Posted by: prepare4 | March 25, 2009

30 More Days and 30 More Ways to be Prepared

30 More Days and 30 More Ways to be Prepared
By Carolyn Nicolaysen

September is National Preparedness Month in the USA, and no better time to help our families understand the goal of becoming the most self-reliant and prepared people — ready for any challenge.

It has been a busy summer. There have been floods in the American Midwest and Asia, dozens of deaths from heat waves in North America and Europe, wildfires burning Washington, California, Nevada and Utah. An 8.0 earthquake slammed Peru, a tsunami warning was issued for the Pacific Coast of South America, volcanoes have erupted or threatened to erupt in Alaska, Indonesia, and Africa, and Hurricane Dean is sweeping through the Caribbean. Is there anyone still unconvinced of the need to prepare?

The following calendar is similar to one we did last year, and is intended to give you a plan for the month of September that is easy, inexpensive, and effective at getting your emergency plan back on the rails. Hopefully after practicing and thinking about preparedness for the month, you and your family will be prepared to move on to the next step — to design a custom emergency plan for your household.

September 1st
Meet with your family and tell them of your intention to spend the month of September preparing to be more self reliant in case of an emergency. Tell your family this may involve purchasing some items. It may mean some sacrifices will have to be made.

Get a coin bank and tell everyone that you will be placing your spare change in the bank every night, and they can do the same. Tell them that any family member contributing will get to help decide what to purchase. This will help your children feel included and empowered, and also help teach them a little about money management.

September 2nd
As a family read “In Case of Disaster” (New Era, Oct 1990, 24–31). You can find this and all other articles suggested as Sunday reading, by going to LDS.org and clicking on magazines.

September 3rd
1. For Family Home Evening Play What If

What if you were not at home when a major emergency happened? (Fill in the blank with the emergency most likely to occur in your area). Ask each family member, including the adults what they would do.

  • What if you were at a friend’s home?
  • What if you were at work?
  • What if you were at school?
  • What if you were shopping?

This will give you the opportunity to make sure your family all knows whom to call or — in the case of adults and teens — where your meeting place will be.

2. Fill out emergency cards for each family member to keep in wallets and/or school backpacks. These should include home phone number, cell phones, home address, near by friend or relative and an out-of-state contact. Remember everyone should have the same out-of-state contact and phone that contact immediately after a disaster strikes. That person can then relay messages to the rest of the family as they check in.

September 4th
It’s shoe day! Place a sturdy pair of shoes under each bed in your home. These should be shoes that are not normally worn so they remain in place for an emergency. If you have young children, place the shoes where they can be easily found by an older family member in the dark.

Take a pair of good walking shoes to work. If an emergency arises at work and you are unable to drive home, you may be on foot and will need good shoes. You will also want an extra pair in the car in case you are caught away from home and away from the office. Extra shoes are also important in case of a roadside emergency should your shoes get wet while changing a tire or awaiting rescue. Be sure to rotate those shoes as children grow out of them.

September 5th
Gather together all over-the-counter medications and check the expiration dates. Discard any that have expired. Make a list of those you need to purchase and post it in your kitchen. Read through the weekly ads and replace the items on the list when they are on sale.

September 6th
Post emergency phone numbers next to each phone. Remember not only the police and fire departments, hospital, doctors, and poison control, but also the schools, the out-of-state contact, friends, family, and your own phone numbers. A babysitter may need to call your cell phone, or a child may forget phone numbers during an emergency.

Be sure to include your street address on this list. If a friend or babysitter has to call for help from your home, he will need to be able to tell rescuers the address. In case of an emergency you may even forget your own phone number and address. It is not at all unusual.

September 7th
Make a list of handicapped or elderly neighbors, friends, ward members, and family members who may need help in an emergency, post their phone numbers and enter them in to your cell phone contact list. During an emergency, even a power outage it is important to check on those who may not be able to take care of their own needs.

September 8th
Contact the people on the list you compiled yesterday. Discuss with them their plans in an emergency and their preparations. If they do not have 72-hour kits, ask them if they would like your help to purchase or create one. If they are not prepared, consider adding a few extra items to your 72-hour kit that you can share with them if the need arises.

If the people on your list are not family members, ask them about a contact person you can call for them during an emergency. If it is appropriate, ask them for a key to their home. In some cases you may have to go into the home to physically help them out and you may need a key.

September 9th
As a family read “Members in Coalinga Respond to Earthquake” (Ensign, July 1983, 77–78). Mom and Dad should read the article “Ready to Go!” (Friend, Jul 2007, 8–11) and plan a similar exercise for Family Home Evening tomorrow.

September 10th
Hold a family home evening based on the article “Ready to Go.”

September 11th
Evaluate your preparations to care for your pets.

