WHAT IF I was frozen inside my house by a blizzard with no heat or electricity? WHAT IF the pipes broke and flooded my whole house? WHAT IF I was 20 miles from home when the earthquake hit? WHAT IF? … I almost sat straight up in bed … could I care for myself for more than a month? … maybe …. I’m disconcerted … I’m feeling anxious … when these feelings overwhelm me I have to stop and take stock … breathe deeply and FOCUS.
Calmer now, I asked myself, IF (when) there is a natural disaster (flood, blizzard, earthquake, tornado, hurricane,fire), or a man-caused emergency (power outage, water contamination, disruption of water supply, disruption of sewage/garbage services, financial downturn (loss of income, stock market crash) or …)
Could I handle such an emergency? (That was the first question.) Well, of course I can … I’ll just take this short
1. Has your family rehearsed fire escape routes from your home? YES – NO
2. Does your family know what to do before, during, and after an earthquake or YES – NO other emergency situation?
3. Do you have heavy objects hanging over beds that can fall during an earthquake? YES – NO
4. Do you have access to an operational flashlight in every occupied bedroom? (use of candles is not recommended unless you are sure there is no leaking gas) YES – NO
5. Do you keep shoes near your bed to protect your feet against broken glass? YES – NO
6. If a water line was ruptured during an earthquake, do you know how to shut off the main water line to your house? YES – NO
7. Can this water valve be turned off by hand without the use of a tool? YES – NO Do you have a tool if one is needed? YES – NO
8. Do you know where the main gas shut-off valve to your house is located? YES – NO
9. If you smell gas, do you know how and would you be able to shut off this valve? YES – NO
10. Gas valves usually cannot be turned off by hand. Is there a tool near your valve? YES – NO
11. Would you be able to safely restart your furnace when gas is safely available? YES – NO
12. Do you have working smoke alarms in the proper places to warn you of fire? YES – NO
13. In case of a minor fire, do you have a fire extinguisher that you know how to use? YES – NO
14. Do you have duplicate keys and copies of important insurance and other papers stored outside your home? YES – NO
15. Do you have a functional emergency radio to receive emergency information? YES – NO
16. If your family had to evacuate your home, have you identified a meeting place? YES – NO
IF AN EMERGENCY LASTED FOR THREE DAYS ( 72 HOURS) BEFORE HELP WAS AVAILABLE TO YOU AND YOUR FAMILY
17. Would you have sufficient food? YES – NO
18. Would you have the means to cook food without gas and electricity? YES – NO
19. Would you have sufficient water for drinking, cooking, and sanitary needs? YES – NO
20. Do you have access to a 72 hour evacuation kit? YES – NO
21. Would you be able to carry or transport these kits? YES – NO
22. Have you established an out-of-state contact? YES – NO
23. Do you have a first aid kit in your home and in each car? YES – NO
24. Do you have work gloves and some tools for minor rescue and clean up? YES – NO
25. Do you have emergency cash on hand? (During emergencies banks and ATMs are closed) YES – NO
26. Without electricity and gas do you have a way to heat at least part of your house? YES – NO
27. If you need medications, do you have a month’s supply on hand? YES – NO
28. Do you have a plan for toilet facilities if there is an extended water shortage? YES – NO
29. Do you have a supply of food, clothing, and fuel where appropriate: For 6 months? For a year? YES – NO
30. How would you communicate without cell phone or computer access? (I just added that one)
I thought my answer would be YES, BUT sadly, my answer is NO. I’m not prepared. Definitely not …
What was your answer?
This is the second question: Now What? (and I suppose this is a third question) How do I start to prepare?
After the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, the LDS prophet Gorden B. Hinckley taught in the October General Conference,
“We cannot provide against every contingency. But we can provide against many contingencies. Let the present situation remind us that this we should do. As we have been continuously counseled for more than 60 years, let us have some food set aside that would sustain us for a time in case of need. But let us not panic nor go to extremes. Let us be prudent in every respect.”
There are many, many reputable books, websites, and businesses that support personal & family preparedness. Remember, you do not have to wear camo, buy a retreat in the hills, or stop living your life to prepare for emergencies, contingencies, or plan B …
It is a wise man that prepares … “by failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail” Benjamin Franklin
Shall we start?
Full disclosure: The Preparedness Test I excerpted from the 508 page LDS Preparedness Manual (which is a free PDF download). This book is written toward an LDS audience, but don’t let any preconceived notions stop you from reading it … MORMONS know how to prepare.