By Connie McCourt
As I write this, thousands of people on the East Coast have been evacuated. Nearly 700,000 are expected to be without power for weeks. In Utah an estimated 5,000 people in Utah have been evacuated because of the Pole Creek and Bald Mountain fires. Some have come to Carbon County for refuge. Highway 6 may be closed again if the fire continues to spread.
Those who waited until they were in the path of a 1,000-year storm have probably had a challenge buying supplies to protect their homes as well as food, water, flashlights and batteries, fuel, etc. Those who were prepared are probably feeling less stressed.
The Wellington Stake Preparedness Fair, September 22, 10:00 A.M. to 2:30 P.M., will have free classes and displays which will help you prepare to evacuate, shelter in place, cook without power, communicate with rescuers and family, protect important records, obtain clean water, and prepare for hygiene and sanitation.
If an emergency forces you to leave within 5 minutes, what will you take with you? Do you have an emergency kit with food, water, medicine, water, clothing, etc? Do you have a family binder to organize important family information in one place? You will need medical and immunization records, birth certificates, passports, deeds and titles, insurance papers, and proof that it is your house. You need paper copies and electronic copies.
What help will city and emergency services be able to supply? Wellington City Fire Chief Matt Perea will share information about evacuations and will sound the siren between 10:00 and 10:30. We then can judge if we can hear the siren while in the stake center. City officials will describe what they can and cannot do during an emergency. Remember that you must be prepared to take care of yourself because emergency personnel will be spread thin handling the most serious situations first. You might be way down the list.
Are you prepared to cook and provide light without electricity or natural gas? Do you have supplies and skills to cook with solar power, wood, or propane? For how long?
Do you know how to communicate with loved ones during a catastrophe? Have you set up a plan for your family, containing contact numbers for family to call in an emergency? Calling out of state is often easier than local calls during a crisis. What if your family is at school or work when the disaster occurs? Where do you meet? Has a communication network been set up for your neighborhood or church group? Are you trained in amateur radio? For about $45, you can buy a ham radio which can allow you to reach people outside the local area.
Do you have water stored? How much will you need? Do you know how to store it? Do you know how to filter and sterilize dirty water? Can you distill water that has been contaminated by chemicals? Do you own a filtering system that you can use at home or carry with you?
Do you have shelter supplies that you can use for cover or privacy if you evacuate? What if your home becomes unsafe? Can you camp outside? Do you know how to shelter in place, if necessary?
In a disaster, people rush in to help those who are in harm’s way. Does your family know how to help without being injured? CERT classes provide that training without cost.
Do you have 96 hours of food ready to grab and go? Do you have 2 weeks of food in your house in the event that the supply chain is cut by earthquake, flood, lack of fuel, etc.?
Do you have enough water stored to flush toilets during a short-term water outage? Do you have a portable toilet for evacuation or for use at your house for long-term water outage?
Are you prepared to keep yourself, clothing, and bedding clean using very little water? Infectious disease takes a large toll after emergencies. If something like an earthquake interrupts the supply chain, how long would it take to run out of diapers or feminine supplies? Do you know how to make them?
This may sound daunting. It doesn’t need to be. You probably already have most of what you need for each of these possible problems. Just gather it together. The preparedness fair will provide instruction and hand-outs to assist you in gathering supplies and developing survival skills. Binders are available for $10 donation. Supplements to previous binders will be $2 donation.
Please attend the free Preparedness Fair at the Wellington Stake building, 935 East Main, Wellington, from 10:00 A.M. to 2:30 P.M.
We ALL have to do our part. This event could save your life.