September 5th, 2008

A Snapshot of a Community’s Preparedness


photo credit: sam_

Last night, the community in which I live participated in an emergency communications drill conducted by the local stake of the LDS Church. The stake has been working diligently in recent months to solidify its emergency preparedness and communications plans, and encouraging each of the assigned congregations to likewise work on their plan and prepare.

As part of the communications plan, a hierarchy has been established to allow the flow of information to travel smoothly up from the ground to the stake leadership. This structure is as follows:

Of course, this would more accurately look like a tree, since there are multiple bishops, each with multiple neighborhood reps and block captains. But you get the idea.

You might notice in the graph above that there are several people involved in the transmission of information. As part of the drill, and in the event of an emergency, the block captain would go around to ~10 homes in his immediate vicinity to collect information on each family’s status. He then reports to the neighboorhood rep, who then sends the information up the ladder.

I am on our ward’s emergency preparedness committee, and have also been asked to be the neighborhood representative for our subdivision (about 60 homes, divided into 5 “blocks”). When we received word last night that the drill had commenced, I began trying to contact the block captains. Only one of the five was home, which means that I (as the next rung of the ladder) had the privilege of going to 50 homes in the subdivision myself, running around like a chicken with its head cut off.

Additionally, the neighborhood representative for the other subdivision in our ward’s boundaries was not home, so until the ward emergency preparedness committee chair was able to get home, I had to try to contact their neighborhood’s block captains as well, and was also only able to reach one of them there.

I share these details only because they are indicative of a real emergency, and hence part of a drill. We have no idea when disaster will strike, and it could likely be during the day when people are away at work and running errands. The structure of communication shown above has multiple levels, I think, specifically for that reason. Each block captain also has an alternative (none of which I was able to get a hold of, ironically enough).

So I spent the night going around the neighborhood, knocking on doors. As part of the drill we were asked to collect some information from each household (including those not of our faith). Those two questions were as follows:

  • Does each member of your household have a 72 hour kit?
  • How many months of food storage does your family have?

As the night wore on I became more and more sorrowful as I was continually presented with staggering numbers of unpreparedness among most, ineptitude among many, and complete indifference among some. In addition to the questions above, I also asked those I contacted if they had water storage. I would estimate that roughly 95% of families have nothing in the way of water storage.

I was able to obtain not only our ward’s numbers, but those of most other wards in the stake as well. Below is the data, sanitized of any identifiable information regarding each ward:

As you can see, we’re doing fairly well with 72 hour kits (or, rather, far better than we are with food storage). I spoke to many families who said that they had 72 hour kits, but when pressed for a little more information revealed that they had the contents, but that they were not assembled into kits. I didn’t mark those people down as having kits, because in the event of a rapid evacuation there is no chance that they’ll have the time to assemble a kit with everything they need.

Clearly, there is a lot of work to be done. The food storage numbers are absolutely dismal, and are heavily inflated by a small minority of families that have their entire year supply. A significant majority of the families I spoke to had nothing beyond what little was in their pantry.

Community preparedness is very, very important to me, as it should be to all of us. I can store a year supply of food and water, but if my neighbors completely fail to prepare, guess whose door they’ll be knocking on (or attempting to break down)? My desire to see my neighbors and community become more prepared may indeed have a selfish component, being that I want them to use their own resources instead of mine. Should the day come, we will of course share what we have. But while the night rolls on, I’ll continue working my tail off to encourage and help others to take care of their own preparedness.

We’ve got a lot of work to do…

27 Responses to “A Snapshot of a Community’s Preparedness”

  1. David
    September 5, 2008 at 10:17 am #

    I don’t mean to nit-pick but the communication chart seems to be a bit of a bottleneck at the top. If there is only one ward emergency prep chair (WEPC) for each bishop then it seems to me that information should not flow from WEPC to Bishop to Stake Communications specialist (SCS) to Stake President. I would think that the WEPC should inform both the SCS and the Bishop so that the Bishop is informed without creating an extra layer of communications for information to be delayed or distorted. Also, this would allow for independent channels for communication with information flowing up through the WEPC and SCS and then instructions/responses can flow down through the Stake President and Bishop without interrupting the up-flow of reports.

