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The First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon) has instructed us to have Family, Ward and Stake Emergency Response Plans that can be implemented immediately. This means more than putting together a 72 hour kit - that is only a part of the overall Emergency Response preparation that we need to make.
A 72 hour kit is basically an evacuation kit - but not all emergencies fall into this category. Consider the following levels of emergencies and how your family may plan to be prepared to meet them. Sit down at a Family Home Evening and brainstorm with your family in developing your own family's plans, and take the time to discover and address your own family's strengths, weaknesses, fears, and goals relating to emergency supplies and skills that your family can work on throughout the year.
SEND HELP QUICK!
This is when another area has had an emergency and needs our help. (Example: when Hurricane Andrew hit Florida, 5000 church members came in from other areas to help with cleanup, rebuilding, serving food in shelters, etc. )
Ask yourself, if such a call for help came, how could your family contribute? What skills could you share if you went to help? Search and rescue? First aid? Emotional comfort - listening to and talking with victims? Caring for children? Meal preparation, serving or cleanup? Would you plain be willing to help wherever it was needed? Who in your family could go? Could more of you go, if someone watched your children? Who would it be? What about work? Would you only be able to go on the weekend? Could you take a couple of days off? Could your teenagers miss a few days of school to go help?
What resources could you take that might help? A four wheel drive vehicle? A truck? A trailer? Heavy equipment? A jack hammer, picks, shovels? A wheelbarrow? Tents? Sleeping bags? Your own 72-hour kit for you...
What resources could you send? Food? Clothing? Bedding? Medical/First Aid Supplies? Shoes? Paper products? Infant needs? Could you get up a drive among neighbors, co-workers, or friends to help gather these items? Would you have a system for items that would be borrowed, and need to be returned to their owners? (Marking items with a permanent laundry marker is good, such as: "Please return to:" followed by your name, address & phone number).
If you feel reluctant about sharing your items, consider this: Next time it could be YOU and your loved ones who are hit by a disaster, possibly losing your home and all that you have.....Do unto others, as you would have them do unto you.
Supposing people in another area have been hit by an emergency and had been forced to evacuate to YOUR area. What if your Bishop, (or the Red Cross or other agency) said something like, "We have 300 cold, hungry, tired, dirty, and discouraged people down at the meeting house, in a state of emotional shock for all they've been through. They need places to stay for 3-5 days until better arrangements can be made. How many would you be willing to take into your home?" You think, well we have the one spare double bed, - "I guess 2." The Bishop gives you a look and says, "Now come on, how many can you REALLY take?" Then you think more creatively...living room and family couches, 4 sleeping bags on the floor, extra blankets, "I guess we could take 6-8, Bishop." "Great!" says the Bishop, as he turns to a family and says, pointing to your and your spouse, "Jones family, come here and meet this family, and they will be your host family for a few days."
Plan - how many people could you take? Where would you put them? Do you have extra bedding? Toothbrushes? Food? What could you do to establish privacy - sheets, tarps, hung from the ceiling? How would you include them into the normal flow of your household? Meals? Laundry? Chores? Showers? Family rules - especially for the little ones who may be staying with you? Family activities? Would you ask them to help? Or would it depend upon their emotional well being?
How would you be their friend, and help them deal with their losses, or their worries of the situation? Maybe they are separated from other members of their family and do not know of their status... Would you include them in your family prayers, share your spiritual strength and testimony with them, and pray for them yourself? What if they were nonmembers? What if they had some habits or language that you were not comfortable with? Would you share the gospel with them... would you love them?
LOG CABIN LIVIN'
You have had an emergency situation develop where your electricity, natural gas, running water, telephone, and gasoline services have all been disrupted, but there is not a need for you to evacuate your home for safety's sake. This COULD last from anywhere from 3 days to 2 weeks, or longer...
What would it be like to live in your modern home under such circumstances? What would you eat? How would you cook? How would you see at night? What would you have available to drink? How would you wash - yourself, your kids, dishes, clothing? What would you do about toilet facilities. Baby needs?
What would it be like without central heating in the winter or air conditioning in the summer? How would you get information from the community or your ward? How would you let extended family and friends know you are all right? What would you do if violence or looting problems broke out?
What would do for
or vomiting? How would you clean it up? What about other
or injuries? What would you do with your family for
How would you spiritually strengthen yourself and your family during
A situation has occurred or is about to occur, where you must leave your home to protect your life. What would you take? (This is where the 72 hour kits come in.) Do you, and all family members, know where your kits are and how to reach them? How would you assemble family members? Would you, or anyone else who is home, know where family members are, how to find them, and have phone numbers and addresses?
Does the school/workplace have an emergency evacuation plan? If so, do you know what it is? Where would your children be taken? Would they be released to you? Or a relative or close friend? In case children have to be held at school, does your child have a few emergency items in his/her locker to get them through a night away from home? If you had to leave before all members were assembled, would you have a contact point out of your immediate area where all members could leave messages or go to become reunited? Do you have a second one further away in case the whole area is affected?
(In a more long-term situation, many families were separated in Europe during World War II, never to be able to relocate their family members even after the war. Many said they wished they had made such plans as: No matter where you end up, leave a message at, or go to, the Eiffel Tower. If no luck, continue to leave a message, or go, every 1st day of the month until we can be reunited. If the Eiffel Tower is unreachable go to...)
