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VINE VOICEon December 6, 2009
I wrote a review of the earlier edition of this book, which can be seen here: [...] Relatively little has changed in the new edition, and my earlier review remains valid, so I will not rehash it here.

What's new in this edition:
- better chapter on food storage, with a table of shelf life of various foods
- new chapter on urban gardening (which is interesting although slightly strange)
- updated lists of recommended products and websites
- slightly reordered chapters, and minor edits here and there

After reading quite a few survival books and online resources, I find this to be the best book for preparing for Katrina-style disasters, meaning temporary but very disruptive, especially in urban areas. I live in a disaster-prone urban area and I find this book useful. The author covers various natural and man-made disasters.

The next best alternative to this book is the LDS Preparedness Manual for members of the Mormon Church, which you can find for free online. The Mormon guide is in some ways better than this book. It tends to focus way too much on food storage (although it covers plenty of other topics) - and it is not as convenient to read as this book. If you are interested in this topic, check out the LDS Preparedness Manual since it is free.

Bottom line: Highly recommended to city dwellers. It will help you get prepared for potential disasters.
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on March 5, 2010
These books seem to be either for beginners or for more advanced people, and deal more with "everyday" disasters (where you have to survive between a few days and a few weeks) or with long-term disasters where you have to survive for the long-term (like collapse of government). This book is a disappointing mishmash of each of these. So while it has a lot of useful information, I think beginners won't find this book very useful because it's not focused on beginner issues, and it will be very hard to prioritize. Advanced people won't want to wade through the basic information to get the parts that are more advanced. People preparing for short-term disasters don't need information on long-term survival, like building trench latrines, and people preparing for long-term disasters don't need information on storing short-term supplies of food and water, etc.

One example - the section on shelter. It addresses 3 options - a tent (I didn't need a book for that idea), a geodesic dome (I don't know what it is and am pretty sure I won't build one, but this book wouldn't help me anyway, since it doesn't actually tell you how to make one, though it did inform me that they use them at Burning Man...) and how to live on the streets in a city or in abandoned buildings (I got this book so I wouldn't have to live on the streets!). It completely omits other shelter solutions, like using things available in nature or that might be salvageable or in your emergency supplies. The Lighting, Power and Heating section has good information on hand crank lanterns and solar, but somehow doesn't discuss fire making at all, and also spends a page on how to make a wind turbine, which obviously isn't for the beginner or short-term emergency. The sections on food and water, on the other hand are good and have good basics but don't deal with long-term food and water needs.

The section on earthquakes has some good practical advice about how to prepare for an earthquake (slightly more sophisticated than bolt stuff to the walls, but still common sense stuff) and how to handle the immediate aftermath, but there is not much specific information on what supplies you might need that are different than the generic disaster kit or how your preparation should be different (for example, where should you keep your disaster kit, since an earthquake is particularly likely to render your house unsafe). So the section is good, but not comprehensive (though obviously not every specific disaster section could be comprehensive). I imagine the sections on other specific disasters is similar.

