Simple & Easy – Emergency Preparedness
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By Kirsten Sorenson Mullins

By Kirsten Sorenson Mullins

SEATTLE – The nightmare of two years ago continues to insinuate itself in Rebecca Cole’s mind.

The two years ago when Cole and her family, including two small children, went without power for ten December days. The Coles were virtually trapped in their home, cold and living off their food and fuel storage.

It was December 2006 when a windstorm with gusts up to 69 miles per hour knocked out power and other resources in King and Snohomish counties of Western Washington, those ten days have changes the lives of many living here. Some called it the “Wind-tastrophe.” The storm cut power to about 1.5 million people in the Puget Sound region. Eighteen people were killed, most of whom died of carbon monoxide poisoning in the days following the storm because of improper use of barbecue cookers and generators indoors.

Shortly thereafter, local wards of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints began more intense preparedness efforts.

For example, the Bothell 3rd Ward assigned a member to be an “All is Safely Gathered In” specialist. Sudene Snyder, a well known local expert and her ward’s cub committee chairman, took the helm and monthly sends updates encouraging ward members to prepare. In February 2009, Snyder, in her most recent recommendation, advised members of her congregation to add a sleeping bag or warm blanket to their 72-hour kit. She also referred them to www.ready.gov for tips on being prepared from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

That summer, emergency preparedness kits appeared and then quickly disappeared off the shelves of stores like Costco and first aid kits produced by the Red Cross surfaced on many Christmas’ lists.

The LDS Church’s canneries, not normally a hubbub of constant activity, were suddenly booked up.

It also meant a boon for Susan Taylor-Alling, who has created so many relationships with Washington farmers and ranchers that she is able to procure large orders of fresh produce she shares with those interested in canning their own food, especially of the organic variety. Every few weeks during the harvest season of summer to fall, Taylor-Alling emails her 100 or so buyers with offers strawberries, apples, potatoes, even meat. Anyone is welcome to buy and advised to process their lot within a few days. So soon, pantries from Everett to Bellevue fill up.

It’s an ageless and enduring effort. The March 2009 issue of the Ensign, an LDS Church magazine written for and read by many adult members of the church, focuses on both spiritual and physical self reliance.

An article by M. Russell Ballard, a member of the faith’s Quorum of the Twelve, suggests five principles to becoming self-reliant: finding answers through the spirit, appraising our lives and the needs of others, choosing between good and evil, thinking straight, and seeking the Lord’s guidance.

Cole was energized to bulk up her food storage and spent many evenings at the LDS-owned cannery in Mukilteo adding flour, oats, dried potatoes, pudding and more to her pantry.

This time, during the Northwest’s unseasonable snowstorms of December, when many were again, left stranded at home in the week prior to Christmas, Cole was undaunted and prepared.

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