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Community Portrait: Author tries to avert disaster through readiness

Auburnite polishes second guide to keeping clean, fed and safe
By: Story and photo Michael Kirby
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Be prepared, as most of us know, is the motto of the Boy Scouts. If you’re going on a wilderness adventure, there probably isn’t any better advice. Matches, extra food, a first aid kit, a rain tarp, sharp knife, a warm sleeping bag and tent, and a good cook kit are all good ideas on a campout. Auburn’s Howard Godfrey has taken preparedness one big step further. Godfrey published a book, “Emergency Preparedness — The Right Way,” in 2009. His guide is filled with emergency preparedness ideas and is a how-to to prepare for a man-made or natural disaster. He has a second and more comprehensive book on emergency preparedness due out in a few months. Godfrey believes that being prepared for any emergency, large or small, is a good idea for all households. He has a diverse background in fire service, law enforcement and construction and is now retired. Godfrey researched and studied emergency survival and has written a simple but comprehensive book on emergency preparedness. It covers planning for an emergency, water purification and food storage, cooking, what to do if the utility grid is down, which affects home heating and lighting, medical supplies and sanitation. He also outlines everything that should be included in personal 72-hour emergency kits recommended by the American Red Cross and Homeland Security for disaster preparedness. Plans to make a simple iceless refrigerator or a solar oven are included in his book. Numerous ways to obtain and treat water are explained, water probably being one of the most important commodities in a disaster. A reference list in the back of the book is a source for vendors who supply emergency products. Recent disasters have shown us the importance of having emergency supplies on hand. The Katrina disaster, and more recently the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, are just a few examples where preparedness would be vital. Godfrey’s interest in the subject was first encouraged by the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-day Saints, which he has belonged to since he was a teen. “As a result, for years I had been involved with this at church and decided to write a book, but it’s designed for everyone,” he said. Godfrey believes that extra food storage and preparedness is not just a good idea for a disaster but could be useful for a personal setback like the loss of a job or illness. “With the uncertainty of today’s world it just makes sense,” he said. Many of the techniques described in Godfrey’s book have been used in developing countries for years, especially water purification methods where finding clean water is a daily struggle. “There are a lot of techniques that have been developed for Third World countries that in America we don’t know about because we have had no need to,” Godfrey said. Many manufacturers of survival and emergency products send their designs to be reviewed by Godfrey, and he also has started a preparedness blog. “I had never written a book before. It was a matter of putting down on paper what I already knew, and doing additional research, I learned a lot, and my second book will be better than the first,” he said. “I’ve done fairly well with it, it sells pretty good.” Godfrey lives in Auburn with his wife, Bonnie. His current book and new book, when published in a few months, are marketed through Amazon.com.