Are you prepared?
It could happen in the winter, or the spring, or even the summer. It may happen when you least expect it. It may happen with little or no warning. It may affect your family, your neighborhood or your entire community. ‘It’ is an emergency.
We know that we are to watch and pray so that we are spiritually prepared for the events that will come in the end times. “Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh” Matthew 25:13 (King James Version throughout).
The admonition here to watch means more than just staying alert to current events. We are to be watching our own spiritual lives in light of the world and circumstances we live in. Turning on the evening news every night does not meet the requirement of this scripture; there is action required in the term watch, and it implies using caution, paying attention and being sure of our calling. “Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall” (2 Peter 1:10).
Emergencies cause more than just physical damage, bodily harm or interruptions to our daily lives. They are stressful and, if extreme in nature, can draw us away from God. An emergency can leave us questioning God’s power, love or mercy. Times of emergency—when we watch a loved one die, see our homes destroyed or wonder how we will feed our hungry child—can fill us with doubt.
The admonition to “watch” is to be prepared, to have a close loving relationship with God, to know God and trust Him in all things, to know and understand God’s plan for mankind and put our trust in Him.
We should take seriously our calling and be sure that we have a relationship with God our Father. Becoming like our Savior and Elder Brother should be our highest priority. “But growin grace, and [in] the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him [be] glory both now and for ever. Amen”(2 Peter 3:18).
God is our protector and guide, and He will see us through the trials of our lives, including emergencies and natural disasters, according to His will. Our trust should be in the loving mercy our Father provides. “The LORD [is] my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the hornof my salvation, [and] my high tower” (Psalm 18:2).
In everything we do, it is important to understand who our true source of blessing, wisdom and protection is. We should never rely on our own defenses and preparations for survival either spiritually or physically. The knowledge, wisdom and means to prepare are all blessings from God. “Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy” (1 Timothy 6:17).
Examples of preparedness
There is a beautiful story of ten virgins waiting for the bridegroom that entreats us to prepare ourselves spiritually to be the bride of Christ. But did you ever consider the physical aspect of the story? The wise virgins had enough oil so they were prepared and ready to go.
Every day floods, ice storms, tornadoes, and earthquakes occur somewhere. Are we physically prepared, but much more, are we spiritually prepared? What would we do in the event of an emergency? Do we have extra oil? Should we prepare? Can we prepare?
The description in Proverbs 31 is that of a godly, wise woman. Notice that verse 21 shows how she has prepared: “She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household [are] clothed with scarlet.”
In Proverbs 6:6 we are told to consider the ant and be wise: “Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise.” An ant gathers her food and stores it; she works diligently all day preparing. The wisdom we are striving for comes in growing and preparing spiritually, but isn’t it also wise to prepare as much as we can physically?
Physical emergency preparedness
How prepared are you and your family for an emergency? What should you be prepared for?
The first step for physical emergency preparedness is to consider the emergencies that are possible in the area you live. Do you live on or near the ocean, a fault line, river, airport, railroad yard, or interstate? Consider the possible scenarios:
• Hurricane or typhoon.
• Ice storm.
• Chemical spill.
• Medical emergency.
• Terrorist attack.
Next, consider the effects of any of these events on your daily life. What if you could not get to the grocery store for several days? What if the electricity was out for several days? What if you had to evacuate your neighborhood or shelter in place? What would you need in each of these situations?
The next step is to design a plan for your family. Consider contingency plans in the event your normal daily tasks are interrupted or cannot be completed in the same way. If you have to leave the area, will you meet your spouse or children somewhere? If you are unable to leave the house, what items would your family need? Don’t forget in this stage of planning to also consider those who do not live with you but who you care for, such as an elderly parent or neighbor. It is also good to consider what affect the emergency and the plan for dealing with it will have on your pets so you can prepare to take care of them as well.
The website for the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) in the United States lists the items that you need to create a basic emergency kit. These items include:
• Water – one gallon per person per day, for at least three days (for drinking and sanitation).