  2. Connor
    September 5, 2008 at 10:33 am #

    As Bishops are stewards over their areas, I think it’s left up to them to collect the information as best they can and report up to their leaders. Last night, the Bishop called me (a neighborhood rep) directly, bypassing the WEPC, in order to get a status update and report on my numbers. So the structure is there as an “ideal”, I think, but certainly must be flexible if certain people are not home, not responsive, or too slow.

  3. David
    September 5, 2008 at 10:38 am #

    At least it’s flexible. That’s important.

  4. Doug Bayless
    September 5, 2008 at 10:45 am #

    Connor, to what do you attribute the large differences in averages from ward to ward? Is it simply more a focus in some wards than others?

    Regardless, thanks for the timely post that has me doing some self-assessment on my own family preparedness.

  5. Connor
    September 5, 2008 at 11:13 am #

    Connor, to what do you attribute the large differences in averages from ward to ward? Is it simply more a focus in some wards than others?

    You know, I wondered that myself last night as I was listening to the radio and hearing other wards report their numbers. There’s a large disparity between wards, and I’m not entirely sure why.

    The community in which I live is, shall we say, rather affluent. That’s not to say that everybody here in wealthy—indeed, there may be many living beyond their means and thus heavily in debt.

    I’d be very interested to run these numbers against those from a stake in a less affluent area. One wonders if by saving money on their monthly mortgage, families in such an area would have a greater ability to purchase preparedness items such as 72 hour kits, food storage, etc.

  6. RoAnn
    September 5, 2008 at 1:45 pm #

    Very interesting post! One hopes that after this drill, a lot of people will decide they need to increase their preparedness.

    One thing people may forget about is the water stored in their water heater. Most people have at least 40 gallons there, and some large newer homes have two 50-gallon tanks.

    In that light, I suspect your stake may move up to 100% having at least some water stored. :)

  7. Kelly W.
    September 5, 2008 at 9:00 pm #

    Connor, your information about the mock emergency and the statistics on preparedness are very interesting and informative. I have seen similar results on the calling tree in our own ward and stake. At any given time, if an emergency were to arise, most people would be out of their homes, away from phone contact or otherwise occupied and unreachable. I don’t think there would be any better way for word to get out to residents than is already set up. Any other plan would also have weaknesses, and a 100% notification rate would be an impossibility. Even a super-detailed and thought-out plan would eventually fail because someone is going to move, or someone is going to change their phone number someone is going to be on vacation.

    But, the presence of a plan, any plan is better than none at all. For this, the church can be commended. The church is the organization that constantly comes through, and the government is the one that constantly fails. (Hurricane Katrina)

    However, the church will force no man to heaven. It is ultimately up to the individual, and up to each family to weather the consequences of an emergency or disaster. It will not be up to the emergency system of the church to help everybody through a disaster. Even though the church can be commended for sending aid to hurricane areas, the ultimate responsibility still comes down to the individual.

    While preparation for an emergency is laudable, a 72-hour kit is not a church program. The church doesn’t even have a “year’s supply of food” program. (It used to, though.) The official policy of the church is now a 3 month’s supply of storable food, which should be rotated, and food storage for longer periods is recommended only when conditions permit. Most people have at least a 3 month’s supply of food already in their cabinets, if they had to depend upon it for survival. In survival conditions we could consume half the calories we currently do in our U. S. obesity diets.

    Latter-day Saints are today acting as though the little boy cried wolf too many times. We have learned for decades about storing a year’s supply of food, and many older church members took the council and invested much labor and money into buying that year’s supply. It sat in basements for decades, and was never used. I currently feed tons and tons of 30 year old food to my chickens from people in the area who can’t stand the thought of actually eating it, or wasting it by taking it to the landfill. This is NOT what the Lord had in mind when He gave the counsel through prophets to store food. Stored food is NOT to be wasted. We ought to rotate it. But, because Saints have seen so much of their hard money and labor go into storing food for years and years, just to be turned into chicken feed, they no longer see the wisdom in storing food. The church has recognized the fact that only about 10% or less of the membership actually have any food storage system in their homes.

