I know, you see preparedness and think boring.  But please don't stop reading!  We had one of the most interesting emergency preparedness lessons at church today.  The couple who spoke to us, the Bills,  had experience with the need to be prepared for a disaster.  They lived in Dade County during Hurricane Andrew and had to evacuate their home.  When they returned to their home it was a mess and they had to live without electricity for 5 1/2 weeks.

Some of the most important and interesting items they covered were these:

72 hour kits - You've heard about them, know you should have one and feel guilty that you don't have one or that the one you do have has diapers in it although your youngest child is 22.  The Bills had an up-to-date 72 hour kit that they had packed into a trunk and a garbage can but the kit was too big and cumbersome to move.  They had five children under the age of 11 and there was no way for the children to help move their 72 hour kit.  Since then they have gone to having a small back pack for each family member filled with first aid items, clothing, lighting etc.  The food is kept in bags.- click here to read about this different storage method.  When there is an emergency each person grabs their backpack, one or two food bags and two soda bottles of water that are linked together with a strap making it easy to throw over your shoulder.

Water is always one of the most important things to have in an emergency.  One of their most successful ways of storing water was to fill milk jugs with water and then put them into their large freezer.  The water would stay fresh and help to keep the freezer cool when the electricity went out.  Not to mention there is nothing better than a cool drink in the middle of an emergency situation!  I remember this lesson well from when my husband and I experienced Hurricane Gilbert while visiting family in Jamaica in 1989.  I remember thinking I would give anything for some ice.

Light - Laterns are great for large areas and flashlights are nice as long as the batteries last.  Pack lots of light sticks for children.  Not only do they provide the comfort of some light for them but they are safe and provide hours of entertainment as light sabers.  haha

Cooking - They loved that they had their camp stove with lots of fuel because they didn't have electricity for 5 1/2 weeks and next to a cool drink of water, a hot meal is wonderful - especially as the freezer melts and you need to cook up all the meat in there before it goes bad.

Clean Up - Be prepared to clean up because there will be a lot of mess.  Have lots of rubber gloves and garbage bags.  Garbage services will not be restored right away and there will be a lot of garbage laying around and a lot of animals that want to get into it.  Also have clothing that you can wear during the clean up that can be tossed afterward.

Mental Health - Treat the event as an adventure and don't panic.  If Mom and Dad panic then the kids will panic and no one is going to do well.  Talk about your adventure as a family and don't be afraid to reach out to the counselors that will be available through the schools and community.

Service - If you are prepared you will be able to help others.  Reach out and help those around you.

Have faith, hope and charity.

Listen - The Bills told a story I remember hearing them tell before about a duck and her ducklings.  I hope I remember it correctly.  The Bills' children had seen a duck with her ducklings around the neighborhood before the storm and they were very worried about them.  The kids wanted their parents to find the ducklings and their mother to keep them safe.  Sister Bills said she was too busy trying to prepare her own family to worry about tracking down ducklings.  A few days after the storm they were delighted to see the mother duck and every one of her ducklings waddling down the street.  The mother duck had listened to the Lord and did what it took to protect her babies and they all made it through.  The Bills encouraged each one of us to listen to the word of the Lord through our Prophets and prepare "every needful thing"  so that we can be prepared and make it through the storms ahead.


Jane Babcock said…
I remember hearing their presentation. They do a good job. Very relevant advice for us here, especially during hurricane season.

People have told us that the power goes out often, but we haven't experiences it as much as I expected, except during hurricane season which thankfully doesn't last all year.
Terina Dee said…
Thanks for this. My sister recently needed her backpack 72 hr kit, she grabbed it to go to the hospital with her hubby who had just had an accident. Three days later she went home. She couldn't have functioned on a restricted diet without contact lens solution and no cash to drive home. P.S. They cut all your clothes off, then send you home?

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