Almost 10 years ago, our ward prepared an in-house document reference for emergency preparedness. We are thinking once again about our state of readiness (or not) for an emergency situation. With fires always around the corner, an evacuation could be a very serious thing. We want to be prepared.
As you take a look at the text of this document (which is also located on this website in PDF form, HERE), please see if you feel it is current and up-to-date as it ought to be. If you have any comments, feel free to make them here, and let's learn from each others experience in these matters.
Once we have let this ride for a month or so, we can compile the comments and update our Emergency Preparedness Plan. Here is the TEXT:
Stake Leader's Responsibilities
Before an Emergency:
Encourage family storage and preparation for emergencies. Identify resources in the
stake for: radio communications capabilities and operators, persons with special skills
such as heat equipment operators, special equipment, emergency housing, and
emergency medical specialists. This information will be updated yearly. Stake and ward
preparation and planning will be coordinated as needed.
When an Emergency Strikes:
A command post will be set up at each church building in the stake with the central
command post at the stake center. The Stake Presidency and the Welfare Committee
and the Emergency Preparedness Council will assemble at the Stake Center. Two high
councilmen will be assigned to each of the other buildings including the branches to
supervise operations in those locations. Communications will be established between
each building as has been arranged in advance. The radio specialist will be at the stake
center to oversee the communications between wards and with other church authorities.
A family survey will be made of all the families in the stake to assess needs and to
locate resources to meet those needs. The needs of the families will be communicated
through the Area Captains to the Bishops of each ward and from there to the stake or
church authorities and civil authorities as is needed. Church leaders will work through
the Area Captains to resolve any conditions caused by the emergency and keep both
the individual families and the leaders informed.
After an Emergency:
The stake will continue to work with the wards and civil authorities to resolve all of
the five essential needs for each family until the emergency passes and the situation
has returned to normal.
This booklet was designed to be a basic aid in preparing yourself and family. lt
does not have everything in it. Your search for knowledge, and skills, should
Preparing for and Responding to an Emergency
Plan and Prepare
Church members should be prepared spiritually and temporally to meet both the ordinary
problems of life and emergency conditions. The following are suggestions for basic
1. Hold one or more Home Evenings reading and discussing the information in
2. Each family or individual should store at least a 3 month supply of food,
clothing and fuel, if possible and legal. These supplies can be used and shared
when they are not available in a community following a disaster.
3. Each family member or individual should prepare a three-day survival kit (72
hour kit) with food, water, clothing, first aid supplies, medicines, tools and other
items for emergency use. This kit should be placed where it can be picked up
4. Each head of household should have basic first aid training. Your family's
immediate needs in a disaster will have to be met by you.
5. Each family should know where to go, what to take, and for whom he is
6. Each individual should be adequately immunized.
7. Each individual should know how to contact community emergency resources
(fire, police, ambulance) if communication is possible. Each person should .
know the phone number of the out-of-state relative in case local
communications is not possible.
8. Each residence should prepare two banners to be kept by their 72 hour kit.
These banners should be used in case of an emergency. The banners should
be 4" X 36" in length. One banner should be white in color and the other green
in color. The green colored banner indicates all is okay and everyone is
accounted for. The white banner indicates that immediate assistance is
needed. In an emergency the banner indicating your situation should be placed
in a prominent place by the front entrance. This will help emergency personnel
reach those in need first and as fast as possible.
9. Each individual owning an automobile should keep it in good repair and the gas
tank at least half full at all times.
10. Each individual or family should carry adequate insurance and maintain an
inventory of household possessions.
11. Include your children in your discussions and planning. Give them
responsibilities that meet their age and capabilities. They should have their own
pack even if it only has some clothes in it. Professionals say these are some of
the ways to ease the fear and stress for young people.
FIVE ESSENTIALS AREAS FOR SURVIVAL
There are five essentials in any survival situation. We will stress those five essentials over and
over. Let's list them so everyone will know what they are and then we'll talk about each one.
FIRST AID: During and right after an emergency situation your first concern will be for
the health and "well being" of your family. Did you know that in an
earthquake about 80% of all accidents happen to the mother and almost
all of those injuries are from the knee down? Husbands, do you know what you
are going to do about it?
