When Disaster Strikes

I’ve been sitting at my computer the past couple of days watching the disaster and recovery efforts in northern Japan.  My heart goes out to those people.  I can not imagine what they must be going through over there.  My little problems and concerns seem so trivial in comparison.

There have been a couple of questions running through my head as I’m watching events unfold.

What can I do to help?

What can I learn from what they are experiencing?

I thought I’d share some of my answers here.  They may not have a lot to do with living frugally, but they have everything to do with becoming a better person and neighbor.  Which is, after all, one of the major reasons we are even here on this earth.

The first thing I can do to help is to pray; for those who have lost love ones, for those who do not know what has happened to their loved ones.  I can pray for those who have lost homes and livelihoods.  I can ask my Heavenly Father to protect those in the Search and Rescue teams and Military personnel risking their lives to help.  And, I can pray for those trapped waiting for help.  I can also pray for scientists and workers trying to prevent nuclear disaster.  There’s a lot I can pray for.

Next, I can put my effort and my money where my mouth is.  My church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, has a phenomenal humanitarian aid program.  I can make hygiene kits and donate other materials that I *know* will go to those in need.  My specific donations may not go directly to Japan, but they will be there waiting for the next disaster or they’ll go to another country that really needs help.  I can also make a monetary donation directly to The Humanitarian Aid Fund, there’s several ways to donate including an online contribution link.

This morning I read an editorial comparing the amount of preparation Japan has made for disasters with how much the United States has prepared.  The bottom line was that the US is not even close to being prepared.  If the same magnitude disaster was to strike any of our coasts the results would be much more devastating than what has happened in Japan.  What a huge eye opener.

I may live over 600 miles inland, but I do live right on the Wasatch fault line.  So, for me preparing myself and my family for an earthquake or any other type of disaster is high on my list.  Here are a few things I need to do at my house:

  • I have plans for updating our 72 hour kits so if we have to evacuate our home we can grab these and go.  The other day I realized I don’t have anything for my baby and the food is a couple of years old.  Oops.
  • My food and water storage here at the house is pretty good, mostly because of couponing and deal chasing, but there are some holes.  A major problem I’ve spotted is the ability to cook the stuff I have stored in the event we have no electricity.  I have a camp stove that uses propane, but I just checked my BBQ propane tank, and it’s empty.  Doh!  Procuring another tank and keeping this one full is going on the list.
  • If a disaster struck in the middle of the day and my older kids were at school and the Fishographer was at work we haven’t discussed what we should do.  I’m planning a Family Home Evening lesson about what to do in an emergency, and I think I need to make a car version of a 72 hour kit in case we are away from home when disaster comes.
These are just a few things that I have been thinking about.  When we see the footage on our TV’s and computers it needs to spur us into action.  Let’s do what we can to help and prepare ourselves and our family.  Because you never know, the next time disaster strikes it might be us up on those news reports.
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