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Sunday, April 11, 2021

 Home Preparation for an Emergency

It's been a little over a year since the last big earthquake in Utah.  I can remember exactly where I was when it occurred.   That earthquake and the ensuing pandemic taught us a lot about preparedness and it's wise to sit up and pay attention to what we learned.

When preparing your home for a disaster, there are some things that will help in any situation:

What to do BEFORE an emergency

Safeguard your home. Check for potential hazards around your home and make sure everything is going to be stable and safe. Your home needs to be your place of refuge.

The physical structure:

  1. Bolt or strap down top-heavy objects, like bookshelves, water heaters and gas appliances, to prevent them from tipping over.
  2. Check electrical connections and gas pipes for faulty joints and connections.
  3. Be sure your home is anchored firmly to its foundation and structurally safe.
  4. Locate potential fire hazards and reduce their likelihood.
  5. Install smoke, propane, natural gas, and/or carbon monoxide detectors and test them regularly.

Items in your home:

  1. Place heavy objects on lower shelves. Securely fasten shelves to walls.
  2. Store bottled goods, glass, vases, china, and other breakables in low or closed cabinets or drawers.
  3. Store essential and/or unreplaceable items in waterproof unbreakable containers.
  4. Keep matches and lighters out of reach of children.
  5. Remove hazardous objects (ie. mirrors, bookshelves, heavy pots, hanging plants, etc.) from sleeping areas.
  6. Properly store flammable liquids and gases and other combustible materials.

Be prepared at home:

  1. Keep properly rated and tagged fire extinguishers on hand and teach your family how to use them properly.
  2. Store copies of important documents, such as insurance policies, deeds, and property records, in a safe place away from your home.
  3. Keep a flashlight and or light stick, “jump-in” clothes, an extra pair of shoes and prescription glasses by your bed.
  4. Acquire tools such as an ax, shovels, brooms, rope, chain saws, plastic sheeting & tape, heavy-duty to use in an emergency
  5. You need to prepare your home and your family. Just because you have a safe home doesn’t mean your family will automatically know how to use the safety measures you’ve put into place. These are great family activities that everyone can participate in.
  6. Know where and how to shut off the gas or propane, electricity, and water at main switches and valves. Teach all responsible members how to do this. Instructions HERETape the instructions to the appropriate areas for shut off.

  • Attach a valve wrench to the water line with a zip tie.

  • Write out instructions for turning off water & gas or propane lines.

  • Write out instructions for how to turn off electricity and what to leave on (fridge and refrigerator) if you have a choice.

  1. Work out a plan detailing how you will get back together if you are separated during a disaster.
  2. Discuss with your family what each person will do in case of a disaster.
  3. Remember this plan should be flexible regarding time and location of each individual during any time of the day, week, or year.
  4. Have an out-of-state contact telephone number that everyone can call to check-in with.
  5. Hold occasional drills so that your family knows what to do during and after a disaster.

  6. Find out what to do and where to go in the case of an evacuation of your community.
  7. Learn the shortest and safest routes from your home, work, church, etc., to possible evacuation areas or centers. Take into account that you may not be able to travel in vehicles and may need to travel on foot or bicycle.
  8. Learn the warning signals given by government and local authorities, what they mean, and how to respond to them.

  1. What to do AFTER an emergency

    While preparing, we always hope that we won’t have to use our preps! But the mind is a funny thing. If we are always thinking about it not happening, when it does our mind will have a difficult time switching into the gear you need to react appropriately. Think about these scenarios as very real possibilities and go through what you will do after an emergency has occurred. This is the second level of preparation.

  1. Perform first aid for immediate injuries in your own home.

  2. Check for safety hazards such as gas leaks & water line breaks.

  3. Do not use matches, lighters, appliances, or even electrical switches until you’re sure there are no gas leaks. *Do not shut off gas to the house unless you have reason to believe there is a leak. You have to have the gas company come to turn it back on.

  4. If home is unsafe, leave! Take your 72-hour kits with you.

  5. If home is safe, clean up messes that pose further threats (broken glass, exposed nails, etc.)

  6. Check on your family, neighbors and friends

  7. Prepare for aftershocks or further emergency situations

    • Take remaining wall hangings off walls – store up-side-down under couches or beds

    • Tie kitchen cupboards together, tape doors shut, or remove breakable items.

