Monday, January 3, 2011

Interview with Arthur Bradley

Arthur T. Bradley, Ph.D., is a father of four, Army veteran, homeschooler, and NASA engineer. Like so many others, Arthur was deeply affected by the tragedy of 9/11. Rather than be consumed with worry, he decided to prepare his family for our world's many dangers. He began by reading nearly every disaster preparedness book on the market. When he didn't find a single book that met his family's needs, he put together a 540-page handbook that he hopes readers will find to be a “complete, well-reasoned approach to practical preparedness.”

Arthur defines a "disaster" as: “A calamitous event, especially one occurring suddenly and causing great loss of life, damage, or hardship.” This broad definition encompasses many potential threats, including hurricanes, earthquakes, pandemics, financial collapse, and even more personal events such as the loss of a job. 

Hello Arthur. I love your website and how every few seconds the picture at the top of the site changes to a new disaster. I sat watching each picture, mesmerized by each photo. For those interested, visit his website. Your book teaches us to prepare for disasters. Please tell us about it.

Thanks! The website is kind of cool. The images at the top are meant to reflect just how many different types of disasters we face. When people hear disasters, they tend to think of the biggies: hurricanes, tornados, floods, and earthquakes. But there are many other equally destructive threats, including flu pandemics, food shortages, riots, and nuclear accidents.

The Handbook to Practical Disaster Preparedness for the Family is just that, a family preparedness guide. It is not written to scare anyone. I firmly believe that preparedness should be motivated out of love, not fear. The book outlines the fourteen basic human needs that every family must meet during any crisis. The most obvious ones include food, water, and shelter, but there are many others, including transportation, communication, and financial security.

I never thought about flu pandemics or riots before. Where did you get the inspiration for your book?

I was a Boy Scout and Army infantry soldier, so I've had the importance of preparedness drilled into me for many years. However, it wasn't until I became a father that I truly felt the need to get ready for hard times. There's something about having others, especially young children, depending on you to push you into action. Now that I've become an official "prepper," I can't see living any other way. Having the supplies and skills necessary to survive dangerous events really gives my family a sense of security.

Some of the most recent major events that come to mind are the Indian Ocean tsunami, Hurricane Katrina, earthquake in Haiti, Gulf oil spill, and floods in Pakistan. The sad truth is that disasters occur on almost a daily basis all over the world. Most people don't realize that the US experiences more severe weather events than any other country on Earth! This is in part due to its large size, the abundance of oceanfront property, the direction of the ocean currents, and our general geographic conditions.

I didn’t know that. Interesting! Are there any “Basic Steps” to getting started?

Absolutely! Everyone likes top 10 lists, so here's mine for basic preparedness:
1. Stock up on consumables, such as food, water, candles, batteries, fuel, etc. But don't think that throwing money at the problem will get you prepared. You can prepare on a shoestring budget if necessary.
2. Start paying attention. Get a weather radio. Monitor local and national events. Be more aware of your surroundings and things that may affect your family. I live by the simple rule: Stay Alert = Stay Alive!
3. Shore up your shelter. Take time to inspect your dwelling to make sure it is in good repair.
4. Put together a small emergency kit for your automobile (see the Auto Kits page on my website
5. Review your insurance policies, and adjust or supplement them as needed.
6. Build up an emergency fund. Most experts recommend a fund capable of carrying your family for three to six months. Yes, this is tough to do, but so very important!
7. Learn first aid and put together a well-stocked kit that you know how to use.
8. Maintain a minimum 30-day supply of important medications and supplies.
9. Create (or join) a network of like-minded individuals committed to working together to survive dangerous events. There is strength in numbers.
10. Consider the special needs of children, the elderly, and pets within your household

What are “Just the Basics” for a roadside emergency kit?

The "Just the Basics" roadside emergency kit is a list of items that every family should keep in their automobile to be better prepared. The list includes: a cell phone and charger, small gas can, folding shovel, battery booster (or cables), flashlight, roadside triangle reflectors or flares, small tool kit, first aid kit, tow strap, notepad and pen, ResQme device, duct tape, windshield scraper, spare tire and jack, warm blankets, comfortable walking shoes, maps or GPS unit, and a few bottles of water.

Now that’s quite a list. I never thought about being that prepared while traveling somewhere. In fact, I travel a lot to teach my workshops. I guess I had better put my “Just the Basics” together before my next trip. Okay, now it’s time to tell us something about the real you that we’ll never forget.

I'll tell you about how I met my wife, Lalia. It's a story that I love to share. On my first day at Auburn University, I walked into the classroom with a group of buddies. We were a little late in arriving and had to scan the room for available seats. Everyone headed to the back, but I took a moment to consider my options. Little did I know that the moment of indecision would shape my life. There were 32 students, 30 of which were guys (such is the life of an engineering student). Of the two girls, one was drop dead gorgeous, long blonde hair, tall and beautiful, and remarkably sitting all alone. I decided to take the seat right behind her and politely introduce myself. It being her first day also, she was incredibly shy, but also seemed happy to be making friends. Once class started, I realized that I'd forgotten to bring my book. Not knowing what else to do, I asked if I could scoot up beside her and share her book. She gave me that million-dollar smile, and said, "sure." And so our love was born. All these years later, I frequently wonder how different my life would be if I hadn't made that simple choice. I should mention that my wife still doesn't believe that I forgot my book. *grin*

What a wonderfully romantic story! I love it. It’s about time I heard something romantic from this question. And it came from a man, of all things!!! Okay, now we know the real you! You’re a romantic at heart, a man of indecision, and sneaky but smart! Why? Because you won the heart of a lady simply by forgetting your book and choosing the right seat!


Anonymous said...

What a wonderful book to help people. I can't wait to get started! I can see this book will be a valuable item in any home. (Nice insight at the end of the interview as well. :)


nicole s said...

Being knowledgeable and prepared for the unexpected events in life can mean the difference between a good or bad outcome. An excellent topic for a book.

Liz said...

I really need to get prepared!

liz.nelson.531 at gmail dot com

Jessica said...

One can never be too prepared. Always best to learn as much as one can.

Jennifer said...

I really like the tip about creating or joining a network of like-minded individuals.
I think it's important to also have some CASH on hand for emergencies. If there's an extensive power outage will the ATM's work????
Thanks for a great interview!
jryder416 at yahoo dot com

Cheryl said...

I would love to win a copy of this book. It is so important to be prepared in today's world.

Thanks for the chance to win.



Christine H said...

I've never been through something so terrible, Thank goodness but I worry a lot about tornado's and loss of a job, Both would devastate us financially or worse. I'd love to win your book!!

Thanks for having the Contest!

Taffy said...

This book looks very interesting! I'm going to learn more and understand better emergency preparedness so I can help my family and others. THANKS!


Heavensent1 said...

I've been preparing but would love to view a book that contained EVERYTHING that I need to know...I would love to learn more...heavensent1@yahoo dotcom

edmontonjb said...

Love the story of how Mr. Bradley met his wife!


Rhonda said...

I am truly interested in reading this book and learning what I need to know

Charleydog said...

With all the disasters happening in the world today, it is wise to be prepared.

pboylecharley AT hotmail DOT com

Linda Weaver Clarke said...

Congratulations, Diana! You're the winner of Arthur's book. I know you'll enjoy it because preparedness is so important. Have a great day, everyone! Don't forget that every Monday we have a new contest.