• Battery powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert.
• Extra batteries.
• A whistle to signal for help.
• Dust masks to filter contaminated air.
• Plastic sheeting and duct tape in the event you need to shelter in place.
• Moist towelettes.
• Garbage bags with ties (personal sanitation).
• Wrench/Pliers to turn off utilities.
• Manual can opener.
• Local maps.
• Cell phone with chargers, inverter or solar charger.
• Non-perishable food: a three-day supply for each person.
• Eating utensils.
• (I would add a Bible, as nothing will be of more comfort than God’s word in the event of an emergency.)
It is also advised to have on hand a supply of any additional items that individuals in your household may need, such as prescription medication, glasses, infant formula, diapers, and pet food and water. It is also advisable to have some additional cash on hand in the event you are unable to retrieve funds from your accounts.
Other items to consider when building your emergency kit or outlining the plan for your family include:
• Important family documents such as copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account records in a waterproof, portable container.
• Emergency reference material such as a first aid book or free information printed from the FEMA Web site.
• Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person. Consider additional bedding if you live in a cold-weather climate.
• Complete change of clothing including a long sleeved shirt, long pants and sturdy shoes. Consider additional clothing if you live in a cold-weather climate.
• Household chlorine bleach and medicine dropper – when diluted, nine parts water to one part bleach, bleach can be used as a disinfectant. Or in an emergency, you can use it to treat water by using 16 drops of regular household liquid bleach per gallon of water. Do not use scented, color safe or bleaches with added cleaners.
• Fire extinguisher.
• Matches in a waterproof container.
• Feminine supplies and personal hygiene items.
• Mess kits, paper cups, plates, paper towels and plastic utensils.
• Paper and pencil.
• Books, games, puzzles or other activities for children.
Your family home emergency kit should be stored in a designated place and should be ready in the event you must leave your home quickly. It should be updated yearly and food items refreshed to avoid expiring.
When preparing your kit, consider preparing a kit for your workplace as well. You should be prepared to shelter at work for at least twenty-four hours. A workplace kit should be in one case and easily accessible. It would include food, water, medication and possibly toiletries. Consider the possibility of an evacuation that requires long-distance walking from your workplace as well.
Another area to consider is an emergency that leaves you stranded in your car. Each car in your household should be equipped with an emergency kit that includes:
• Jumper cables.
• Flashlights and extra batteries.
• First aid kit and any necessary medication.
• High-protein food items (nuts, energy bars).
• AM/FM radio.
In areas of cold weather, your car kit should also include:
Salt or cat litter for traction.
The FEMA website http://www.ready.gov/make-plan-kids offers many suggestions on emergency planning and includes activities to teach and prepare your children.
The physical preparations can seem like an overwhelming task. How overwhelming it must seem to the ant hauling back that morsel of food, relentlessly going back and forth storing up his provisions in the heat of the day. “The ants [are] a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer” (Proverbs 30:25).
We should take some responsibility for our families, and we are admonished that a wise person will make preparations.
There are many sources of information on emergency planning and preparedness, and some can be very helpful, while others can be somewhat extreme. Each family should assess their needs and situation and plan accordingly, being careful not to lose our perspective or become greedy or covetous of our possessions or supplies. “And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth” (Luke 12:15).
Our assured emergency plan
In an emergency and in our daily lives, our peace comes from knowing, not that we have stockpiled food and water, but that God is in control. He is our protector and He gave us His Word as an instruction manual. In it we see examples and directions to be spiritually alert and watchful, and spiritually and physically prepared and wise.
We put our ultimate trust in the creator and sustainer of our universe, our merciful Father and loving High Priest, and no matter what emergency we find ourselves in we can be assured God will be with us. “Thou wilt keep [him] in perfect peace, [whose] mind [is] stayed[ on thee]: because he trusteth in thee” (Isaiah 26:3).
For information about disasters and God’s intervention please request our free booklet: Why Does God Allow Suffering?