Friday, November 2, 2007

Disaster Preparedness: Preparing to Provide Refuge

So you think because you don't live in a flood plain, near a river, or in a probable path of a wildfire, tsunami, hurricane, earthquake or tornado, that you are exempt from being prepared? Think again!

Every natural disaster has a crisis zone where victims experience the horror of life threatening danger. All around a crisis zone, others are affected by less dramatic traumas and challenges--power outages, flooding, a breakdown of infrastructure, a run on banks and stores, and a lack of services. Evacuees and refugees fill the roads, the Home Depot, the hotels, supermarkets and line up at ATM Machines.

Those escaping storms and fires evacuate to safe havens. Even if you live in an area far from a disaster zone, that disaster can affect you. Consider a few ways your home might be affected in a disaster. There are things you can do to provide a safe haven for your family and others:

1. Electrical outages occur far from the initial disaster site. After Katrina, evacuees thought they would be safe 50 miles away; the power went out there too.
  • Think Water. If there's no power many do not have a way to access water.
  • After a hurricane, tropical storm or flood, mosquitoes seem to multiply at 10 times the usual rate. If your power is out and it is summer, you won't want to sleep with the windows closed. Be prepared for good screens for all windows and doors or with mosquito netting or other loose weave fabric that can be taped or stapled around windows and doorways.
  • Consider investing in a generator. They come in handy during power outages and brownouts throughout the year.
  • Purchase glow sticks. Place them in every room in the home. White glow sticks work the best and provide light bright enough to cook or walk around without danger of tripping in the dark.
  • Outdoor solar lighting can be brought indoors to help during an outage. In the morning you can take them outside and recharge them for the next night. They work great and are safe around pets and children.

2. Store foods that are easier to prepare. Foods that can be prepared without a lot of work are worth their weight in gold when you are trying to feed a crowd of evacuees.

  • Have an inventory of things that store well. In addition, keep on hand foods that disappear first at the grocery store: Milk, bread, water, ice, fresh fruits & vegetables, hygiene items such as soap and toothpaste, feminine hygiene products, toilet paper, diapers, baby formula, headache and muscle ache medicine, anti-diarrhea medicine, insect repellent.

3. Buy Gasoline. If you live within 100 miles of a disaster, begin preparing as soon as warnings are issued or immediately after an earthquake. Fill your gas tank and keep extra gas for your generator or vehicle. The time to store fuel is ahead of disasters--now.

4. Think prescriptions. As people come to your hometown, they will be in need of prescription medications. If you are down to the last few days and an evacuation is ordered nearby, renew your prescription immediately.

5. Prepare to entertain. As conditions improve around you, children and adults will become impatient with the disaster routine. Almost certainly, you will be without electricity for a few days to a few weeks. Keep some good age-appropriate books, travel editions of favorite games, coloring books and crayons for the kids, balls and other toys for outdoor use. If you are the designated evacuation site for family and friends, you will need to have these items on hand. Everyone should have small games and other small items in a 72-hour kit.

6. Sanitation can be a huge problem. Have extra soap and toothpaste on hand for evacuees. Also consider acquiring a port-a-potty (bucket type) especially if you are dependent on well water. Wet wipes, hand sanitizers and extra water storage provide excellent water supplies for clean-up and essential laundry.

7. Garbage becomes a concern. Have plenty of large plastic trash bags or bio-hazard bags on hand. Because no one will have the energy or desire to clean up after meals, stock a supply of paper plates, cups, bowls and plastic utensils. Have a strategy for managing the waste they create.

Source: Adapted from "Preparing to Provide Refuge" by Carolyn Nicolaysen, Meridian Magazine

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Preparedness Quotes

"When faced with the choice to buy, consume, or engage in worldly things and activities, we all need to learn to say to one another, 'We can’t afford it, even though we want it!' or 'We can afford it, but we don’t need it—and we really don’t even want it!'" - Elder Robert D. Hales, April 2009 General Conference

"Many areas of the world have experienced difficult economic times. Businesses have failed, jobs have been lost, and investments have been jeopardized. We must make certain that those for whom we share responsibility do not go hungry or unclothed or unsheltered. When the priesthood of this Church works together as one in meeting these vexing conditions, near miracles take place.

"We urge all Latter-day Saints to be prudent in their planning, to be conservative in their living, and to avoid excessive or unnecessary debt."
- President Thomas S. Monson, October 2008 Priesthood Session, General Conference

"Avoid the philosophy that yesterday's luxuries have become today's necessities. They aren't necessities until we make them so. Many enter into long-term debt only to find that changes occur; people become ill or incapacitated, companies fail or downsize, jobs are lost, natural disasters befall us. For many reasons, payments on large amounts of debt can no longer be made. Our debt becomes as a Damocles sword hanging over our heads and threatening to destroy us."
- President Thomas S. Monson, April 2006 General Conference

“We have built grain storage and storehouses and stocked them with the necessities of life in the event of a disaster. But the real storehouse is the family storeroom. In words of revelation the Lord has said, ‘Organize yourselves; prepare every needful thing’ (D&C 109:8.)”
President Gordon B. Hinckley

"We need to make both temporal and spiritual preparation for the events prophesied at the time of the Second Coming. And the preparation most likely to be neglected is the one less visible and more difficult--the spiritual. A 72-hour kit of temporal supplies may prove valuable for earthly challenges, but, as the foolish virgins learned to their sorrow, a 24-hour kit of spiritual preparation is of greater and more enduring value.