    The church has now counseled us to store a 3 months’ supply. But do we do a 3 months’ supply because it is easier than a one year’s supply? I don’t think so. There have been no Conference addresses for quite a few years now. I wondered about the silence on the food storage talks from the GAs a few years ago, and took it upon myself to ask some Stake Presidents and Bishops why. They really had no concrete answer for me. I asked this simple question: If the doctrine of storing food is really a teaching of the church, when would a new convert to the church be introduced to the teaching of food storage? The missionaries don’t include it in their discussions.

    Allegedly, Boyd Packer was asked this question in a Stake’s Priesthood Leadership Meeting where he was a visiting authority at a Stake Conference. He is reported to have answered the question in this manner: He said we would never hear the doctrine of a year’s supply of food come over the pulpit at General Conference ever again, because there are so many members around the world who don’t even know for sure where there next meal is coming from, let alone to be able to acquire so much food that they could have the luxury of storing it. He said the counsel of how to implement the food storage in their specific areas would come from the local leaders of the wards and stakes, not from Church Headquarters. (Remember, I got this second-hand, so don’t take it as doctrine. But it rings true to me.)

    What is startling to me is that Mormons, who should be leading the way in food storage, are actually lagging far behind the current fad in the nation among non-members of storing food! If you listen to an Internet Radio station, you will hear many radio hosts and callers and radio commercials talking about storing some food and seeds for the up-coming hard times of inflation and high energy costs which are affecting food prices and causing shortages. (www.wtprn.com, http://www.republicbroadcasting.org, http://www.noliesradio.org, and http://www.gcnlive.com are some examples.) Is this a case of the Spirit working among those with an open mind to encourage them to practice some provident living, while the LDS have gradually been lulled away into a false sense of security? I think maybe so.

    Connor, if the local leaders in your area are emphasizing emergency preparedness and food storage, I think members in your area ought to treat their counsel as though it came from the Prophet.

    An area I feel strongly about is gardening for a portion of your food needs. We used to hear a lot over the pulpit about planting gardens. Even though we in Utah would have a very hard time supplying all our nutrients from our own gardens (heck, we have 6 months of winter here in Utah!) we sure could use some of the knowledge we’d acquire from actually planting and harvesting a garden. Crops we are used to eating require a fertile soil that has been worked and built up for a few years. Organic gardening books will tell you it takes about 7 years to get a soil up to the fertility levels needed to raise abundant crops. People have commented to me in years past that IF they needed to raise some of their own food, they’d just dig up their lawns and plant it. I propose that they’d have a few years of crop failure from lack of their knowledge and know-how and lack of soil fertility. Most people seem to treat gardeners and farmers as dummies who just know how to use a shovel and can put a seed in the ground and water it. Believe me, it’s not that simple. (People used to go to college for agricultural degrees, but now-a-days, horticulture and animal husbandry is looked upon as something even a cave man could do. I propose that college-educated young men and women of today wouldn’t be able to plant a successful food garden any more.)

    Another area, even if a college educated person could successfully raise some basic food crops, would they know how to store it or prepare it for table use? Just how does one go about making potato chips from their spuds, or Fritos from their corn on the cob anyway? And what about things like drought and weather catastrophes? Would we know how to use the weeds and indigenous plants and creatures as food?

    I have gone on long enough, and could go on for a few more pages in these thoughts which have occupied my brain for the past few years. But, I will quit, hoping I have inspired someone to think a little deeper into the subject of preparation and provident living. Thanks Connor for bring up your interesting experiences.

  8. Adrien
    September 6, 2008 at 2:47 pm #

    In this welfare society, personal responsibilty has flown the coop. Why should we be prepared when Uncle Sam is going to take care of it, anyways? What goes through one’s mind to store several months of food, knowing fully that nobody else is doing this preparation and that your food would be stripped from you in the event of some sort of catastrophe?

