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I am an active member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

Preparing for Disaster

by Lora E. Bonham

 

I am an active member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I pay my tithing. I fulfill my callings. I attend the temple. But when the topic of emergency preparedness comes up I usually tend to feel a twinge of guilt. Sometimes I cringe. I know I am lacking in that area! I also know I’m not alone in that feeling. As I talk to friends, family and associates in the church I learn that emergency preparedness is, almost always, an area of improvement. So the big question is…Where do I begin?

 

When I try to take on the full scope of preparedness I become overwhelmed, frustrated and exhausted. I need baby steps to help me through the maze of 72 hour kits, water-supply, toiletries and food to meet the needs of a family of six for one year. I don’t think the Lord intended for my family to run out and spend thousands of dollars on food storage in one month. But I do think He expects us to be steadily engaged in preparing ourselves for the disasters that we have long been told would happen. Elder L. Tom Perry said, “…As long as I can remember, we have been taught to prepare for the future and to obtain a year’s supply of necessities. I would guess that the years of plenty have almost universally caused us to set aside this counsel. I believe the time to disregard this counsel is over. With events in the world today, it must be considered with all seriousness.” (“If Ye Are Prepared Ye Shall Not Fear,” Ensign, Nov 1995, 35.)

 

Last Christmas our, once cow-town, South Jordan, UT received more snow than it has in many years. After being stuck in the powder several times, we finally arrived to Grandma’s house. We spent a magical day there eating ham and Great-Grandma’s fudge, sharing stories of Christmas’ past and watching small cousins play with new toys. On the drive home we were exhausted. As we approached our neighborhood we realized that fire trucks and policemen were blocking off our street. Due to a burning power line, no one was allowed to enter or exit our subdivision. After some thought, we decided to park in a neighboring street and hike through the field of knee-high snow back to our house. As our five year old sobbed, our seven year old scolded, “Just remember the pioneers, Gracie!” Shivering with dampness, we arrived to find our home dark, cold and quiet. For the next 3 hours we sat in what little light we could scramble together and played games. Where were my candles? Where were my flashlights and spare batteries? And for heaven’s sake…what was my plan of entertainment for four small children? This experience woke up my husband and I to the realities of going powerless for hours at a time. It is unfortunate that I had to have this experience, yet it was a blessing. I shouldn’t have waited until my moment of folly. I should have had a plan that would have allowed our day to end as gracefully as it began.

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