|Preparing together as a Family!
I've shared several of my personal experiences with preparedness here on OFM before (September 2007; September and October 2008; April 2009), but it is such an important topic in this day of economic and natural turmoil, that I feel compelled to say more on the matter.
My husband and I are far from perfect in the "Being Prepared" department, but I CAN honestly say that we are constantly working on it! I know that it can feel overwhelming at times, but just keep in mind that preparedness is a PROCESS. We simply need to look at our family circumstances, and work on one thing at a time!
To begin with, my husband and I sat down and talked about the areas where we're strong, and where we're weak. We examined everything: debts, water storage, food storage, preservation and storage of important documents, gardening supplies, fuel, and 72 hour kits.
Then we budgeted some extra money he'd earned, and stocked up on some food storage that we've used up. We also bought a few things that we'd always planned to buy, but had not yet done so.
Because I don't want to overwhelm and frustrate you, and I want you to finish reading today's post feeling that you CAN be prepared, I've decided to share some tips that have helped me in my efforts.
1. Make paying off debts a higher priority.
Not only does this help lighten the burden we feel when we owe others money, it also feels GREAT to fill our obligations and be free of guilt! We cannot ever have true liberty when we are plagued by debt and the negative effects of paying interest.
One tip to getting started on the journey toward debt-freedom is the Snowball Effect: Pay off your smallest debts FIRST, and then roll the money you've been paying toward them into the bigger debts. This works well because we get the exhilaration of eliminating more debts, faster, and encourages us to continue the process.
2. Make a Preparedness Plan
If you had a home fire, where would you and your kids meet once you all got out of the house? If you and your family had to evacuate your home, where would you go, and would you be able to get everyone out and have what you needed to survive for at least 72 hours? If your husband lost his job, would you have enough food for your family to eat, and enough savings to pay utilities and other costs until a new job is found?
These are questions to ponder over and discuss as a family. We have a "Family Night" once a week that facilitates this kind of meeting, but do what works best for your family. However, PLEASE take some time and discuss this together with your husband and all your kids!!! The scriptures say "If ye are prepared, ye shall not fear," and I know it is a true principle.
Once you've discussed these kinds of questions, sit down together and make a plan. WRITE IT DOWN, and do something toward preparedness on a regular basis in your home. Whether it's practicing a fire drill, learning how to turn off the natural gas, learning where to go during a tornado, knowing where the 72 hour kits are stored, understanding how to prepare and eat food storage basics, or securing the water heater, these common sense, small things will be huge problems if people try to figure things out while in a panic during a disaster.
Our children will have peace from the knowledge we share during these family discussions-- and so will we!
3. Store Water
I live in a VERY hot place, and water is profoundly important where I live-- but so it is wherever people live! We can live three weeks with no food, but only 3 days without water. Here's a FABULOUS website on being prepared, and this gentleman has excellent advice on storing water.
4. Store the food your family eats!
We should each have a goal of storing three months of "staples" to use in dire emergencies, BUT we should also constantly be adding to the food we keep in our pantries. In the stress of difficult times, it is comforting for all family members to have the things they usually eat on the shelves.
The lady whose storage philosophies have helped our family-- and many of our friends!-- the most is Wendy DeWitt. I recently found that someone has fully recorded Wendy's AMAZING food storage presentation at this blog. Give yourself some time to sit and watch it-- you will be so glad you did! She teaches the most powerful preparedness principles I've ever heard! (And I've been taught to "Be Prepared" my whole life!)
5. Put together and store 72 Hour Kits for all your family members
The key to being successful in this effort, is to keep them updated and ready to go. My husband and I learned this the hard way when we left our kits too long without checking them. Melted hard candies, rancid granola bars, and clothes that were too small are just a few hiccups that could have been a pretty big deal is we had actually needed to use them!
Again, I really like the "I Will Prepare" website. It contains a HUGE amount of information, in an easy to find and understand format. Here's another website with a straightforward list that looks good.
Make Family Preparedness a Priority
There are many, MANY things we can spend our money on, but when disasters or difficult times come, which will be more important to our family: vacations, extra toys, gym memberships, and other "extras"? OR the food, water, savings, emergency supplies, and family plans we need to make it through these difficult times?
Every little bit we do to prepare our families helps us face the future with faith, rather than fear. More great information on being prepared can also be found here.
I know we can each find even just ONE thing to do today that will help us on the path to preparedness.
WE CAN DO IT!!!