  1. Have you assembled 72-hour kits for your pets? These should include water, food, medications, up-to-date vaccination and other medical records, vaccination records, collar, toys, food and water dishes, and sanitation disposal bags.
  2. Also be sure you have someone who will care for your pets, outside of your immediate neighborhood, if you need to leave your home.
  3. Make a list of foods and medications you need for a 1 month supply for each pet.
  4. Make a list of items you need to gather or purchase.

September 12th
Gather or purchase the items on your pet needs list and place them in a pet 72-hour kit.

September 13th
Place an extra set of important keys in adult 72-hour kits, safe deposit box, at work, next to your bed, and with a neighbor. Keys should include all cars, homes, homes of those you have promised to help evacuate, offices, recreational vehicles, mail boxes, and storage sheds.

September 14th
Add $10.00 to your coin bank for spending on emergency needs.

September 15th — Get the house ready:

  • If you live in hurricane country, take necessary measurements and purchase supplies needed to board up windows. Don’t forget screws and bolts. Take supplies home and pre-drill holes to make installation fast
  • If you live in earthquake or tornado areas, purchase items to strap your water heater and to secure large furniture items such as dressers and sideboards to walls, and then do it.
  • If you live in a flood area, purchase and place survival items in your attic. See Meridian articles: “Preparing for a Flood
    Prepare Your Home for the Unexpected” and “Prepare to Evacuate!”.

September 16th
As a family read “The Flood after the Storm” (Ensign, Feb 1997).

September 17th
Practice building a shelter. Get out the Scout Handbook or look for directions online. Create a shelter using supplies you have in your emergency and/or car kits, such as mylar blankets, duct tape, bungee cords and tarps. If you don’t have these items, now is the time to purchase them and practice how to use them for shelter. No supplies? Time to purchase some!

September 18th
Make foil dinners. These are fun for the family and a great way to cook after a natural disaster when power or facilities are unavailable. You can prepare these in a fire pit or barbeque. It’s another good reason to have a Scout Handbook.

September 19th
Call your children’s school(s) or day care and ask about their emergency procedures. Review these with your spouse and children. If they do not have a plan, volunteer to help develop one.

September 20th
At dinner tonight, discuss the family’s favorite meals. Take notes to determine breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack favorites. Gather recipes for each food item.

September 21st
Using the recipes you gathered yesterday, determine how many times a month you would like to serve that food. Calculate the ingredients you will need for each recipe. If you would like to eat chicken casserole three times a month, you will need to purchase nine times the ingredients in that recipe to have a three-month supply.

September 22nd
Purchase the food you will need for five of the recipes you chose. Store these separately from your other pantry foods. These are now storage items and should be replaced immediately once they are used. Build your food supply by systematically adding items each week.

September 23rd
Read, “The Responsibility for Welfare Rests with Me and My Family” (Ensign, May 1986, by Elder James E. Faust).

September 24th
Meet with another family tonight and take family photos. Have each family take a group photo of the other family. Take photos of individual family members and a group photo that includes all family members. Remember, pets are family members too. You want an individual photo and group photo with them also. These will help if you are separated and need to post a photo or claim a family member. Your group photo will help to prove you are the parent, sibling, or child, of a “misplaced” family member.

September 25th
Make enough copies of the photos you took yesterday to include in the 72-hour kits of all family members, a copy for your out-of-state contact, and two more complete sets (you’ll see why in a moment).

September 26th
Mail copies of your photos to your emergency contact. Place copies in all 72-hour kits, and take one set of copies to store at work and another set to your safe deposit box.

September 27th
Replace batteries in smoke- and carbon monoxide-detectors.

September 28th
Place flashlights and/or glow sticks by every bed for use in a nighttime emergency. Last week we experienced a power outage at our home. I have plenty of candles, flashlights and glow sticks but we had to fumble in the dark to find them. I decided then that we would keep glow sticks in every room in our home. I was thrilled when we used ours last week and it brightened the entire room.

For our business we determined we would only sell white glow sticks and that was definitely the right choice! They are really superior to other colors. Make sure your children know these are for emergencies only. They will run for them when the power goes out!

September 29th
At breakfast ask for any last contributions to the emergency fund. Count your money and decide what items are most important to purchase with this money. Remember you promised anyone contributing could help decide. If they should decide on brownie mix, that’s important too. Now go spend the money. Come home and place everything on the table where you can all enjoy what you have accomplished. Why not keep the fund going and do the same thing next month?

September 30th
Read, “If Ye Are Prepared Ye Shall Not Fear” Ensign (November 1995, by Elder L. Tom Perry). As a family, discuss what you need to do next to continue preparing as prophets have counseled.
Take time today to find a binder and plastic sheet protectors and begin a family preparedness resource manual. Run off the articles mentioned in the September calendar and file them in your binder so on September 1st you’ll be ready to go!

Being prepared is as much an attitude and a lifestyle as any good habit that becomes part of who we are. Children will want to be part of something they see as exciting and valuable as being ready for unforeseen emergencies like weather events and civil emergencies. By being ready, we are less apprehensive, and the unknown is less intimidating. Thus prepared, we “shall not fear.”

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