WATER: In an emergency situation a person needs as much as 2-4 times the water
as normal. An adult can live for a month without food but could be
dysfunctional in 24 to 72 hours without water.
FIRE: Even a candle can give off enough heat to prevent a person from freezing
to death. Consider the heating and cooking needs of your family. What
would be best to meet their needs and what would store best in your
home. Experts suggest you have at least two different methods of heating
in your home. .
SHELTER: Staying out of the elements can be the most important factor in staying
warm. What can you afford that will protect your family in winter
weather, Is a tarp enough or would a good tent be better? In an
earthquake your home may not be habitable. Your clothing is part of
your shelter. Do you have adequate clothing for winter weather? A hat
appropriate for the weather (summer or winter) is essential. A tent marked
for 4 people is really a 3 man tent. Do not have open flame inside your tent
unless you have a hunter's style tent built to accommodate a stove.
FOOD: Most earthquake situations are of short duration. Do you have enough
food for your family for one month? Where are you going to get it? An
adult can go for a much as a month without food and still be reasonably
healthy. However children can't go that long, and won't go a day without
letting you know about it. Whereas food is the last essential, you may take
care of the other essential in a few hours, while food will be an ongoing
concern. Psychological and physical health is often determined by how
well the body is fed. The body can withstand extreme cold with the proper
The Lord and the prophets say to have at least a 3 month supply of food
Any kind of disaster is hard on human emotions, thought processes, and physical
health. Children are especially vulnerable to emotional problems relating to disasters. If
you learn to deal with your own emotions you will be able to help others including your
children. Your children will be watching you. They will determine how severe the
problem is by the way you act. Children see the emergency as you do but they also
react according to their imaginations. You control what they imagine.
Here are the most common stressors relating to disasters:
Injury, illness, and/or death
Uncertainty & lack of control
Hunger & thirst
All of these stressors can be partly controlled as you prepare yourself for a disaster
by having the skills and the supplies you need in an emergency. If you know first aid
well and have the supplies you lessen the fear of injury and illness, and fear of not being
in control of the situation. If you have a supply of food, you lessen the fear of being out
of control, hungry & thirsty, and if you eat well you will not be fatigued. If you have the
family plan in place and practice it, the fear of isolation can be greatly diminished.
When we aren't prepared, these stressors are manifested in a number of ways. Some
of the ways are:
Loneliness & Boredom
All of these just make the situation worse, but if we recognize what they are we can
cope with them. Sit down, breathe deeply, remain calm, and realize that if you can
control these emotions you can survive the situation Next get up and start helping your
children and neighbors cope with their stresses. Treat the situation as an adventure not
as a disaster. Tell your children to treat it like an adventure. Others will be comforted by
Children's fears are a little different than adults. Their greatest fears are:
• That the event will happen again
» Someone will be injured or killed
»They will be separated from the family
They will be left alone
Much of a child's fear can be lessened by:
1. Discussing the possibility of a -disaster happening, what to expect, and
what the family's plan is to take care of it.
2. involve your children in the planning - let them have a 72 hour kit even if
there isn't much in it.
3. Practice your plan together. .
4. Help the children memorize their family name, local emergency numbers
and procedures, and the phone number of your out-of-state contact.
5. Involve even the smallest children in the recovery process. Give them their
6. One parent needs to stay with the younger children until they are calm and
can be left while you care for others. The one that goes to help others
after the family needs are met needs to explain where he or she is going
7. lt is said that if you rotate some of your small children's stuffed toys, then
get some out after a disaster the children will be so excited about finding
their lost friends they won't think about the disaster.
If the disaster causes a problem that lasts longer than a few weeks, such as a
famine causing a food shortage, husbands and wives remember it is not your fault and it
is not the fault of your spouse either. You can get through anything if you stick together,
love each other more, communicate better, without rancor, pray and read the scriptures
together, accept help and help others. Remember this too shall pass and be for your
good (D&C 122:7).
After a disaster~hug your children, let them cry if they want, let them know it is okay to feel the way they do, reassure them that all will be well. Husbands these same steps work for wives. Wives no man is so macho that he doesn't need reassurance and extra hugs.