    Though I don’t have a solution for the greater population, the failure of your drill suggests that the network is too large and a smaller, more select group of willing individuals ought to band together.

  9. Connor
    September 6, 2008 at 9:12 pm #

    What goes through one’s mind to store several months of food, knowing fully that nobody else is doing this preparation and that your food would be stripped from you in the event of some sort of catastrophe?

    A few things…

    Latter-day Saints, who believe in modern-day prophets and revelation, have been continually commanded to store against a day of want. Whether that day of want be brought about by unemployment (as occurred twice with my family growing up), natural disaster, or some other scenario, we as a church have always emphasized provident living and self-reliance (of which storage plays a large part.
    I think it’s common sense to have a backup plan. It’s all about redundancy (there’s the computer nerd in me speaking). It was astonishing to me (as one who has storage) to meet people in my neighborhood that barely had anything in their pantry, let alone anything in terms of storage. Seeing chaos all over the world drives home the truth that those who are prepared can weather the storms far more easily.
    Compassion is, at least for me, a key element in storage. While I hope to be able to use the majority of my resources for my own family when the time comes, I in no way will withhold what I have from those who are in need. Yes, they should have wised up previously and stored their own stuff. But I’m certainly not going to watch them starve to death when I have an abundance.

    Though I don’t have a solution for the greater population, the failure of your drill suggests that the network is too large and a smaller, more select group of willing individuals ought to band together.

    While the organization does become increasingly large in size as you gravitate towards the top, the idea behind preparedness in the LDS church is to do exactly what you suggest. Wards (congregations) are comprised of anywhere between 150-300 individuals (on average), and within that unit are broken down into smaller groups and structures that allow for more individualized ministry and assistance.

    But instead of grouping together with a few other survivalists and barricading yourselves off from the rest of (the unprepared) civilization, I believe the proper role of a Christian individual is to render assistance wherever possible. Thus, while we’re still able to do so, we’ll continue to work hard in our community to help and encourage others to become prepared.

    This comes in a variety of ways. Our ward operates an emergency preparedness email list where we send out tips, suggestions, group buy information, guidance, etc., to help people continue to keep preparedness items in focus. We hold activities every so often to train people on some specific element that we feel is necessary. Church leaders continually expound on the doctrine of preparedness (both temporal and spiritual). And we will be meeting together as blocks (those groups of ~10 homes I mentioned in the post) to get to know one another, share ideas and resources, and work on common goals.

    As I said, I think the best way to approach preparedness (while we’re able) is to inspire and encourage the community instead of building a wall between your storage and everybody else. Should it come to the point where somebody wishes to use force to steal my resources, well, then, that’s why I’m glad to have the second amendment on my side. But if people are in need and willing to work or exchange for something to need, then I’m more than willing.

    Except for my canned dum dums. Nobody touches those.

  10. Jeff T
    September 7, 2008 at 11:55 am #

    “the failure of your drill suggests that the network is too large and a smaller, more select group of willing individuals ought to band together.”

    One danger of this is the possibility of engendering an elitist, exclusive attitude. I know a few “We’re going to survive while the rest of you unfaithful won’t” people, and they aren’t fun to be around. Their unchristian attitude, in my mind, disqualifies them from many of the blessings of preparedness, and turns their sense of security into a sense of superiority.

    I’m not saying you are advocating this. Just sharing my experience in a form of warning.

  11. Ryan
    September 13, 2008 at 9:11 pm #

    You know, when the church was faced with an increased burden of caring for its members during the Depression, Harold B. Lee cam to the understanding that no new organization is necessary, we have the priesthood structure. For some reason, all this “emergency preparation” has a whole new structure. In fact, there’s a person in between the stake president and the bishop. I don’t see the Elder’s Quorum President or the High Priest Group Leader. So much for using the priesthood leadership.

    I don’t understand the purpose of asking people in the neighborhood if they have their 72 hr kit. Someone tell me where the church has ever recommended that. It’s a mormon myth. The counsel has always been a years supply of food.

