National Emergency Preparedness month is coming to an end but our efforts to build a self-reliant family are just beginning. You should now have a firm foundation underway. What’s next? Following a weather-related disaster and many others such as a pandemic or job loss, there is much you can discuss and plan for now.
In the coming weeks choose one of the following and discuss as a family how you will plan for that event. Allow all family members to contribute ideas and then act on the best ones as a family.
- There will be power outages. At the top of the list for preparations should be how you will replace the tasks appliances and other items perform when the electrical grid is down? How will you have access to money? How will you cook for your family? How will you travel if you can’t purchase gas? How will you do laundry?
- Panic. There will be those who have failed to prepare and they will be desperate for food, water, shelter, and even someone to blame. We must plan to remain safe by being prepared to shelter in place.
- TV will have non-stop coverage of the disaster. Be prepared to entertain children as well as adults and turn off the TV.
- Government will not be of much help. It will take at least five days to obtain help from relief agencies beyond opening of shelters. It will take months for help from FEMA.
- First responders will not be of much help for several days. First responders will be caring for urgent medical needs, safety issues and the needs of their own family at the beginning.
- Businesses will be closed and jobs lost. Some will never reopen.
- Traffic will be horrendous. Those who have not prepared will be looking for help from family and friends in other locations. Do you know several routes to your out of area contact’s home? Prepare for extra time.
- Cash will be in short supply. How much do you have on hand?
- Someone needs to be blamed. The blame game will slow down response and distract from the real work that needs to be done. Don’t allow your family to go there.
- Store shelves will be empty, food, water, prescriptions, medications and medical supplies, TP, paper goods, hygiene supplies and even pet food will all disappear quickly. Because stores receive deliveries more than once a week there is no back room where supplies are stockpiled and available for restocking shelves. It could be several weeks before trucks with new supplies can arrive.
- Family will worry. Create a communications plan and a phone tree to keep extended family informed.
- Do not keep children sheltered from the truth. If you have created a family culture of self-reliance you can tell your children the truth and they will be prepared to help and look forward to the future in a positive, self-confident way.
- Limited communication. Landlines will work longer than cell phones. Cell phones will be heavily used by first responders limiting your use, especially for local calls. No power means no TV or radio to keep you informed. HAM radio operators will be the most reliable source for information. Our grandchildren, one as young as seven, have gotten licensed and are able to use the radios to communicate with other HAMs to stay informed.
- No trash pick-up. How will you prevent rodents and insects?
- Animals, especially rodents and snakes have had their homes damaged and they will be looking for a warm place and food. Use a stick to poke through debris before moving it. You will need traps for rodents and insect spray.
- Sewage services may be damaged. What is your plan for hygiene needs?
- Workplace routines may change, or businesses may close altogether.
- Daily travel and commuting patterns may be disrupted because of the loss of a car or damage to roads and bridges. Do you have a plan for an alternate way to work, grocery store and doctor’s office or hospital?
- Reconstruction takes a long time. Contractors will be busy and insurance payments are slow.
- Emotions become intense and sometimes are unpredictable. Be prepared for children to revert to more juvenile behaviors. They may cry when you are not in the room and may need to sleep in your room. Again, if you have discussed a disaster, you will see less of this as they will be mentally able to process the new norm more quickly.
- Sleep and eating patterns will be disrupted. Try to maintain patterns as normal as possible. Eat at the times you normally would, bedtime should remain the same as usual, chores should be carried out as usual. You will have more time at home with school and work patterns changed so involve children in meal planning and preparation. The more decisions they can make the calmer they will be, and their memories will be less about stress and more about the adventure.
“And all things shall be in commotion; and surely, men’s hearts shall fail them; for fear shall come upon all people.” Doctrine & Covenants 88:91
However, “I tell you these things because of your prayers; wherefore, treasure up wisdom in your bosoms, lest the wickedness of men reveal these things unto you by their wickedness, in a manner which shall speak in your ears with a voice louder than that which shall shake the earth; but if ye are prepared ye shall not fear.” Doctrine & Covenants 38:30
Do you believe Heavenly Father? He promised if we are prepared, we need not fear. He keeps His word! Begin now and if you have already begun keep going. The Lord will prepare a way for us to succeed.
Inflation is increasing, natural disasters as becoming more frequent, food scarcity is a problem in many areas of the world. Visit Totallyready.com or facebook.com/totally ready for answers to questions and help.