Have you noticed that the same things help all people cope? Namely:
Increased love and companionship.
Lose yourself in the service of others.
If these things do not remove the extreme emotions of your loved ones seek
professional help as soon as possible. If you don't plan ahead as a family you are
asking for severe problems that you will know you brought on yourself. So to remove
the last of the emotions, which is guilt, do all that you can now! Also, recognize that you
can't do everything and if you have done your best guilt is just another obstacle to the
solutions and should not be indulged in. Even if you haven't done your best, still guilt will
hinder not help the situation.
Preparing for Emergencies
We have been advised by our leaders to be "self reliant", being prepared both
spiritually and temporally for all emergencies that may happen in our lives. The focus
here is on temporal preparedness which gives the individual and family the means to
weather all emergencies that come their way.
The first step is to-identify what kind of emergency or natural disasters are common
to our area. Then as a family make a plan to prepare for those emergencies. Natural
disasters are not the only emergency that we can experience. Personal emergencies
like health problems or accidents, loss of jobs or unexpected expenses can put stress
on families and need to have prior preparation.
Some of the natural disasters that are common to our area are first and most
dangerous is brush and forest fires. They require evacuation of our homes until the fire
is put out. In a family home evening, plan for where to go and in case of separation
where to meet. Prepare "run" kits and organize important documents for quick
departures. Whereas winter storms, power outages, strong winds, earthquakes and in
some cases flooding require us to be prepared to weather the event in our homes. In
the following pages you will find ideas to help you prepare ahead of time for the
emergencies in our lives.
First Aid Kits
It is best to have two first aid kits, one in the car and one in the home. Your first aid
kits should be tailored to the needs of your family. In an emergency, you are the first
responder and need to be able to handle basic medical needs.
\ Basic First Aid Kits should contain:
Band-Aids (assorted sizes)
Sterile gauze pads 2 and 3 inches
Neo or polysporin or other antibiotic ointment
Hydrocortisone cream (anti-itch)
Safety pins (assorted sizes)
Thermometer oral and rectal
Saline solution (sterile for eyes)
Aloe Vera gel
First Aid Manual
Meals need to be prepared even in times of natural emergencies. If you cook with
electric stoves an alternate cooking source will be necessary.
AlternatiVe Cooking Fuels
Sterno or buddy burners
Propane stoves can be hand lit for cooking purposes. Wood stoves will cook food
just fine. Propane barbeques and camping stoves will also serve the purpose but they
as well as charcoal, white gas, and Sterno burners must be used outside only.
Fuels for Heating
In any kind of natural emergency the power will probably go out. This could happen
winter or summer, but more often in the winter which makes heating, cooking and
lighting a concern to be prepared for ahead of time. lt is suggested that every home
have a safe alternate source of heating. .
If propane is your main heat source, remember that if is controlled by an electrical
thermostat and sent through your home by an electric powered fan. Pellet stoves also
need electricity to function. If a generator is used to supply your alternate power it needs
to be outside your house and garage as it creates carbon monoxide gas. You will also
need fuel to power it. lt will also need to be stored and maintained in good working order
to make sure it works when the emergency is upon you and the time for preparation is
When the power goes out, some form of lighting is necessary. Flashlights and
battery powered lamps are the safest. Adults should keep a flashlight in an easy to find
place (like next to your bed) as it is no fun stumbling around in the dark trying to
remember where you last saw your flashlight.
Wax and liquid paraffin candles are also a light source but they are an open flame
and if not carefully placed or left to burn for long periods can cause an even bigger
problem - a fire.
The need of children who regularly 'want a night light maybe comforted by giving
them a light stick at bedtime.
The use of flashlights and battery lamps extra batteries should be kept on hand and
rotated. LED lamps are safe and put out a good amount of light and are said to last 14
to 18 hours of use and again batteries will be needed. Candles and liquid paraffin
candles must be handled with care to be safe. They don't put out a great deal of light
but are an affordable light source. If there is a suspected gas leak an open flame as in
candles should not be used. LED headlamps are a good source of light and have the
advantage of keeping your hands free to perform other tasks