Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Are You Prepared?

This week our neighborhood is having a preparedness challenge.

I thought it might be fun to blog this little challenge and see how our family stacks up.  Just how prepared are we?  How prepared are you?

There is great push within the LDS religion to be self-sufficient, as we certainly can't care for others if we can't care for ourselves.  One of the things that we have been admonished to do for decades by our leaders is to have a reserve in order to sustain our families in time of need.   Whether it be a natural disaster, an unexpected job loss, a financial emergency....whatever the situation may be, we are taught to be prepared.  To lay up in store.  This has been a great blessing to our family on more than one occasion!

Having been presented with a situation years ago that left us without a paycheck for entirely too long and grasping to be able to pay our bills and feed our family, we learned to have at least a decent food storage and have worked to maintain that since that time.   We are working a piece at a time to have a more comprehensive supply if needed, including first aid, camping equipment, fuel, hygiene products....anything that we might need.  There are times when we feel very adequately supplied.  There are times when things are tight and we have unexpected expenses and we have turned to our supply to care for our family.

We try to keep our storage room stocked with the foods we use most often and rotate through them appropriately.  Sometimes peace of mind comes in the form of this view

The other side of the room holds all of our camping equipment, water storage and the bulk of our wheat, as well as a bit more canned goods.  Seem a little excessive?  Some might think so, but when you have 10 mouths to feed it is comforting to know that you can feed them for more than a week.  We also "shop" out of our storage room for regular meals.   Instead of meal planning for a week and a big trip to the grocery store, we use much of what we already have and make one big grocery shopping trip per month (Aaron gets paid once a month), with smaller occasional trips to the store for produce and perishables.

The challenge began yesterday.
Monday presented two scenarios, each with it's own challenge.
#1-outbreak of a serious illness, multiple cases in our neighborhood resulting in quarantine.
The challenge is to stay home!  Of course we all have to go to work and school and previously made appointments, etc, but otherwise, no shopping, no going out, nothing!  Minus 5 points for each item  if you have to go to the store!  Living off home and food storage for the week.
#2-your lovely wonderful adorable perfect would never do anything wrong child (ha!) stuck a fork in an outlet.
The challenge is a fire drill.  People in different rooms, checking different exits, having a plan!

There will be points awarded for different parts of each challenge.
So how are we doing?
Thankfully we are totally set with number one.  Ok, we will run out of milk this week, but that's ok, it's not the first time it happened, so oh well.  Otherwise, you'd best believe we aren't going to sacrifice 5 points for a stop at the store!  Let's just hope and pray that nothing goes terribly wrong this week, or that if it does, we truly are prepared to handle it.
We took inventory of our food and water storage and home supply storage.   We are in a good spot right now, which is always comforting.
Good news-we have almost 200 gal of water, plus our hot water heaters and cases of bottled water.  That makes me very happy!

With number two, we have had a fire escape plan in place for sometime.  Even better-when we asked the kids about meet up points and exits and alternate exits, everyone down to Lincoln (who is 4) knew the correct answers.  Since we have done the standard drill a number of times in the past, we thought we'd play a little differently this time.  We warned the kids that if they heard the smoke alarm at all this week, they were to put our plan into play.  Sad that we had to specify this, and that they should not just assume that it is the oven causing the smoke alarm to go off again.  Hmmm....not sure what that says about either my baking skills or my oven cleaning skills......ok, it's the oven cleaning skills.  I am a rockin' baker!
Anyway, we caught the kids off guard when Aaron set off the alarm.  I was thrilled with how quickly everyone made it out to exactly where they should be.  Poor Jacob is really not feeling well today and was down in his room resting when it happened-I called him and called him, yelling at him to "RUN!" and it took him a minute.  His excuse?  "I thought it was just going off again."  Whoops.
We'll be randomly re-practicing the fire drill throughout the week, with the location of the fire varying so that they have to use different exits, when kids are doing their own thing and (hopefully) not expecting it to see how they react.  We did learn that if we want to save the dogs we need to make sure we get them out with us.  We also had to discuss that the birds and frogs are not a priority, that we do NOT go back in the house to retrieve them since they couldn't leave the house on their own like the dogs.
We talked about what to do if there is a fire when Mom and Dad are gone.
We talked about what to do in a number of different cases where emergency situations happen.
It was a great learning experience for all of us I think.

Today we racked up 5pts for food storage inventory, 5pts for home inventory, 1pt for every 5gal of water (up to 15pts max-dang!  we could have rocked this one!), 10pts for fire drill.
There will be 25pts awarded for staying quarantined all week, and another 5pts possible for a second fire drill.  Then of course there is the minus 5pts if we have to purchase something at the store.  But we plan on avoiding that if at all possible!

I am excited (and let's be honest, a little scared) to see what the other challenges are this week!

Check it out at the Pyles of Preparation blog.  Challenges will be posted by 8:30am (Mtn Time) each day.  Though our little challenge is local, it would be great to see how prepared you are for the worst case scenario!



Conservamom said...

Catey,This is so awesome! My husband and I are always talking about being prepared in case of an emergency.I think it's so great that your church leaders push this. It seems even within our church we are told to leave it up to God's help but what we fail to see is that HE is helping us by having us prepare and know that thing can and will happen. That is so neat that you were able to do this with your neighborhood and that you live somewhere where people think like you when it comes to preparation. My hub and I have a long way to go to get to the preparedness level you are at but we are slowly trying to do so stuff to have that security. Amazing!!

Tiffany Johnson said...

Thanks so much for sharing this Catey, what a fabulous idea! Hope you keep accumulating points!!