  8. Remember: stuff can be replaced. Focus on what really matters!

  9. Get on your emergency communication systems for news about the situation

  10. Start working on your basic needs - safe air, protection from the elements, water and food. 

Here in Utah there is a Great Shakeout Event on April 15th, 2021 at 10:15 am.  If you would like to participate, here is more info:

How to Participate
Information for individuals, schools and many types of organizations

Who is Participating?
Participants per county, area, & category

ShakeOut Resources
Audio and video broadcasts, manuals, posters, & much more

ShakeOut Participant Updates

Frequently Asked Questions

There are some special preparation items for earthquake.  These videos explain some of what you may want to do:

Sunday, March 14, 2021

Gardening NOW and in an EMERGENCY

DID YOU KNOW>>The time to start preparing to grow your own food in an emergency is TODAY, not when the power goes out or fuel shortages have stopped the trucks from delivering food. 

Gardening is much more than simply scattering some seeds, watering them a bit, waiting a few days and then harvesting some food. It takes time to prepare the land, nourish the soil, purchase or save seeds and grow the seeds! 

You also need to do things that work, make some mistakes, realize the good and the bad, and learn from them to become a better gardener.

Goals for this month:
  • Acquire some emergency seeds and sprouting seeds.
  • Look for a space you can grow in
  • Make sure you have a source of water

Advantages of Growing Emergency Garden Foods NOW before an emergency:

  • Saves money now that you can use for other storage foods.

  •  Your grown products ARE stored and AVAILABLE in a crisis or food shortage emergency

  • Don't have to go to the store or depend on the food supply chain.

  • Food can be grown totally organic.

Steps you can take now to prepare to garden:

  • Find a place to garden - needs 6-8 hrs of sun/day. Can be a container, raised bed, flower bed or garden spot.
  • Make sure you have a good source of water.
  • Buy seeds - only non-hybrid/heirloom seeds! Buy from a catalog like
  • Prepare you soil. Add compost to increase nutrients. You only need to add 1-2 inches and don't till or mix in.
  • Start tomatoes and peppers indoors if desired.
  • Plant seeds based on planting calendar (see side bar)
  • Water every day until the seeds sprout, then drop back to 2-3 times per week, 45 minutes per time.
  • Maintain garden. Weekly light weeding is all it takes.
Watch these short videos for more info:

Tips For Gardening in an Emergency:

  • If you don't have garden space, talk with others about putting together a neighborhood or community garden.
  • Keep enough seed so that you never plant ALL of what you have. Save some of each harvested seed variety so that you always have extra garden seed on hand to plant and replace with the next season's harvest.

Frequently asked gardening questions:

Q: What tools do I need to store to garden in an emergency?

A: I use two things every day in my garden - a Japanese gardening knife and some garden gloves. They are easy to store and indispensable for any garden.   You can also store a shovel and rake for larger areas.

Q: Where should I put my garden?

A: My first rule is close to your home- out of sight, out of mind is true!  You also need to make sure your area gets enough sun.  Most vegetables need a minimum of 6 hours of sun, and if possible, have your garden facing the south for the strongest sun. Watch for trees overhead and the potential shade they will give.  Also make sure to keep the garden 20 feet away from shallow rooted trees  like maples and elms.  For good drainage, make sure the land is fairly level. 

Q: How should I prepare the soil?

A: One of my favorite quotes says, “If you treat the soil well – as a living thing – in return, it becomes unconditionally generous.” How do you treat the soil well?  By feeding it well, by not disturbing the very active fungal network that is the underground food chain for the plants, and by treading lightly.


  • For a new garden: 

  1. Till or turn over the soil 12 inches deep.  If it is the original soil, add compost, and mix in.

  2. Soak 1-2 days before planting

  • For an established garden

  1. Clean garden up completely at the end of the year.

  2. Add organic materials (leaves, straw, compost) 2 inches deep on top of the soil.  Do not mix it.  Don’t till or turn over your soil. This disrupts the fungal networks, depletes carbon and makes your soil have to start over building its food networks every year. 

  3. Once you have prepared the soil, place walking paths. NEVER walk on your garden soil, only on paths.

Q: When can I plant?

A:  The USDA has designated “hardiness” zones across the US.  These zones give you guidelines for when you should expect a frost, and the lowest and highest average temperatures in your area (see map below).  I live in Zone 5, so I have freezing temperatures until around the first of May every year, and starting again in mid-October. Figure out your zone on the map, then there are a lot of interactive sites online that will guide you on when to plant for your zone.  You can also ask at a garden center (not a big-box store - a real garden center).  They can give you guidance on when they recommend you plant for your area as well.  

Q: How do I plant?

A: There are many ways to plant, and they are related to how you are going to grow.  If you are using a measured system like the “Square Foot’ system, there are specific guidelines for each foot of garden space.  This is great for a small space.  For larger row systems, you need other methods. I’ve used all of these with great success.