    All these games playing disaster I think are actually counter-productive. It’s like improperly training for something by reinforcing the idea that we need people in hard hats and flashlights going around to each house, or that somehow we can “organize” ourselves out of following the counsel of the prophets to have a years supply of food.

    It just makes us all feel good that we are doing something to “prepare,” so we do it.

  12. Connor
    September 13, 2008 at 9:20 pm #

    I don’t understand the purpose of asking people in the neighborhood if they have their 72 hr kit.

    Common sense. Not sure where you’re from, but we’ve had our share of scares around here in the past year (nearby fire, a couple bad snow storms, etc.) A year supply of food doesn’t help you when you’re stranded in the car or have to leave in a hurry.

    Someone tell me where the church has ever recommended that.

    For behold, it is not meet that I should command in all things; for he that is compelled in all things, the same is a slothful and not a wise servant; wherefore he receiveth no reward. (Doctrine and Covenants 58:26)

    It’s a mormon myth. The counsel has always been a years supply of food.

    You need to go brush up on your church counsel, then. The current counsel is not a year’s supply of food.

    All these games playing disaster I think are actually counter-productive.

    Like training our missionaries by putting them in situations where they can practice their skills and methods in a safe, protected environment that allows for positive feedback? Right.

    It’s like improperly training for something by reinforcing the idea that we need people in hard hats and flashlights going around to each house, or that somehow we can “organize” ourselves out of following the counsel of the prophets to have a years supply of food.

    I think you’re completely missing the point of provident living. Having a year’s worth of beans and rice in your basement does not mean you’re following the counsel and the principle of the law. In fact, if you think that you’re done after accumulating some food, then I think you’ve totally missed the point.

    It just makes us all feel good that we are doing something to “prepare,” so we do it.

    Perhaps that’s how you feel, but the scriptures and words of the prophets make clear to me that we are to be prepared in all things. Practicing emergency preparedness skills, getting necessary training, understanding how to turn off water, gas, and electricity in the house, how to do basic search and rescue, fire suppression, first aid, etc.—these are smart things to do. In essence, they reflect the wisdom stated repeatedly in 2nd Nephi of acting and not being acted upon.

    I hope you’re able to weather the storms of life with your year supply… but conventional wisdom, common sense, and the historical record dictate that some buckets of basic staples won’t save you from most of the disasters and emergencies that threaten us.

  13. Jeff T
    September 13, 2008 at 9:21 pm #

    From what I understand, the church has never encouraged 72 hour kits. I am told the idea was actually originally encouraged as part of a government preparedness program.

    Not saying they are a bad idea… just agreeing with Ryan that we ought not conflate a government preparedness program with actual church counsel.

    I could be completely wrong, but I’ve been told that the idea for the 72 hour kit was developed because that was the estimated time it might require for government assistance to reach you in the event of a major disaster. Of course, we ought not rely on a program designed only to keep you alive until the government arrives.

  14. Connor
    September 13, 2008 at 9:28 pm #

    From what I understand, the church has never encouraged 72 hour kits.

    So long as the Church leadership has never said “72 hour kits are bad idea; do not use them,” I think it’s perfectly acceptable for local leadership to champion the idea, especially if it suits the needs of the members within their specific stewardship.

    Imagine arguing that it’s wrong for the local leadership in a tornado-ridden area to encourage its members to store a wrench next to their gas valve shut-off. When the counsel is for their specific stewardship and not in contradiction with anything from higher up the chain (and even more, in perfect harmony with the scriptures which dictate that we’re to prepare every needful thing), then I think it’s totally off base to say that it shouldn’t be done simply because the Prophet has not told us to do it himself.

    …I’ve been told that the idea for the 72 hour kit was developed because that was the estimated time it might require for government assistance to reach you in the event of a major disaster.

    Actually, according to the Fire Chief of the Lone Peak Safety District, the average for Utah Valley is seven to 12 days.

