Review: Just in Case: How to be Self-Sufficient when the Unexpected Happens, by Kathy Harrison
In Aesop’s fable of the Ant and the Grasshopper, the Ants dutifully prepare while the Grasshopper fiddles away. He scoffs at the Ants, pointing out that food is plentiful and they should have fun while they can. When winter hits, the Grasshopper would have died if it weren’t for the help of the ants. In Kathy Harrison’s Just in Case, we are reminded that a little organization, preparation, and planning can keep our families safe and comfortable when something happens.
Rather than scare us with the ideas that the sky is falling and no one can help up, Kathy Harrison assures her readers that yes, sometimes bad things happen, but not only can you and your family survive, but you can be comfortable, happy, and good neighbors to others. Whether the issue is a rolling blackout because of an overstressed power grid, a harder winter than expected, or even an injury that can leave a family member unable to go grocery shopping for a few weeks, we should know that something CAN and probably WILL happen. It isn’t insane paranoia to plan to keep one’s family comfortable any more than health and car insurance are paranoia.
Though she is far more self-sufficient than most of us will ever be, she assures us that thriving in a snow storm, a flood, or rolling blackouts is within the average family's grasp. Rather than panicking every time we hear a warning and running to Walmart to buy them out of bottled water and canned foods, she give the reader a flexible but clear method for stocking up a home and getting the whole family involved. She reminds us throughout to be one of the good guys--not hording those last-minute emergency supplies and sharing if possible with some of our less-prepared neighbors.
This is a wonderful handbook for any house than needs suggestions on how to make a 72-hour kit, to make sure the kids don't freak out in emergencies, and to keep a family together, safe, comfortable, and well-fed in any kind of emergency. She isn't telling us how to skin animals or set traps or survive in the brush. Use survival manuals for that. She is showing us how to avoid having to stay in emergency shelters or to need FEMA every time Mother Earth goes a little crazy. This book had the added benefit over many other preparedness guides I’ve seen in giving clear ways to involve the kids in planning, preparation, and preparedness. After reading this, I actually felt like I could do those little things you’re supposed to do with the kids without scaring them—my son can now dial 911 for the police, firemen, or doctors. Next step—fire drills.