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Sustainability in an Emergency: Heeding the Counsel to Be Prepared

Sustainability in an Emergency: Heeding the Counsel to Be Prepared

Emergency Preparedness. This phrase can elicit guilt, boredom, or apathy. Some lament, “Why do we have to hear about this topic again?” Everyone realizes the subject’s importance, but it is difficult to determine where to start, making the task overwhelming. A few strategies can convert a reluctant participant into a willing advocate for food storage, 72-hour kits, and financial reserves—the basic elements of emergency preparedness.

Recently, church leaders have counseled to begin with a three-month supply of food rather than a year supply. Once a three-month supply is established, try adding another three-month supply. Breaking the task into smaller increments lessens the financial burden and makes the goal accessible.

Obvious resources for purchasing food are the local church cannery or the church website, These are easy and affordable resources for procuring a three-month supply. Another church site,, offers advice on how to determine the specific needs of an individual or family.

However, some cringe at the idea of buying food from the cannery. Look beyond the cannery, then, for food storage. First, identify what foods are eaten monthly. If four 15 ½ oz. cans of black beans are used for dinners each month, a three-month supply necessitates twelve cans. Use this process to develop a three-month checklist. Rice, sugar, oats, and flour can be purchased in bulk at local retailers or discount warehouses. These items can then be canned for storage as most stakes own canning machines that can be checked out by individual members. Wherever food is purchased, though, adopt the consume, rotate, and replace method. Buy and replace what is needed to prepare the foods normally eaten in the home; this becomes one’s food storage.

Each individual also needs a 72-hour emergency kit. A good checklist can be found at At home, search for the items on the checklist. It is surprising how many of them will be found. If children are in the home, create an emergency kit scavenger hunt for family home evening. This activity allows children to become proactive in emergency preparedness. Once everything on-hand is found, add missing items to the kit each month. In a short time, the kit will be complete.

Additionally, members must establish a financial reserve. Financial experts suggest saving ten percent of each paycheck. For some, this may not be feasible. To help establish a savings routine, borrow two philosophies from the “go green” movement: reduce and recycle. Instead of paper cups, plates, napkins, and towels, use plastic cups and plates and inexpensive cloth napkins and towels. Reusable water bottles can transport water to work, to school, or for errands, eliminating the need to buy disposable water bottles each month. Disposable mop pads can be replaced with a washable mop head as well. Switching to these reusable products could save possibly $20-$25 a month. Transfer this money to a savings account monthly. Even though the amount may be small, the process of saving has begun.

Following these guidelines, a beginner can feel confident when approaching the formidable task of emergency preparedness. And, as goals are met, individuals realize that these tasks are blessings that allow them to live responsibly and comfortably.

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