1. Square foot - Poke your finger in soil to create a hole

2. Row – Use a Japanese Gardening Knife and make a line 

3. Place seed in hole and Cover with thin layer of soil equal to 3 times the thickness of the seed

4. Water gently every day until sprouts

Q: How far apart should I plant the seeds and transplants?

A: That depends on your seed and plant.  

  • Small plants like carrots, onions, radishes, greens, lettuce - spread across the soil thinly

  • bush beans and spinach- 1 inch apart 

  • pole beans, peas, beets, turnips, parsnips- 2 inches apart  

  • eaf lettuce and herbs- 4 inches apart

  • cucumbers (2 seeds per spot), corn, celery- 6 inches apart  

  •  broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, peppers- 12 inches apart

  • Tomatoes, squash, pumpkins, melons  (all two seeds per spot)- 18 inches apart

8. How should I water?

A: Water daily until the seed sprouts.  Then leaf and root vegetables(lettuce, carrots, etc)  need water twice weekly while fruit and seed vegetables( peas, tomatoes) need water once weekly.   Each time you water you need to water for at least an hour.  Watering deeply and less often grows stronger plants.

Q: What is crop rotation?

A: Crops should not be planted in the same place two years in a row and crops of the same family should not be planted in the same place.

  • Never plant the mustard family (cabbage and broccoli) or the nightshade family (tomatoes, potatoes and peppers) in the same place two years in a row.

  • Beans and Peas are nitrogen fixers and will improve the soil.  Follow them with heavy feeders such as tomatoes and peppers.

Q: How do I control pests?

A: The most efficient form of organic pest control is healthy plants.  A strong, resilient plant is far better at resisting the effects of an aphid attack than a weak plant.  Spread plants of the same type throughout the garden.  If you plant all of one type together, the insect can find them easier and will be a bigger problem.  And make sure to remove diseased plants quickly, but don’t put in your composter.

Saturday, February 13, 2021

Shelter in an Emergency

We don't often think about what we would need for shelter in an emergency, and that is part of the problem.  Most of the thought about this needs to happen BEFORE an emergency!   Check out the Stake Newsletter this month for information about how to:

1. Prepare your home for an emergency

2. Prepare your family for an emergency

3. Think about what you would do to shelter in place

One of the main things you need to do before facing a problem is learn how to turn off your gas, electricity and water.  Make sure to have instructions taped to the shut off locations, as well as any tools.  You can find information from FEMA here:

FEMA Safety Skills

You should also know basics for preparing  your home for an earthquake.  Learn more here:

Make sure your family and your home are ready for whatever may come our way!  Let's get ready together!

Sunday, January 24, 2021

Communcation in an Emergency

 In a time of emergency, being able to communicate with your loved ones, and to know the status of the situation in your area are very important.   This month the  focus is on preparing to communicate in an emergency.

1. For a  personal emergency, it will be important to have a Family Communication plan in place.  At a minimum, talk with your family about WHAT to do if an emergency happens, WHO to call, and WHERE to go.  

2. In a local emergency, our Wards and Stake are arranged into Blocks with volunteer Block Captains.  You can report your status to the Block Captain on your block, and they will communicate your status to your Bishop and the Stake Presidency.

*If you do not know who your Block Captain is, or have an Emergency Packet with home tags and other information, please contact your Ward Emergency Leader or Elder's Quorum President.

3. In times of wide-spread emergency, our local Block system and Critical Care Unit at the Stake Center will be a hub for information and help.

Please reference the monthly newsletter below for information and goals for the month.

You can go here to download 

This month, ensure your family is ready to communicate in any emergency situation.  You will have immeasurable peace of mind after you prepare.

Sunday, September 13, 2020

Preparing and Evacuation List for your Home

 Evacuation Lists - What would/should you bring if you needed to leave your home??

It's been a long summer and into fall, with upheaval and unrest unlike anything most of use have ever seen.  I haven't  posted a lot during this time, because this blog is about preparation and the time of preparation is past in regards to a pandemic and quarantine.  

We have lived and breathed it (albeit through masks...) for the last 5 months!  It certainly gave us a good test to see what we were prepared for and what we need to do to prepare more for the future.

Fires and Evacuations

Fires and evacuations are the big story now, and as of last night, I have a fire very close to my home.  I've always felt relieved that I live "inside" a city, rather on the outskirts near forests or grasslands that might burn.  

However, the news from Oregon, Washington and California right now is that no place is being spared.  Large cities, small cities, forests...they are all burning.  We must be prepared to leave our home if the situation arises to do so.

Wildfire updates: Fire above Battle Creek Canyon in Pleasant Grove  estimated at 20-50 acres |
Fire above Pleasant Grove, Ut last night

Normalcy Bias and what it does to our thinking...