  15. Jeff T
    September 13, 2008 at 9:38 pm #

    Notice I never said it shouldn’t be done… in fact, I said, “I’m not saying it’s a bad idea.” I’m only saying we shouldn’t rely on them, just as you would agree that having a 72-hr kit doesn’t mean you are prepared, or that you’ve successfully “followed the prophet.” I’ve seen people get 72-hr kits together and say, “Well, we’ve followed the prophet’s counsel, and now we’re prepared.” Well, 72-hr kits aren’t specifically part of the prophet’s counsel (even though, as you say, they don’t contradict), and far from sufficient.

  16. Connor
    September 13, 2008 at 9:42 pm #

    …having a 72-hr kit doesn’t mean you are prepared…

    I’ve never met anybody who had a 72 hour kit and thought that they were sufficiently prepared, or that they were done fulfilling prophetic counsel. I’m intrigued that you have—what are these people thinking??

    I think 72 hour kits are an important, but very small part of one’s overall preparedness. In fact, most people’s idea of a 72 hour is a scant collection of a few items that would make three days of survival nearly unbearable.

    My wife and I have what are termed “bugout bags” (or, what I call “72 hour kits on steroids”). These are each comprised of large soft-frame backpacking bags chock full of all sorts of goodies that would make three days of survival quite enjoyable (or, considering the circumstances in which we’d have to use them, at least much less miserable than we’d otherwise feel).

  17. Kelly W.
    September 14, 2008 at 10:32 am #

    I would like to share some personal insight on the community preparedness plans vs. the Lord’s plan for provident living and food storage.

    I was on the High Council back during the years of 1998 through 2001 or 02. At that time, the Y2K thing was all over the news. As I remember, the Church did not officially have any comments or statements on Y2K. But all the members in our Stake were sure talking about it. In fact, our Stake’s dry pack canning machine was booked for weeks and our Stake President wanted to purchase a second one! But, the discussion on the High Council was that if we took such purchases seriously, the members would think “the Church” wanted all members to take the Y2K thing seriously.

    But about that time period, Utah’s governor thought it would be in keeping with the Y2K spirit of things and have some kind of State Plan on community preparedness, and the Governor asked every County Government to submit a plan for such contingencies. So, when the State order hit the desks of Morgan County Government officials, it was simply passed on to the Stake Presidents in the area. The County apparently thought past counsel from the Church was solid, and thought the plan already existed through Church/Priesthood lines. As a Stake High Council, we were in charge of implementing a plan to satisfy the County Government. We wrote it up, and passed it through the Stake President and on to the County. As a Stake, we encouraged each Ward to call a chairman to oversee a calling tree.

    But, in the implementation on a County level, I’m afraid that most normal LDS church members got the idea that this was some kind of “Church plan” when in fact it was not. The Lord’s plan of provident living and some food storage never entered into the government’s plan of emergency preparedness.

    As Connor mentioned, his area has seen some emergencies, and preparedness for such emergencies ought to be done at some level. I think if his Stake leaders want to do such in their area, it is within their authority to do so on their own Stake and Ward levels. But, I think we are mistaken to project Connor’s area and his thoughts into an overall “Church directive.”

  18. Ryan
    September 15, 2008 at 10:42 am #

    Jeff, you’re right about 72 hr kits stemming from civil defense. 72 hr kits are “rescue me” kits. Their purpose is to keep you alive until you can be rescued, and 72 hours is the typical time it takes for rescue (at least now, when resources are not overwhelmed). Not exactly “provident living.”

    Conor, you show me when any General Authority has ever anywhere recommended to the members to get 72 hour kits. Ever. Until you do, realize that you are advising and surveying people to do something that is not church counsel. It may be a good idea, yes, but it is just one idea of many, and not what we have been counseled to do.

    We are “playing disaster.” This is not role playing like missionary efforts. It’s more similar to “playing war.” We have gotten into several wars over the decades because we think it will be easier and less brutal than it really is. Same goes with this “preparation.” It is way more chaotic, dirty, and scary. If we really want to “prepare” people to respond to a disaster, we need to put them in a realistic situation, or at least acknowledge that going around door-to-door asking if the family is ok would pretty much only work if there was no disaster. If you want to know what modern warfare is like, watch Blackhawk Down. If you want to know what modern disaster relief is like….? Play “door-to-door” surveyor? How about observing, or better yet helping out, in an ER? You cannot prepare for emergencies without understanding the stress that will be involved. People will be scared, no one will have enough information, know one will no one what is going on, people will have to form ad hoc groups and work together. People will have to make decisions in seconds with imperfect information and have to balance out the risks of different options. Are you practicing that Conor? Or do you think going around asking people if they have their 72 kits will somehow prepare people for this?