Because there's such a mishmash, you have to be fairly knowledgeable to plow through all the information to decide what is practical and what isn't. To put together a "proper" emergency preparedness kit according to this book would probably cost $10,000 or $15,000 and would require that you have a spare 2 car garage to store it all. There are some good ideas here, but this book alone won't prepare you for a disaster and can't be used to prepare a basic, solid emergency kit unless you already have quite a bit of knowledge and really need more of a reminder and some suggestions.
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on May 26, 2010
I'm a complete novice when it comes to Emergency Preparedness and I highly recommend this book. For the reviewers who are complaining about the book not being able to focus on information for the novice or information for the advanced, I think they are viewing it through the wrong lenses. The people who are making the complaint already have the mindest for Emergency Preparedness and the knowledge base to differentiate the information. This book is for beginners and novices who are walking around thinking water is always going to be running and atm machines are always going to spit out cash and electricity is a natural right and not a service. This book is a wake up call and I strongly recommend every family to purchase it immediately!
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on June 27, 2010
I have read a couple preparedness books like this recently, and this was head-and-shoulders above the rest of them. The content very well thought out, and presented by an expert among experts on this subject (see his Wikipedia article at [...].). But, the content alone isn't the only thing that sets this book apart from other titles on the topic. It is also very well organized, editted, and polished ... which isn't just gloss. This makes it easier to read, understand, and easily flip back through for use as a reference material. After reading it, I ended up buying 3 copies of the book to give out to some other people ... just because it was so good I wanted other people to get their hands on it, even if I had to pay to do it.
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on March 10, 2011
Having a ranch/farm in a remote location, 20+ miles off-grid, I have become somewhat of an expert on survival/self reliance myself. I know what works- and what doesn't. Mr. Edwards is another urbanite making a living writing books on subjects that he has little real knowlege of. He reccomends many very expensive, brand-name products- I wonder if he received free samples, or some payment for such flagrant advertising! While there are a few good tips in his book- and a few good sources for supplies, if a family of 4 were to follow his reccomendations, they would spend MANY thousands of dollars every year on food alone! And- need to rotate and use it, every year!
For less money than he reccomends spending on a one-year survival plan, I bought 640 remote acres, and developed a "home away from home"- complete with a hidden, safe, four year supply of staple foods and spices, that will safely store for 20-30 years.
Stick with the LDS Preparedness manual, and the J.W. Rawles book- they are far more practical, for a real family, who wishes to prepare for emergency situations. I'm sorry I wasted the $12 on this book.
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on April 7, 2012
The book desperately needs an index. The checklists are reasonably good, but if you want to find out more info on any specific item you'd better be good at skimming because there is NO index to guide you to more info. I have the "Expanded and Revised Edition", 2009. The book directs you to to download checklists but they must have lost or sold that domain name because there are NO checklists there, it's just a "come-on" site for other advertisers. The book is still worth the cost for the good ideas you can get from it.
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on May 28, 2011
I have been displaced by the 500 year flood in Iowa '08, and go through ice storms and power outages every single winter. I have bought, read, and reviewed a few urban disaster preparedness books now, including Handbook to Practical Disaster Preparedness for the Family by Arthur Bradley, When All Hell Breaks Loose: Stuff You Need To Survive When Disaster Strikes by Cory Ludin, and even The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse by Fernando Aguirre.

Those are all great books, but if you want to buy just one, I suggest this one. It has the basic info of Bradley's book, less psychological prep than Ludin, and may be easier to conceptualize for people living in the US than Aguirre's book. I felt that this book was really practical and to the point like Bradley's book, but much more pared and succinct. It also had information that was lacking in the other books that I was curious about like sanitation, as well as practical information that you should know in every day life, like how to escape from a fire. I also felt that Edwards, as the founder of the non-profit International Preparedness Network, was really an expert in urban disaster preparedness.

My .02 on the less than five star reviews: I agree that some of the info was extraneous, like the suggestion on building a dome house, but that was just an idea and it was brief. The woman who brags about living on her ranch "off-grid:" this practical book is not for you. Everyone else: yes you DO need to know how to escape from a flood, a collapsing building, or fire. It's a whole lot more than "duck and cover."
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on January 9, 2016
I bought the original version in 2006 and learned an awful lot. Edwards knows this stuff forwards and backwards. I've just started on the revised version but it's from 2009. I wish he's do a minor revision even if only to update which products he recommends. Some, like the Eagle War Bag backpack and Brunton Helios lighter aren't available anymore. But if you want a compact but utterly thorough guide to preparing for almost anything, Edwards is the go-to guy. His website is good too.
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on October 23, 2009
This book has it all. Anyone who thinks they may every face any disaster should have this book in their library. It covers every thing from man made to natural emergencies. Being an insturctor fromer instructor in emergency preperation this book is a perfect text on the subject. Higly recommend.
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on August 9, 2013
This book begins by telling you all the pants-crappingly horrifying things that can happen to you while you live on Earth, such as meteor impacts. There are just too many uncertainties in life to list them all, but the author sure does his best. It seems a bit unnecessary and even alarmist to tell people more things to be scared of, including the most terrifying event, "The Black Swan", named after the now-famous book, which is an unknown, unlikely event that will probably shatter our civilization into little bite-sized pieces apparently. The author goes on to suggest that everyone carry AT ALL TIMES, among (many) other items, a smoke hood and a mini pry-bar. There is a short chapter on how to defend your home against burglars that suggests making booby-traps with shotgun shells or pepper spray, which I admit sounds fun, kind of like something an older Kevin from Home Alone would do.
There is also a rather out-of-place chapter that suggests that the geodesic dome is the house of the future. It is obvious that the author has not personally used some of the advice he so freely dispenses, e.g. he advocates using a bed pan filled with kitty litter if you are too frightened to leave your automobile and taking chlorophyll pills to make your doo-doos smell better. The author has pretty clearly been traumatized by events in his life, including house fires, a near-mugging, and 9/11. If for some reason you have no other preparedness reference available, ever, then I suppose this book is better than nothing, but there are plenty of better sources available, including How To Survive The End Of The World As We Know It by John Wesley Rawles or Survival Mom by Lisa Bedford.
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