Being prepared for disaster

One mother shares how even slight efforts towards emergency preparedness can offer peace of mind.

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  • I have a clear childhood memory of the occasion my parents held a family meeting to discuss emergency preparedness. Almost as soon as the discussion started it ended due to my becoming hysterical as soon as a potential emergency was mentioned.

  • I can't say things have changed much. I admit to crying when I sign life insurance papers, or turning off the news when there are reports of earthquakes, and I feel mild anxiety whenever a meeting discusses emergency plans.

  • Believe it or not, there are a couple of valuable lessons I have learned as I have done my best to prepare myself and my family for an emergency, should one occur.

  • Prepare in General

  • Six months into marriage, found me in the peak of canning season. Following the example of my mother and grandmother, I found myself stopping at fruit stands. Before long, I had pantry shelves lined with all sorts of bottled fruits and vegetables. Though there are only a couple of items I, now, can myself, I think back to that first winter season and the stocked pantry shelves as the beginning of my efforts to store extra food.

  • With five young mouths to feed, there has not always been extra money in our grocery budget to buy a lot of extra. But with careful planning, shopping sales and wise choices, our food supply slowly grew.

  • Almost two years ago, we reaped the benefits of those general preparations. For several months, we relied on what was in our pantry and freezer. Due to a brief period of unemployment, and with no income coming in, trips to the grocery store were rare. Yet, we never went hungry. We never ran out of food.

  • Lesson learned? Just prepare. Don't specifically plan around one event. I realized all the wasted energy (and stress!) I spent wondering what to store for what kind of disaster was needless. When we needed our stocked shelves the most, there was no inability to heat or prepare food, nor a lack of shelter or warmth. We had temporarily lost the ability to purchasefood. What a blessing it was to have some stored.

  • A Peace of Mind

  • In January 2010, an earthquake struck Haiti. Despite it being thousands of miles away from me, I felt anxiety for days as I reflected on my own lack of preparations should such an event happen closer. I spent days justifying my lack of 72-hour kit preparations as being fruitless should they become crushed under a crumbled house. Instead of taking any action, I quit watching the news reports.

  • A month later, a major earthquake struck Chile. The next day, I pulled out a 2-person 72 hour kit we'd received a few years previously, and made a list of what I needed to expand it to meet the needs of my family. I spent 2 days buying and organizing essential items to keep 7 people alive should an emergency strike. That night, I watched news coverage of the devastation in Chile, and I felt a peace of mind.

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  • I wish I could say I included in those kits every possible item needed in an emergency, but I didn't. Even as I write this, I know there are no extra set of clothes for anyone included in them, and I'm quite certain the food has expired. (Mental note to add that to my to-do list.)

  • I wish I could say I feel no anxiety about the topic of being prepared, but I can't. I'll admit I got a racing heart recently when reading an ariticle about preparing a family for an emergency. I spent the remainder of the day feeling uneasy as I thought about all the things I don't have ready.

  • But there are a lot of things I do have stored ready to use should a need arise, and when I think of those things, I feel a peace of mind.

  • I may not have a basement full of wheat, or a years supply of rice, but I have come to know and understand that putting at least some thought and effort into a few emergency preparations give me a certain peace of mind.

  • That has to count for something.

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Tiffany and her husband Mike are the parents of five children; 5-15. Tiffany loves the laundry five children generate, but could do without the sticky floors and dirty dishes.

Website: http://www.ourmostofthetimehappyfamily.blogspot.com

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