September is National Preparedness Month... Are You Ready?

September 14, 2020 | Denise

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Growing up, I was very involved in the Girl Guides so "Be Prepared" was a phrase I heard often*. They're good words to live by, and ones I have taken to heart over the years.

Group of Girl Guides
This group of Girl Guides definitely knew how to be prepared. They are all receiving the Canada Cord award, the highest honor a Guide can earn. (Humble brag: I earned this award too!). Toronto Star Photograph Archive.


It's interesting to find out the different priorities people have when it comes to being prepared. As someone who is perpetually cold and/or hungry, I've pretty much always got a snack and a sweater with me. I have been known to carry a long-sleeved shirt with me during a heat wave...just in case. For other people, it's having an emergency kit in their car, a case of bottled water in the basement or carrying an extra pair of shoes or underwear with them wherever they go. In some cases, it's a particular action or routine like checking for emergency exits. These are the little things that make us feel a bit safer as we move through the big, wide world.

Of course, when we think of preparedness our thoughts often jump to a particular kind of person: the wilderness survivalist. This is the person that can purify water, start a fire without matches and knows which mushrooms will kill you. And that certainly is a type of preparedness, but it's far from the only type. You can also prepare for a big exam, for your retirement or for a family vacation.


*For those not familiar, "Be Prepared" is the motto of the Guides and Scouts organizations around the world. It’s also the title of a very popular song from The Lion King.


In honor of National Preparedness Month, let's take a look at some of the books that help us prepare for the big and small things in life.

Preparing for the Wilderness 

Before we move on to the everyday types of preparedness, we'll start with the go-to preparedness books: the ones for surviving in the wilderness. 

Cover image of Swiss Army knife camping & outdoor survival guide : 101 tips, tricks & uses

Swiss Army Knife Camping & Outdoor Survival Guide by Bryan Lynch

"This handy reference shows how to use the iconic red multi-tool to handle 101 different emergency situations. From starting a fire and making a shelter to catching a fish, building a stove, or applying a splint, discover why the SAK is a must-have for everyday carry."


Cover image of Bushcraft illustrated : a visual guide

Bushcraft Illustrated: A Visual Guide by Dave Canterbury

"Before you venture into the wilderness, learn exactly what you need to bring and what you need to know with this ultimate outdoor reference guide, by survivalist expert Dave Canterbury."


Preparing for the Everyday Disaster

The wilderness might be a scary place but just getting through day can sometimes be a struggle too. Here are some tips and tricks for the hiccups along the way.

Cover image of Everyday survival hacks : quick fixes to save time and money and avoid daily disasters.

Everyday Survival Hacks by Reader's Digest

"This fun yet practical guide includes more than 500 quick tricks to save money, time, and hassles with your home, food, relationships, and more."


Prepping 101: 40 Steps You Can Take to Be Prepared: Protect Your Family,  Prepare for Weather Disasters, and Be Ready and Resilient when Emergencies  Arise: Harrison, Kathy: 9781612129570: Books -

Prepping 101 by Kathy Harrison

"This friendly and highly accessible guide introduces the most important, practical steps your whole family can take to ensure survival in short- or long-term emergencies."


Preparing for New Life

Disasters aren't the only things in life that need preparation. I've been told that there are one or two things you should probably do to get ready for a new baby.

Cover image of Why did no one tell me this? : the doulas' honest guide for expectant parents

Why Did No One Tell Me This? by Natalia Hailes and Ash Spivak

"By addressing common fears, incorporating regular tips for partners, and providing information on a wide array of birth and parents styles, this unique and inclusive guide is the perfect tool for a new generation of parents."


Cover image of Mayo Clinic guide to your baby's first years

Mayo Clinic Guide to Your Baby's First Years by Walter J. Cook and Kelsey M. Klaas

"A complete guide with practical information and support for parents of children from newborn to three years old, by childcare experts at the renowned Mayo Clinic. Written by doctors who are also parents."


Preparing for Retirement

Skipping over a few decades, let's look at another major life stage that requires some preparation.

The Sleep-Easy Retirement Guide by David Aston

"This book will help you: answer the big, burning financial questions that keep you up at night; achieve concrete and practical solutions; and find the peace of mind to live out your retirement dreams with confidence."


When We're 64 by Louise Ansari

"Filled with expert advice and new evidence and tips on how to age well, When We're 64 is an eminently readable light-hearted look at how to plan and prepare for what could be the best years of your life."


Preparing for the Grave

I know it's grim and awkward and most of us don't like to talk about it but death is a reality we need to prepare for. Having your affairs in order can make the situation much less stressful and overwhelming for your grieving loved ones.

Write Your Legal Will in 3 Easy Steps by Tom Carter and Elyssa Lockhart

"This kit has everything you need to plan your estate, make decisions about how to divide it, and write your own legal will."


Cover image of Inheriting clutter : how to calm the chaos your parents leave behind

Inheriting Clutter by Julie Hall

"Hall provides trustworthy counsel on how to: Divide your parents' estate with peace of mind; Minimize fighting with siblings during the estate settlement process; Clear out the family home in thirty days or less; Identify potential items of value in the home; Have "that conversation" with your parents; Prepare your own children for the future."


Preparing for the Zombie Apocalypse

It wouldn't be a complete list of preparedness books without a section on the zombie apocalypse!

An Ethical Guidebook to the Zombie Apocalypse by Bryan Hall

"Covering major thinkers such as Aristotle, Immanuel Kant, and John Stuart Mill, this is an introduction to Ethics like no other: a practical guidebook for surviving a zombie outbreak with your humanity intact."


Cover image of The maker's guide to the zombie apocalypse : defend your base with simple circuits, Arduino, and Raspberry Pi

The Maker's Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse by Simon Monk 

Also available as a video talk by the author!

"A collection of DIY hardware projects using circuits, Arduino, and Raspberry Pi to store electricity, detect invading zombies, generate solar power, and create communication and surveillance devices. Projects include alarms, low-power LED lighting, an FM radio frequency hopper, a periscope, a wind turbine, and flash, movement, and noise makers."


And there you have it! You're ready for everything life throws at you. Ok, maybe not but you're off to a good start at least. Just remember the Guiding motto: "Be Prepared!"