Since the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, I've had thousands of readers come to my blog looking for answers. I'm sure you've been searching all over the internet. Some of you feel desperate because you don't have anything put aside. Here are some tips:
Study the LDS Family Home Storage pamphlet. It is an inspired plan.
Water: Focus on a 2 week supply of water. I store 2 weeks of drinking water and 2 weeks of washing/food prep water. Water is so essential. Keep bottled water in your cars, your 72-hour kit, and your office. Carry it to school and on your walks.
Focus on a 3-month supply, first, and then keep replenishing that supply. This can be used for short-term emergencies. I include soups, stew, chili, canned fruits and vegetables, canned meats, etc. Quite a bit of prepared foods in case my fuel supply is restricted. Yes, I have 72-hour kits, but most catastrophic emergencies last longer than 72 hours, so a 3-month supply is an inspired idea.
Put aside a financial reserve today! Decide as a family what that amount is. I like weekly automatic transfers from checking to a savings account. I keep it small so it isn't painful. Also have emergency cash at home in smaller bills, and on you at all times. (I need to work on this!)
After my 3-month supply was gathered, I added more long-term foods. These items will sustain us if we had nothing else to eat, and we will not starve. I don't overdo it. I recognize my limited budget and plan accordingly. I DO NOT have everything we need yet, but I am in no rush.
Have an emergency plan. Review it every year. Discuss different scenarios of where members of the family might be if a disaster happens. My mother-in-law shared this story about her bishop:
"Our bishop arrived home safely from Tokyo one hour prior to sacrament meeting after spending 48 hours in the airport where he was waiting for his plane to take him back home to America after two weeks in Japan (which should have arrived the same time as the earthquake hit). He said while he was there lying on the floor he prayed earnestly for many things as you can imagine. However, he felt prompted during this time to tell us as ward members some important things if we get our big earthquake here or anywhere. He said for those two days he had no water, no food, no blankets and neither did the other thousands of people in the airport. All water, gas etc was turned off and no one was allowed in or out of the building due to downed power lines etc for 48 hours."
Her bishop taught the members: "When a really big earthquake comes you are probably not going to have access to your food storage, to other members of the family (maybe), to any blankets, water, electricity, etc. and each one of us has to learn to become self sufficient and learn what to do. Consider how is the best way to save yourself when it happens! Do not get on the cell phone right at first and block the lines as much as you want to call your family! It was a major problem in Tokyo for the emergency crews! Know that children will probably be safer staying in the building or school that they are in when it occurs. Teach your children how long they will be okay without food or water so they won't panic. Teach them how to get home later on if they are alone and have to walk home! No gas was available for cars. No trains were working or taxis. We've all had the other preparation warnings and have our homes stocked and ready I'm sure. Learn to be self sufficient and teach your children to be self sufficient. Learn how to not panic and become a problem for others if you are basically okay physically! Teach them 3 C's, stay cool, calm and collected if you possibly can."
Ponder, make a plan, and take action. Stay focused, pace yourself, and be wise.