"We are living in the prophesied time 'when peace shall be taken from the earth' (D&C 1:35,) when 'all things shall be in commotion' and 'men's hearts shall fail them' (D&C 88:91.) There are many temporal causes of commotion, including wars and natural disasters, but an even greater cause of current 'commotion' is spiritual." Elder Dallin H. Oaks

“Every father and mother are the family’s store keepers. They should store whatever their family would like to have in case of an emergency…(and) God will sustain us through our trials.” President James E. Faust

“We live in a most exciting and challenging period in human history. As technology sweeps through every facet of our lives, changes are occurring so rapidly that it can be difficult for us to keep our lives in balance. To maintain some semblance of stability in our lives, it is essential that we plan for our future. I believe it is time, and perhaps with some urgency, to review the counsel we have received in dealing with our personal and family preparedness. We want to be found with oil in our lamps sufficient to endure to the end.”- Elder L. Tom Perry, Ensign, Nov. 1995

"Many more people could ride out the storm-tossed waves in their economic lives if they had their year's supply of food. . . and were debt-free. Today we find that many have followed this counsel in reverse: they have at least a year's supply of debt and are food free." President Thomas S. Monson

"Just as it is important to prepare ourselves spiritually, we must also prepare ourselves for our temporal needs. … We have been instructed for years to follow at least four requirements in preparing for that which is to come.

“First, gain an adequate education. Learn a trade or a profession to enable you to obtain steady employment that will provide remuneration sufficient to care for yourself and your family. …

“Second, live strictly within your income and save something for a rainy day. Incorporate in your lives the discipline of budgeting that which the Lord has blessed you with. As regularly as you pay your tithing, set aside an amount needed for future family requirements. …

“Third, avoid excessive debt. Necessary debt should be incurred only after careful, thoughtful prayer and after obtaining the best possible advice. We need the discipline to stay well within our ability to pay. …

“Fourth, acquire and store a reserve of food and supplies that will sustain life [if local laws permit such storage]. Obtain clothing and build a savings account on a sensible, well-planned basis that can serve well in times of emergency. As long as I can remember, we have been taught to prepare for the future and to obtain a year’s supply of necessities. I would guess that the years of plenty have almost universally caused us to set aside this counsel. I believe the time to disregard this counsel is over. With events in the world today, it must be considered with all seriousness.” - Elder L. Tom Perry, October 1995 General Conference

“Maintain a year's supply. The Lord has urged that his people save for the rainy days, prepare for the difficult times, and put away for emergencies, a year's supply or more of bare necessities so that when comes the flood, the earthquake, the famine, the hurricane, the storms of life, our families can be sustained through the dark days. How many of us have complied with this? We strive with the Lord, finding many excuses: We do not have room for storage. The food spoils. We do not have the funds to do it. We do not like these common foods. It is not needed -- there will always be someone to help in trouble. The government will come to the rescue. And some intend to obey but procrastinate.” - The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, p.375

“All too often a family's spending is governed more by their yearning than by their earning. They somehow believe that their life will be better if they surround themselves with an abundance of things. All too often all they are left with is avoidable anxiety and distress” - Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin

"Be prepared in all things against the day when tribulations and desolations are sent forth upon the wicked." D&C 29:8

"Too often we bask in our comfortable complacency and rationalize that the ravages of war, economic disaster, famine, and earthquake cannot happen here. Those who believe this are either not aquainted with the revelations of the Lord, or they do not believe them." President Ezra Taft Benson

"Fear not little flock; do good; let earth and hell combine against you, for if ye are built upon my rock, they cannot prevail. . .Look unto me in every thought; doubt not, fear not." D&C 6:34, 36

"I believe that the Ten Virgins represent the people of the Church of Jesus Christ. . . They (five foolish) had the saving, exalting gospel, but it had not been made the center of their lives. They knew the way but gave only a small measure of loyalty and devotion.

"The foolish asked the others to share their oil, but spiritual preparedness cannot be shared in an instant. . . . This was not selfishness or unkindness. The kind of oil that is needed to illuminate the way and light up the darkness is not shareable. . . . In our lives the oil of preparedness is accumulated drop by drop in righteous living." - President Spencer W. Kimball

“We encourage families to have on hand this year’s supply; we say it over and over and over and repeat over and over the scripture of the Lord where he says, “Why call ye me, Lord, Lord and do not the things which I say?” How empty it is as they put their spirituality, so-called, into action and call him by his important names, but fail to do the things which he says." - President Spencer W. Kimball"/>


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