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Monday, April 4, 2011

Emergency Prep 101

The recent world tragedies have really rocked me mentally. I know where we live if WHEN not IF something will happen. We've taught our children what to do in case of fire, earthquakes or other emergencies that may happen at home or school. They remember a lot. WARNING: This post gets religious. If you are not religious I doubt it will offend you, but you may need some clarification or help understanding the lingo. I will try to decipher the lingo, but if you have questions, leave a comment.

We watched General Conference (when the leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, aka "Mormons" or "LDS saints,"  addresses it's members with inspiring talks and council) this weekend. I actually felt less guilty than normal since many talks were about how to teach your family gospel basics, how it's important to help the poor and how we need to improve our self sufficiency. Each time we see conference (held every 6 months and broadcast live or via Internet, radio and tv) we try to inventory our emergency supplies and restock. We switch out our water supply and most importantly review with our kids what to do in any emergency.

One of the most simple things that we've done is teach them our home phone/address and cell phone numbers as well as a family password. The password is a secret known only to our family and only to be used by us, as parents in case of emergency. For example last year I was rear ended on the freeway. When I went to pick up my car from the repair shop it wasn't quite ready. It was getting close to when school got out and I knew I couldn't make it home in time to meet the kids. I didn't want them coming home to an empty house, so I called my good friend and neighbor to pick them up when she got her kids that day. I told her that they should ask her for a password and told her what it was. The rule in our family is that you go with no one but mom or dad, or Grandpa/Grandma, without the password, even if you know them. So she met them at the school and told them I had asked her to get them. They kind of stammered and she told them that I'd given her a password. They asked for it and their answers matched so they knew it was safe to go with my friend until I got home. OK, so not exactly as we'd rehearsed but for a first time experience it worked. We change the password each time we use it to help protect them. Long explanation, but for us, it works.

So now onto other more dangerous disasters. If we are prepared we should not fear. Somewhere that's a scripture, I think in the Book of Mormon (which if you don't know is a book of scriptures used by the LDS church members,and translated by the Prophet Joseph Smith to teach the gospel of Jesus Christ)....don't know what chapter or where it's found exactly, but you may recognize it.

We each have an emergency kit to prepare us for many disasters big or small. It contains snacks and hard candy, flashlights, change of clothes, something to do, a Mylar blanket, water, basic first aid stuff, medicine, jacket, a list of important info and contact numbers, etc. If we have an emergency, we each know to put on good shoes, grab your bag and go. There are also emergency kits in our cars. These kits are great for any type of emergency, not just big things. For instance if Andy were to get stuck at work, he'd have food and water in his car. I have a bag of extras for the kids in my car so if someone gets muddy at a park, or gets sick in the car, there are clean clothes ready to go. There are also extra diapers and baby food and powdered milk in case we need to stop unexpectedly and don't make it home in time for a pit stop for the baby. Not "disasters" necessarily, but it saves time and money not having to stop to buy something and sometimes we can enjoy what we were doing before the minor disaster happened, thus not ruining our time together.

Here's a great website that should help you prepare your family for whatever comes your way. There are other sites like or that give great lists and advice on how to prepare as a family, as a business and as a school for disasters.

Tonight we are drilling our kids again on what to do, where to meet, and how to react in times of chaos. It's my goal I will help turn chaos to calm. Make a plan, be informed and be ready wherever you are.

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