I don’t do a lot of book reviews. It’s simple mathematics; there are 24 hours in a day, and I spend 16 of them teaching, writing or mothering. It’s really rare for me to get the chance to read a book, so needless to say when I do get the chance it better be good. Most of the time if I’m not hooked in the first chapter I’m done.
This book is special because I was hooked before the first chapter was even written. Julie Sczerbinski, who blogs over at Home Ready Home (Check out these podcasts with Julie here, here and here), has been a friend for several years and I was often asked what I thought of this or that approach as she was “in the trenches” writing The Survival Savvy Family.
This is not your average prepper how-to book. This book was written for people whose only concept of preparedness is “Doomsday Preppers” and are probably uncomfortable with the word prepper. Right, so what? You’re probably asking yourself. I own the word like a boss, you’re saying to yourself right now. Well, that may be so, but what about your younger sister that keeps calling you crazy for having a food storage, your kids that shake their head every time you mention bug-locations, or the nosy neighbors who think your garden is too big and you have too much stuff in your garage? Of course these are exaggerated examples here, but we all know that someone who just doesn't get it. It’s not that they’re bad un-thoughtful people, it’s just that preppers can be a little intense and, let’s face it, a little uncool. Julie bridges the gap with her book--The Survival Savvy Family. Nowhere will you find the words prepper or bug-out in her book, but trust me all the concepts are there.
In thirteen chapters Julie gently entices people and their families into a preparedness mindset. She starts off by explaining how important it is to have a plan--a family emergency plan. The first chapter is complete with some simple worksheets that help families take the first step to planning for the worst.
Schedule a family meeting to gather everyone together. With my family’s busy schedule, finding 20 minutes where we were together in the same room seemed almost impossible. If you have the same challenge, schedule several mini-meetings. It can be a formal have-a-seat-at-the-dining-room-table gathering or an informal let’s-go-grab-some-ice-cream meeting. Either way, try to make it fun. a plan is just another family conversation. It doesn't have to be complicated or boring.
The next few chapters go through supplies and what is needed to be at a basic state of readiness. Again with worksheets at the end of each chapter to help you move into a state of preparedness. Julie gives examples basic everyday supplies that can be picked up at any box store. There are no specialty items that come coated in camouflage or that are impractical for the average family.
Keep it simple and don’t go overboard. Emergencies are not the time to be preparing a five course extravaganza for every meal. In fact, you don’t even need to have a different meal every night of the week. Remember, you will only be eating this way until the disaster sorts itself out. You want just enough of a variety to meet your family’s needs. Once everything gets back to normal, by all means prepare that five course meal.
Next Julie moves on to basic financial security. Did I mention this book would be a great gift for newlyweds. All the information is in small, digestible, easy to understand chunks, which is great for people who have never considered these ideas before or people like me who are so busy that reading books is a luxury.
There is a chapter on preparedness away from home then Julie moves into things that can go wrong like a power outages, natural disasters and house fires. There are even chapters on home invasions and personal safety. This book would be a great gift for people moving into their first home or starting a family. It’s great for people who are at those little milestones that make you assess where you are in life and take stock of what you have. Because it’s in these moments we want to protect those people and things, and this book helps people think of how to do that in a very informal, friendly conversational way. I’ll admit I’m a bit biased because Julie is a friend of mine, but the reason she’s a friend of mine is that she is one of the easiest people on the planet to talk to; whether she’s known you 10 minutes or 10 years she is genuine and uplifting with everything she says. Those qualities shine through in this book.
Quick! Name two things you have with you every time you leave the house. That’s not too difficult, right? Most of us carry a few items in our packets or purses everyday. We tote these everyday carry items or (EDC) around in case we find ourselves in a pinch. Need some money? Pull out your wallet. Gotta make a phone call? Use your cell phone.
Now, look closely at all the items you carry. What is the purpose of each? Can you think of another use for it? For example, did you know lip balm can help start a fire? Or you can use a mirror to signal for help? Now think about what you could add...
My favorite parts of the book is the attention she gives to bringing kids through an unpleasant situation. In every chapter you’ll find a special section dedicated to helping kids through emergencies. For example in the chapter on power outages she writes about how to keep kids entertained during a power outage. Just these little sections make it worth throwing in a bug-out bag if you have kids. If you don’t have kids this is a great gift to give to those young families that do have kids.
Kids think power outage are exciting for about 20 minutes then boredom sets in. Here are several things to do when you hear the dreaded phrase. “I’m bored.”...
Have you read The Survival Savvy Family? What was your favorite part of the book? Did Julie leave anything out?