News Story

Extreme Weather Events Emphasize Need for Emergency Preparedness

Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have been counselled for many years to be prepared for adversity. Canada regularly experiences its share of natural disasters. Most recently, the effects of Hurricane Dorian left over 400,000 without power, and summer wildfires in Alberta burned over 800,000 hectares of land and caused mass evacuations.

The threat of intense weather can bring uncertainty about safety, food, water, shelter and other immediate needs. The range of problems can be diverse — flooding, polluted drinking water, hunger, mould, home wastewater contamination, toxic generator exhaust, debris, injury and worse.

Church teachings emphasize our personal responsibility to provide for ourselves and our families in both good times and bad. Emergency preparation can mitigate the dangerous side effects of weather. Jesus Christ declared, “Be thou prepared, and prepare for thyself, thou, and all thy company that are assembled unto thee” (Ezekiel 38:7).

Preparation, both spiritual and temporal, can dispel fear (see Doctrine and Covenants 38:30). This is an additional blessing of being prepared.

President Joel Glanfeld of the Dartmouth Nova Scotia Stake encourages, “We add our voices with Church leaders of the past, who have counselled us to ‘be anxiously engaged in a positive program of preparation. ... Just as it is important to prepare ourselves spiritually, we must also prepare ourselves for our temporal needs. Each of us needs to take the time to ask ourselves, What preparation should I make to care for my needs and the needs of my family?’
(“If Ye Are Prepared Ye Shall Not Fear,” Oct. general conference).”

Being prepared starts with a well-thought-out plan. Identification of likely disasters that could happen, critical information, assignments and procedures, emergency communications methods and family member participation make up that plan.

In order to afford what an emergency plan requires, adhering to these principles is key: avoiding debt, living within one’s means and acquiring education. Staying out of debt better prepares individuals and families to help themselves and others in times of crisis. Being educated gives individuals more flexibility in occupations and greater choice in life decisions.

The value of keeping and rotating a reserve of food, water and other supplies is imperative. One can start by drafting a plan and using a checklist to ensure nothing essential is missed. Learning how to find and purify water and assembling first aid and 72-hour kits, as well as keeping the kits in a place that is accessible during a disaster, are important.

Emergencies, unexpected events and dangerous weather will continue to occur. Thorough preparation will improve one’s ability to cope successfully.

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