Simple & Easy – Emergency Preparedness
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Emergency preparedness – It’s Not a New Topic

Emergency preparedness … for members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, it’s not a new topic. It is a topic that bears revisiting, especially when events of the last year include record setting winter storms, tornadoes, hurricanes and wild fires.

If you think being prepared is a great idea, but in action you find yourself falling short of the mark, this article may provide the jump-start needed.

Where to start? The church website, www.LDS.org, offers both guidelines and instruction. Readers are told to establish and maintain food, water, and financial reserves. The church also councils a common-sense approach to establishing reserves. Start slow and build as resources allow. The following four items make up a firm foundation…

Three-month Food Supply – this should be made up of items that are part of your daily diet and should be rotated regularly.

Drinking Water – drinking water is an essential part of emergency preparedness. Water quickly becomes a high-demand item when disaster strikes and the water supply is disrupted or polluted.

Financial Reserve – the church advises members to avoid debt and to build up a financial reserve. For those of us struggling in today’s economy, those words of advice may seem impossible to follow; again, the idea is to start slow and do what you can. Even a few coins saved a week, is better than none at all.

Long-term Food Supply – store items such as wheat, beans, and white rice that when packaged and stored properly, can last for up to 30 years. Keep in mind that long-term items should also be rotated when feasible to ensure the food remains a usable resource.

In a disaster, individuals and families should have all the items necessary to surviving, without outside help, for at least three days. Based on individual needs, supplies should include:

Medication and first aid supplies – maintain a two-week supply of both prescription and non-prescription medications and first aid essentials. Keep copies of your prescriptions and medical records. Note: It is often cheaper to build your own first aid kit than to buy one pre-assembled.

Clothing and bedding – keep one complete change of clothing, shoes and a sleeping bag or warm blanket per person.
Important documents such as birth certificates, insurance documents, etc.

Prepare a family emergency communication plan. Establish ahead of time a meeting place and emergency contacts. FEMA’s website, www.fema.gov, offers guidelines and a template for creating emergency contact cards for each family member to carry.

Family demographics determine where “extra” supplies of certain items is prudent. For example, if you have an infant, maintain a stock of diapers and baby formula, as these items often prove scarce in times of disaster. And don’t forget the family pets – store extra pet food and medications and know where to shelter pets before disaster strikes.

Finally, where you live dictates additional items for disaster preparedness. Wood or shutters to cover windows are great for hurricane preparedness, while surviving a winter storm requires extra warm clothing. The American Red Cross website, www.redcross.org, addresses how to prepare for specific events like tornadoes or storms.

The key to preparedness is to not only plan ahead, but to take action to ensure emergency supplies are stocked and well-maintained.

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