I have tried to think of all that I can do, work toward getting ready in that way and I pray that I will have help for all that I can’t do.

NG: Were you raised to be so aware of the “Great What If” or is it something that developed later in life?

BS: No, it was an interest that started before I got married. I came from an unsettled background, so maybe I just wanted all kinds of security. J A years supply of chocolate will do that.

NG: Great idea! I’m adding chocolate to my list right now. What is the one most important piece of advice you can share with a family who is just starting to prepare for an emergency?

BS: Find out what your needs will be, and then consistently, a tiny bit at a time, work toward those goals. Realize that no preparedness program is permanent; the goals will change. Just don’t let the attitude and habits of preparing stop. Realize that it is doable and it is fun.

NG: When you talk about it, it does sound fun. So I’m wondering, of all the food storage you own, what is your favorite?

BS: You need to ask? My husband once bought me a 10# bar of milk chocolate. That has to be it. But my most favorite spot in our house (no matter which one we have lived in) is always my pantry. I love the feeling in my pantry!

NG: If my pantry looked the way yours does, (in the picture in my head) I’d feel the same way. So, of all the emergency essentials you own, what is one you wouldn’t want to live without?

BS: Boy, you sure know how to come up with tough questions. It can’t be just one thing – because preparedness has so many facets. It is NOT just food storage; it’s so much more! I guess the one thing I couldn’t be without is the knowledge that I have of how important it is, which in turn gives me the drive and incentive to keep working hard at being prepared – just in case. That may sound Pollyanna, but we have lived through and survived so much, just because we were able to take care of ourselves – even meagerly in quite a few instances.

NG: Thanks so much, Barbara, for taking the time to share some of your vast knowledge with me. You make preparing for emergencies sound fun and easy rather than intimidating and scary.

I’ll let you get back to your calling. As for me, I’m off to the grocery store to buy that enormous block of chocolate. I don’t have one of those yet, but you’ve convinced me that my family can’t survive without it. We wouldn’t want to go through withdrawal in the middle of an emergency. That would be a true emergency.

Preparedness Principles
Trade Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Cedar Fort Inc. (August 1, 2006)
ISBN-10: 0882908065
ISBN-13: 978-0882908069 Sales Rank: #328,423 in Books

Purchase the book here


Cathy Witbeck said...

Sounds like a great book Nichole, and one that everybody ought to be investing in. Thanks for the review.

Barbara Salsbury said...

Thanks for such a great review Nicole. It is appreciated, especially when the feelings come back that this book will help others. then the years of working on it are worthwihile. :]

Joyce DiPastena said...

I reviewed this book a few weeks ago, and you're right, it's a great book! Everyone should have a copy. I enjoyed your review, Nichole.

Julie Weiss said...

I'll have to check this out. It's nice to have all the information compiled into ONE guide! Sounds like this will do just that.

Mary said...

Its a great book. I'm planning to use it for Relief Society next week. I enjoyed the review. Mary

Nichole Giles said...

Thanks to everyone who commented. Wow, I love knowing so many people are interested in my opinions on matters like this.

Emergency preparedness isn't just a trend, it's a way of life that will at some point in everyone's lives be crucial to survival.