Complete Idiot’s Guide to Disaster Preparedness by Dr. Maurice Ramirez, DO

Posted on: April 18, 2011

I generally enjoy the Complete Idiot’s Guides, as well as the …For Dummies books. Good information, presented in an easy to read format. The CIG to Disaster Preparedness follows the same formula, but fails in a couple key areas.

The book is laid out quite well. Three main parts — The Basics, Detailing the Disasters, and Post Disaster.

The Basics discusses, well, the basics of disaster preparedness. Common elements to most disaster plans, assembling a basic bug out bag (here called a Go-Pak), preparing for special needs (medical or physical limitations), and even preparing your business for disasters.

The second part of the book goes into detail about many different types of disasters. Floods, hurricanes, wildfires, even pandemics and toxic spills. For each type of disaster, Dr. Ramirez goes to great lengths to describe what the disaster is, how it may impact you, and specific steps you can take to mitigate your risks.

The third and final portion of the book is where this survival manual differs from most on the market today. Dr. Ramirez goes into great detail about what to expect once the immediate danger has passed. If you bugged out, at some point you’ll need to return and clean up the damage. You’ll need to deal with insurance companies. You’ll need to get your business back up and running. Dr. Ramirez discusses each of these topics and more.

However, Dr. Ramirez and I don’t quite see eye to eye on a couple of things. First, at one point in the book, he makes an offhand comment about how waiting out a disaster while getting drunk isn’t a bad way to spend your time. I’d disagree and say that getting hammered up is probably one of the worst things you can do during such an event. I believe you need to be as clear eyed and sober as possible so as to act quickly should the need arise.

The second point we disagree with is regards to government shelters. Several of his suggestions seemed geared toward the idea that one is best served by seeking assistance at a public shelter during a crisis. I feel just the opposite — one of the reasons we prepare in advance is to avoid such shelters. After seeing what happened during and after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, I’d have to be pretty darn desperate to head to a government run shelter of any kind.

Overall, the book does have some decent info, especially for those brand-spankin’ new to preparedness. That’s why it is called a Complete Idiot’s Guide after all. There isn’t much here for the more experienced prepper. It does have some excellent discussion on the impact disasters can have on businesses so if you’re a business owner, those chapters might be worth the price of admission.

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