November 2, 2013

Book guides families on preparing for crisis situations.

By AMY HEGGEN Press-Republican

---- — PLATTSBURGH — Emergency preparedness doesn’t have to be about doom and gloom, and it can take anxiety out of a crisis situation.

Rick Healy, a local author from Peru, recently published the book “How to Survive Katrina and Other Disasters.” 

“Preparedness is a mind-set,” Healy said. “It’s a lifestyle change.”

Everyone lives through some sort of disaster in their life, and the book acts as a tool and a guide for anyone interested in being prepared, he said. It contains practical information and easy-to-follow guides.

Emergencies include earthquakes, power outages, a death in the family, a car accident or a pandemic, among other situations. 

“The more prepared you are, the less fearful you are,” Healy said. “It allows you to think more clearly in a crisis situation.”

Healy has lived through various emergencies and has taught seminars on preparedness. Growing up as a Boy Scout in New England, he saw several hurricanes, though none of them were major.

“In the event of an emergency, you could expect that in 72 hours the cavalry will arrive with resources,” Healy said.

Although he said this isn’t always the case, it’s the basis for the portable 72-hour kit he recommends.

The kit includes supplies that would help suffice for a few days, including food, water, shelter, clothes and medicine, along with other personal items. 

“Most of it I can load up in the car in a few minutes,” he said. 

Children can also have a small pack, he said, with a change of clothes, food and water, and some money. A family picture is also a good idea, in the event of separation. 

“In some ways, you’re going to be prepared for whatever life throws at you,” he said.

The key to surviving a crisis is to be on top of the situation, Healy said.

“Some of the things we have the potential to experience here (in the North Country) could be bad,” he said. “If we had an earthquake up here, we would be isolated very quickly.”

An earthquake would most likely close numerous bridges that lead into and out of the area, Healy said.

“It’s just about taking some effort and putting some time into (preparing),” he said.

Other items can be kept in the house, such as extra food and water, and a battery-operated radio. 

Water is essential, and it’s cheap and easy to keep it on hand, he said. If the power goes out and the pumps aren’t working, water may be hard to come by.

Losing power can also be a concern in the North Country, a situation that quickly becomes more dangerous during the winter months. 

“Up here, it’s important to have a second source of heat; something that can take the edge off,” Healy said.

For more information on where to purchase the book, visit It’s available in an e-book version and at various local businesses for $14.95.