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LDS Emergency Preparedness

LDS Emergency Preparedness

 

By Michele Edgley

 

 

The Boy Scout motto is “Be Prepared” and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints encourages its members to be prepared as well. With the downturn in the economy, recent natural disasters and unemployment at record rates in many parts of the United States, that advice can be the difference in a family staying self-reliant in an emergency.

 

The Church outlines a three-part plan for families to prepare for all types of emergencies. This plan includes family home storage, a financial plan and an emergency plan. Resources for these plans can be found at www.lds.org.

 

Family home storage includes a basic three-month food supply for each member of the family. We are encouraged to create a store of foods we regularly eat. This can be as simple as adding a few extra items to the grocery list each weekly and storing them. We are also encouraged to store water. Church canneries also have a kit for sale, which includes basics like oil, salt, oatmeal, sugar, water and flour at a minimal cost.

 

The Church also advises families to have a long-term goal for their food plan. This goal is for members to store a reasonable amount of food with a shelf life of up to 30 years including wheat, oats, white rice and beans.

 

The second part of the preparedness plan is a financial plan. Families are encouraged to stay out of debt and begin a savings program. The goal is to save several months of a family’s needed income over time. We are also encouraged to reach our goals by paying off all debts, using a budget, getting necessary education and teaching all family members financial responsibility. We also pay tithes and offerings.

 

The last part of the preparedness plan is an emergency plan. Families should have an evacuation plan, meeting place to gather and means of communication after a disaster. The emergency plan also includes the essential 72-hour kit with basics to keep someone going until responders arrive.

 

This kit should include bedding, a change of clothes, personal and hygiene items, medications, first aid supplies, food and water. It should also include copies of necessary identification and financial documents and money for emergency travel, food or lodging if necessary. Items like a tent and sleeping bags should be stored in an easy to reach area with the kits.

 

Beyond family planning, wards and stakes also have plans in case of disaster and emergency. A preparedness specialist helps the leadership coordinate communications with missionaries and ward and stake members to check on their welfare. Meeting houses can be turned into shelters and Bishops’ Storehouses and member resources are evaluated to meet immediate needs. Members also coordinate disaster clean up.

 

I lived in Idaho during the Teton Dam Disaster in the 1970’s. I remember our ward members calling to warn us and we evacuated. We were blessed not to have any damage to our property but the ward coordinated clean up teams and even as a small child I stood in the kitchen with Relief Society sisters making sandwiches for the volunteers. Few lives were lost due to the quick response and warnings that went out. We may not face extreme natural disasters but we all may experience job setbacks, illness or financial challenges. An emergency preparedness plan is good common sense.

 

 

 

 

 

Word count is 576 and could be trimmed and exclude the ward and stake information if needed.

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