What if your kids are home without you, babysitting siblings? Or if they have a babysitter, would they know what to do? Could they let you know where they have gone? (Think of Hansel and Gretal dropping bread crumbs in the forest...could a small can of bright neon spray paint be with your emergency supplies, with the understanding that the initials of all leaving and an arrow pointing direction of travel could be sprayed up from time to time if traveling on foot, or another message about intended travel sprayed on driveway or outside on the house? This is one type of graffiti we would be grateful for!)
What if the roads are impassable - very likely possibility - just think of quitting time traffic! Or gas pumps down, or roads broken up or flooded? How would you evacuate if it's needed to protect your life? Could you carry your supplies? Water? What if you have to evacuate outside the city into the desert? In winter? In summer? What if there is an elderly or handicapped person in your family or neighborhood?
How would you get community information? What should you do to secure your home before you leave? Do your children have house keys? Would you even be able to find all family members' shoes in 10-15 minutes? If you had more time than just grabbing your 72 hour kits, what else would you take? Do you have a list of other things and where they are, to be able to take with your 72 hour kits? Are your kits up to date?
What if the emergency was a house fire? Would you be warned by a working smoke detector? Would your family know how to get to safety, and what to do? In an evacuation, would you be able to support and sustain your ward/stake leaders if you were asked to: bring all your food supplies, along with other members, to one location to be divided up according to need? Or to locate to another area or stake? Do latrine duty if camping in a group? Clear rocks to make a clean camp area? Give a talk or lesson for an outdoor meeting? Would you leave your family in another's care if asked to go and help others in a worse situation than you?
This is a sudden, catastrophic emergency that occurs with no warning, catching you and your family wherever you are, whatever you're doing. Probably the most vital factor here is what you KNOW, and what you know how to DO. You may be far from your kits, "How-To" book and supplies. Your grasp of the situation, cool thinking, and swift action may save your own and other's lives.
Would you or your family know what to do if: the dam breaks? The tornado strikes? The floods flash? The heart attack occurs? The fires rage? The chemicals spill? The lightning strikes? The hurricane blows? The earth quakes? The radiation "falls" out? The car crashes? The electricity shocks? The baby falls in the pool? The person chokes? The bleeding gushes? The breathing stops? The terrorist strikes? The Spirit of the Holy Ghost warns?
Teach your family no
what, to pray. Even if it is on their feet, running with their
wide open - pray - and listen to the still small voice, be calm,
and have faith or you may be too emotionally panicked to hear it.
Family Home Evenings are the perfect medium to make your family emergency response plans and to teach your family emergency and preparedness skills and practice them...it can be fun! A family could have a race to locate their emergency kits and head to the park...to find special treats placed inside their packs for refreshments, and for a family game of frisbee from brother's pack. You could have a 5 minute spot every family home evening on some area of preparedness like a first aid skill, or fire building or how to tune in to the emergency station on the radio.
You can increase your family's level of preparedness one step at a time, and share it with your neighbors, too. Make all your planning and preparations as we have been urged by the First Presidency, prayerfully, and in a spirit of calmness, love and wisdom.
STARTER 72 HOUR KITS
Assemble needed items from what you have around the house for each person in the family, then work to purchase other needed items, or upgrade to better suited items for your family's needs. Don't trust any one list for 72 hour kits. None can suit every need and every family. Make kits suited to YOU, while trying to cover the general areas. Assemble the items in a container (such as a backpack) that you can carry long distances in case you are unable to leave in your vehicle. Some suggested items for your kit are:
sleeping bags, "space blankets", insulating pads, night clothes
SHELTER... plastic tube tents, lightweight tents, motor home, poncho, tarp, polyethylene sheeting
FOOD... non-perishable, doesn't require cooking, not too thirst provoking
WATER... 3 gallons per person for 72 hrs., store in smaller containers to transport easily, purification tablets
CLOTHING... comfortable clothing, layers are best, good shoes, poncho, work gloves, bandana
LIGHT SOURCES... flashlights, candles, matches/lighters, fuel , batteries, light sticks
SANITATION... toilet paper, feminine hygiene products, wet wipes, plastic bags, disinfectant
FIRST AID... first aid items, good manual w/kit, KEEP IMMUNIZATIONS CURRENT, insect repellent
PERSONAL ITEMS... toiletries, nail clippers, personal medication, sunscreen, sunglasses
HEAT... matches, camp stove, heat tab stove, canned heat & stove, chemical hand heaters
TOOLS... axe, sharpening stone, cord, shovel, pocket knife, can opener,
VALUABLES... cash, important photos, insurance policies, contracts, passports, wills, Book of Remembrance
ANY SPECIALTY ITEMS... portable radio, compass, map of your area, whistle, aluminum foil, sewing kit, pen & notebook, survival manual, small scissors, dust mask, latex gloves, small recreational items, paper with ID information on each family member w/phone #'s of family & friends, extra pair prescription glasses, scriptures, pillowcase, garbage bags/twist ties.
If you have a baby,
some formula even if you are breast-feeding. You might want
some bouillon cubes. It can make a soothing drink or a soup if
need to feed a lot of people. It also adds needed salt if it is
weather and you're having to exert a lot. Military MRE's (Meals
to Eat) are excellent for your kits. They do not require any
and are high in calories. There are also Emergency Food Rations
are in a vacuum sealed mylar package - about 6 inches square. One
of these packages provides 9 meals. Bring some vitamins for
and children to help supplement what you might be missing nutritionally.
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