    Ok, Conor, if 72 hour kits are common sense and we need to be prepared in all things, let’s ask other questions: Do you have a semi-automatic weapon to deter invasion from a foreign force or rioting that the police cannot control? Have much debt on your house do you have, and what is your income? Can I see your gas lines to make sure they are earth-quake proof? Are your vaccines up to date? You see, you are just picking out 72 hour kits as if it were important for you (a private citizen) to know, and everything else wasn’t and would be appropriate to ask.

    What has happened is that for many members, they have replaced the counsel to get a years supply of food and clothing and fuel, and replaced it with having 72 hour kits with flashlights. And then they go around asking members about this, as if this were some sort of measure of preparedness, or adherence to church counsel. It is Pharisitical.

  19. Connor
    September 15, 2008 at 11:14 am #

    72 hr kits are “rescue me” kits. Their purpose is to keep you alive until you can be rescued…

    That’s actually the opposite of the general understanding of 72 hour kits. 72 hour kits are if you have to leave your home for whatever reason, and therefore do not have access to all the supplies you have stockpiled there. If you’re home, you can (ideally) get by without rescue for some time.

    Conor, you show me when any General Authority has ever anywhere recommended to the members to get 72 hour kits.

    I’ve already cited you scripture which clearly and thoroughly justifies any method of adequate preparation. Ignore them at your own peril.

    If you want to know what modern disaster relief is like….?

    Go get CERT trained.

    Are you practicing that Conor? Or do you think going around asking people if they have their 72 kits will somehow prepare people for this?

    Your arrogant attitude is quite alarming. Are you demanding perfection at the outset? Do you not understand the scriptures which teach the principle of line upon line, precept upon precept? Have you had no experience interacting with the Saints from a preparedness standpoint and seeing how lethargic and apathetic they are? Do you feel (as your comments seem to imply) that no training is better than some?

    Nowhere have I claimed that 72 hour kits are the only preparation necessary, nor that that is all we are doing as a stake. Your rush to jump to conclusions and throw a fit that we’re not doing what you feel should be done is out of line.

    How is your ward doing? Have you taken it upon yourself to train everybody in combat first aid, emergency search and rescue, and explosive ordnance disposal? Give me a break.

    You see, you are just picking out 72 hour kits as if it were important for you (a private citizen) to know, and everything else wasn’t and would be appropriate to ask.

    Easy off, soldier. I am following the direction and inspiration of our stake leaders, not implementing my own tangential preparedness desires. I think that 72 hour kits are woefully inadequate if left to themselves, but they’re a start—one, it should be noted, that our leadership has asked us all to work on. Cry about it all you want, but I’m following orders.

    What has happened is that for many members, they have replaced the counsel to get a years supply of food and clothing and fuel, and replaced it with having 72 hour kits with flashlights. And then they go around asking members about this, as if this were some sort of measure of preparedness, or adherence to church counsel. It is Pharisitical.

    Ha! This paragraph actually made me laugh with its glaring irony. You apparently got your Biblical stories backwards, because it was the Pharisees who demanded absolute perfection (on the outside) and completely ignored the spirit of the law. 72 hour kits are one portion of preparedness, and encompass the drive to prepare every needful thing.

    I’m sorry that you feel that Saints ignore the counsel to obtain a year supply and instead feel prepared with a 72 hour kit. I personally have not met a single Saint who feels this way. Instead, they recognize that what they have is quite inadequate—they just don’t feel, for whatever reason, that working on their year supply is a priority.

