"EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS — THE RIGHT WAY," by Howard Godfrey; $14.99, 141 pages.

Howard Godfrey's emergency preparedness book is not your usual "store a year's worth of food and fuel" book.

It's more like the tough love version of an advice manual.

For instance, right off he predicts the United States will suffer a nuclear incident.

Then the page that asks, "Will you eat a rat?" stops the reader in his or her tracks.

"Will you eat a rat?" is a legitimate question, writes Godfrey. "If your answer is no, you are not mentally prepared to survive."

Godfrey, 67, who is an experienced firefighter, a California state fire marshall and retired U.S. Air Force officer, goes on to explain that in the military men are taught never to miss a meal no matter how bad the food.

"In a real survival situation when you are short of food, you have to eat anything and everything," he said.

He goes on to discuss storing rat poison and insect repellant and learning to watch for and guard against roundworms.

Godfrey's book is small but packed with practical, no-nonsense and in some cases, not-so-politically-correct advice.

(For instance, Godfrey suggests keeping quiet about how much storage one has so as not to trigger a run on the supply in a disaster. He does add that if it's necessary to share, consider expanding what one stores or trading for goods rather then just giving precious commodities away. He discusses planning for alternative sources of toilet paper and making a toothbrush out of a chewed twig.)

His advice is great when it comes to keeping things sanitary and safe.

"A good flashlight can save your life," is one example of his sound advice.

"Top Ramen noodles are not well packaged — bugs can get in," is another.

He acknowledges that a monotonous diet will not sell well with young children and bulging cans that may contain food contaminated with botulism should not even be touched.

He suggests storing $100 in one-dollar bills and adding a family photo to everyone's backpack in case the family is separated so officials can help them find each other.

Some of the advice seems off the wall at first blush: Gathering, crushing and using acorns for everything from eating to doing the laundry, tanning hides or easing the itch of skin rashes.

Use cayenne pepper to chase away cockroaches, ants and mice.

Though not as sweet to read as some food storage manuals, this book has some value.

Godfrey's frank look at real possibilities could prove to be invaluable., i.e. "I operate on the assumption that whatever happens will occur at midnight on the coldest, wettest night of the year. If you are prepared for this, anything else will be easy," he writes.

Godfrey is the first counselor in the Auburn 1st Ward in the Auburn California Stake.

Copies of the book are available on Amazon.com for $14.99 or from the author: Howard Godfrey, P.O. Box 3214, Bowman, Calif., 95604.

e-mail: haddoc@desnews.com