The Northeast blizzard has left hundreds of thousands without power and left me pondering a letter from Ted Smethers of Arkansas: “I have been reading WORLD Magazine for many years now and one subject that I would like to see you cover: preparing for disasters, both natural and man-made. On this subject the Mormons are way ahead of us Baptists.”
Smethers continued, “One of my Baptist buddies went to a Mormon ‘canning’ party. He’s loading up a bunch of cans, notices his new Mormon friend doing the same, and asks why: Surely he had all he needed laid up already. The guy says, ‘Yes, but I have a number of Baptist neighbors and decided I would rather feed them than fight them.’ Ouch, very convicting words on a number of levels.”
Ted is right, and the big blizzard should remind us that we don’t need apocalyptic concerns to be prepared for power outages and other difficulties. I disagree sharply with Mormon theology, but on both welfare and preparing for trouble the Latter-day Saints have an advantage in that their views haven’t changed much from their former and formative early 19th century days.
Here are three basic suggestions from Steve Hall of Joseph’s Way, a ministry devoted to helping Christians prepare spiritually and physically for current and upcoming economic, social, and physical challenges:
- It’s wise to have two weeks of food, water, fuel, cash, and other necessary resources on-hand, plus supplies to share. You should have a minimum of three days of food, water, and other needed items ready to go at all times in your home, in case of a sudden evacuation, as well as an emergency pack in your car in case you cannot get back to your home.
- Have a family communication plan prepared and practiced, telling family members to call the same one or two out-of-area people in case you cannot make local calls. (This is important because local-to-local phone circuits may be jammed while out-of-area calls are still possible. Texts may often work even when lines are jammed.) Small solar rechargers can keep cell phones and batteries going when normal power is out.
- Storing food and water indoors is preferable to using a garage. Do not store drinking water on concrete, which has chemicals that can leach into the water. And do not use milk or fruit juice containers for water storage. Rain barrels (or spare water tanks) can provide washing and flushing water, as well as drinking water by using purification systems costing $100 to $300.