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Consider the Unthinkable and Prepare for a Lifetime!

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Consider the Unthinkable and Prepare for a Lifetime!

Consider this: It is 3:00 in the morning. You are abruptly yanked from sleep by the sound of a police officer shouting commands into a loudspeaker. His message? A fire has erupted in the nearby forest and is threatening to engulf the town. All residents have twenty minutes to gather a few belongings and depart.

Not likely?

I used to think so. That is, until it happened to me.

During the impossible 20 minutes I had been given to vacate my home, I scrambled through the house grabbing photo albums, coats, clothes, and anything else my panicked mind deemed necessary.

Shortly thereafter, I was trapped in bumper-to-bumper traffic creeping out of town. Inching along, I was slammed with the realization that I had forgotten my wallet! How would I buy food? How would I pay for a hotel room?

In addition, I had neglected scores of important legal documents. How would I ever replace them? I glanced into the box crammed in the passenger seat. Did I really need to bring six cans of creamed corn?

Needless to say, I was ill prepared for that particular moment of crisis.

Emergencies are varied and diverse. They may take the form of an immediate surge of danger or a prolonged period of want. In either case, it is critical to be adequately prepared.

So where does one start such a daunting task?

The First Presidency said this; “We encourage Church members worldwide to prepare for adversity in life by having a basic supply of food and water and some money in savings.”

In the LDS home storage pamphlet, All Is Safely Gathered In, Church members are encouraged to establish a three-month supply of their everyday dietary needs. This is in addition to longer-term storage, which consists of survival-based foodstuffs such as wheat and rice. The pamphlet suggests any supply be built up incrementally. Going into debt to build up one’s food storage is not advised.

Adequate food storage should include properly stored water supplies as well. Durable, leak-proof bottles should be used for this purpose. Both food and water supplies should be rotated often to ensure that items remain fresh and usable.

The impact of a disaster or personal emergency can be compounded by the lack of a financial reserve. The sudden loss of employment can leave one reeling and unable to respond to life expenses. Creating a financial buffer will provide security during the search for a new job and keep the household afloat until a consistent income is restored.

Consider the flooded basement, the damaged roof, or a costly car repair. Such expenditures can wreak financial havoc on the unprepared. Maintaining a financial reserve will reduce the impact of such emergencies and decrease the likelihood of resorting to debt.

Financial preparedness might also include maintaining a small supply of cash. This will provide purchasing power when ATMs and Banks are closed or disabled.

Another component of any family’s emergency preparedness plan is the 72-hour kit. These kits contain supplies that allow an individual to survive for three days. Contents include food, water, toiletries, clothing, medications, etc. They should be stored in an easily accessible place and be rotated every six months.

Additional suggestions for these kits include legal documents, vaccination records, genealogical/family records, and patriarchal blessings.

Being adequately prepared for emergencies has two benefits. Naturally, the first benefit is the safety and provision that such preparedness offers in the face of disaster or want. The second benefit is equally as valuable. It is the peace of mind that comes from knowing one is prepared for whatever might come.

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