General Conference is the perfect time to check family preparedness and self-reliance plans.
When was the last time your family talked about a family emergency plan? As a family tradition, we like to review our emergency plan during family home evening in the weeks surrounding General Conference. Not only is it easy to remember, but we open our 72 hour kits and use perishable foods for snacks during Conference. Just be sure to replace them.
- Review LDS.org topic page for Emergency Preparedness and Response.
- Opening Song: Come, Ye Thankful People, Hymn #94
Emergency preparedness is only a small part of an individual and family self-reliance plan. Every General Conference includes messages on self-reliance. The self-reliance programs consists of the following elements:
- Family home production and storage
- Family finances
- Spiritual strength
Look for spiritual promptings during general conference to improve your self-reliance efforts. Tailor the lesson to your unique family circumstances. Here is one way to start the tradition.
Discuss the family communication plan.
With school, work, and recreational activities, it is possible your family will be separated when disaster strikes. Discuss meeting places in your neighborhood, outside your neighborhood, and outside your city.
Use the Family Communication Plan Worksheets from FEMA to guide the family discussion. We found it interesting that texts are more reliable than voice calls during an emergency. It also leaves phone lines available for emergency workers.
Discuss family preparedness for emergencies and disasters.
Take some time to discuss one or two types of emergencies common to your region. Talk through actions you should take to prepare for the emergency. Then discuss how to stay safe during and after an emergency. If you learn something new, make sure to follow through with plans made during this family meeting.
The American Red Cross publishes many helpful Emergency Preparedness pages. Each page discusses different types of emergencies and links to a “Be Ready” Safety Checklist at the bottom of the page.
Review and rotate 72 hour kit supplies.
Have fun by digging through your 72 hour kits. Use the food for snacks and replace supplies. Practice using tools like fire starters or water purification systems. Here are some basic ideas that have worked for our family.
Use sturdy backpacks and store in a safe place. Each family member should have a backpack. Make sure everyone can carry their backpack when it is full of supplies. Most of our backpacks came from old school backpacks that still have some life left. Consider filling an extra rolling suitcase with things you would “like” if you have more time to evacuate.
Develop and review your supplies checklist. Here is a very basic list of supplies that we recommend. (Download our full 72 hour kit supply list through this link.)
- Pack food that you will eat and requires very little or no preparation.
- Include seasonal items. (Light clothing, bug spray, and sun protection for summer, Warm clothes, gloves, and hats for winter.)
- Include cash in small bills. (Credit/Debit cards don’t work during power outages and some places may not have change for large bills.)
- Have important documents and files in a binder and on a back up hard drive.
Change out food supplies. Our 72 hour kit has food that requires no preparation. We use processed foods to provide nourishment without the stress. This is not our 3-month food storage, but will provide simple temporary relief during power outages and evacuations.
Here are some of our food supplies:
- Water and water purification supplies
- Military MREs (Meals-Ready-to-Eat)
- Beef jerky
- Spray cheese
- Cans of tuna or chicken
- Dried fruit
- Granola bars
- Peanut butter and jelly
- Small candies
These foods are not a part of our regular diet and so everyone has fun snacking on something different. We’ve also learned what does and does not store well for 6 months. We set aside 5 or 10 dollars each month from our grocery budget and use the money to replace the supplies each general conference. Any left over snacks are used for school lunches the following week.
Do you like this General Conference tradition idea or have a tradition of your own? Be sure to share this idea with friends and add your ideas in the comments below.