    I appreciate your comments (though I feel they are misguided), but if you wish to participate further, then you need to tone it down a bit. Most of your accusations are completely off base and out of harmony with recent counsel (which is not to obtain a year supply) and scriptural instruction (to prepare every needful thing—not just some buckets of wheat).

  20. Jeff T
    September 15, 2008 at 12:34 pm #

    I’m talking from a historical perspective. The original intent of the 72-hr kit was, as Ryan described, a “rescue me” kit. It may have evolved in its purpose for you and others, and that is fine. However, a chief specialist in preparedness for the church mentioned in a fireside I went to about their frustration with member’s fixation on 72-hr kits and thinking it is a divinely-inspired program. He essentially said, “Go ahead, do it, it’s probably a good idea. But it isn’t an official part of the divinely inspired program of the church, so don’t get that confused.”

    Simply put: Preparedness is divine counsel. 72-hr kits as a mode of preparation is a man-invented idea originally designed as part of a civic defense program. Many members have adapted the idea to complement their adherence to divine counsel. This isn’t bad. The idea itself, however, has never been endorsed by church leadership the way food storage and other preparedness programs have been. Thus, to defend that particular mode of preparation as divinely inspired is problematic.

    To quote a scripture about preparedness in response to Ryan’s challenge is, quite frankly, like quoting a scripture about family in support of an opinion that every family should have a weekly bowling night. Well, I’m sure it’s a great idea, but not specifically church counsel.

  21. Jeff T
    September 15, 2008 at 12:42 pm #

    One more comment: You told Ryan that he needs to update himself on church counsel. Update me: Where have church leaders encouraged us to get 72-hr kits? This is a repeat of Ryan’s challenge, and I don’t want a cop-out answer. Either they have or haven’t. And if they haven’t, as you say, then it doesn’t make them a bad idea, but it does mean you can’t claim that they are church counsel.

  22. Connor
    September 15, 2008 at 12:46 pm #

    The idea itself, however, has never been endorsed by church leadership the way food storage and other preparedness programs have been. Thus, to defend that particular mode of preparation as divinely inspired is problematic.

    The idea has not been endorsed by leadership, but general preparedness has. So, given those two criteria, are you stating that local leadership cannot be divinely inspired to institute a program that incorporates 72 hour kits as part of the total plan?

    I think those who oppose this practice can’t see the forest for the trees. Nobody is saying that church leadership has commanded it, and nobody is saying that it’s the end all, be all of preparedness. It’s simply a stepping stone on your way to overall and thorough preparedness.

    Update me: Where have church leaders encouraged us to get 72-hr kits? This is a repeat of Ryan’s challenge, and I don’t want a cop-out answer.

    I have specifically stated that church leaders have not specifically endorsed 72 hour kits. The “updated church counsel” to which I referred Ryan was not in reference to 72 hour kits, but to a year supply of food. The current counsel in that specific regard is to store three months of food you eat on a daily basis, and a “longer-term supply” of other foods that last a long time. More on that here.

  23. Jeff T
    September 15, 2008 at 1:05 pm #

    I believe local leadership can be inspired to implement particular policies in their area. If that is the case, then 72-hr kits are divinely inspired for your particular area (but not the church as a whole). Outside of your geographical area (unless in another area where the local leadership has recommended the same), 72-hr kits could to be recommended as a logical way to supplement church counsel, but not as a part of any church program. Actual church programs ought to be given focus and priority, however, with 72-hr kits being only a peripheral way to supplement the program.

  24. Connor
    September 15, 2008 at 1:07 pm #

    Yup. That’s all I’m sayin’.

  25. Connor
    December 31, 2008 at 9:43 am #

    I just received word that our stake is planning a follow-up drill in a couple weeks. We’ll see if the numbers have improved at all…

  26. Connor
    January 26, 2009 at 9:04 am #

    Update: here are the results from the second drill.

  27. miabia
    February 1, 2010 at 11:47 am #

    There may not be specific talks by the church that say we should have a 72 hour kit but the official church website gives links for emergency prepairdness resources. Those links are government sites but they all recommend 72 hour kits.

    In my mind, if the church posts the links on their website as resources then they are encouraging the idea.

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