One of the most poignant stories I ever read was about a man and his reaction during the Malibu California fires.  His home was in the line of the fire, and he was given 3 hours to gather his things and evacuate.  

In the stress and unbelief of the situation, he spent most of the time pacing back in forth in front of his TV, watching CNN.  He was sure there was no way HIS home would burn.  It never had happened before - the fires had turned, they had been extinguished, and certainly the same thing would happen this time.  

Unfortunately, they didn't turn and the flames were nearly upon him before he realized it was too late.  He was able to grab his pets, his keys and jump in the car to flee to safety.  He had 3 hours and he wasted it all in unbelief.

It's called "normalcy bias".  Our ingrained belief that things will happen the way  they always have.  Well, this year has certainly taught us something different.  We can not expect things to happen as they always have, and in fact, should PLAN for them not to.

An Insight Into the Concept of Normalcy Bias in Psychology - Psychologenie
Normalcy Bias

How do you overcome this normalcy bias?  By being PREPARED.

Creating an evacuation list

Think about the following four questions when preparing your list: 

  • What would you need to start over if everything was destroyed? 
  • What would you need to survive a few days or a week? 
  • What is important to you? 
  • What can you fit in your evacuation vehicle?

Video from the Stake on creating an Evacuation List

There is a simple activity every home should do.  

  1. Take a clip board with five blank pieces of paper labeled 5 min; 30 min; 2 hrs.; 12 hrs.
  2. Walk through every room in your home noting what things in that room you would need to grab if you had to evacuate.  
  3. List for every evacuation time frame- in the kitchen, if I had 5 minutes what would I grab?  If I had 12 hrs, what would I pack?  Those are very different lists.
  4. Gather this info and make organized lists for each length of evacuation - one list for 5 minutes, one list for 30 minutes, etc.
  5. Have a meeting with you family, brainstorm to see if there are other ideas of what to put on the list,  and explain what the lists are and when/how you would use them.
  6. Put the lists together and remember, if you have a 30 min evacuation time, you take everything from BOTH the 5 min list and the 30 minute list.  
  7. Make multiple copies and put them in central areas in your home - ours are in the kitchen, the bedroom near our safe, in the garage and in the store room where our 72  hour kits are stored.

Some example lists:(Modified from

 Evacuation time 5 Minutes 

  • Wallet or purse 
  • Car/house keys 
  • Cell phone, charger & car charger 
  • Adequate clothing for the weather conditions 
  • Prescriptions 
  • Extra contacts or glasses 
  • Medical devices (wheel chair, hearing aid, retainer, etc.) 
  • Laptop or backup disks 
  • Computer CPU 
  • Important documents (should already be in one container) 
  • 72 Hour kit with water/food/clothes/toiletries/ 
  • Family photo CD's/money, etc. 
  • Baby bag with extra food/formula 
  • Pet food, water & dish 
  • Pet leash (need this to walk dog or for shelters) 
  • Pet carrier 
Evacuation time 30 Minutes (take these PLUS the 5 minute list) 

  •  Photo albums, family portraits, preferably on flash drive 
  • Case of bottled water 
  • Sleeping bags, blankets, pillows, towels. 
  • Tent 
  • Extra batteries 
  • Battery powered TV/radio 
  • More clothes 
  • Toys, activities to keep kids occupied 
  • Kids memory things 

We have seen and heard of disasters in our area over the last several weeks which should make the usefulness of this guidance clear. I am sure many wished they had put together such a plan, so Be Prepared.

Here are some sources for already made lists to give you ideas:

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Covid-19 Coronavirus and Earthquake Preparations

Covid-19 Coronavirus and Earthquake Preparations

Wow what a week!!  Who would have thought we would have both a Pandemic and an Earthquake to handle in one week?  If you haven't started preparing both Temporally and Spiritually for events such as this, it's time!

I held a class talking about preparation specific to the Covid-19 Coronavirus.  In this video I cover what to store for food in a short term (we hope) quarantine situation.

And as a bonus, I covered what to store to keep yourself and your family healthy using natural medicine.

Some highlights:

  1. Why do we prepare
  2. What constitutes an emergency
  3. What food to store
  4. What else should be stored - including sprouting seeds, natural medicines for prevention and Nature's First Aid Kit
  5. How to prepare your family

Video about Covid-19 Prep - Food and Natural Medicine

I talk about documents in the video and they can all be found here:

Outline of Presentation

3 month Sample Food List
3 month Food Storage List

Long Term Food Storage Inventory

Survival and Sprouting Seeds

Natural Medicines to Store

Virus prevention and treatment

Preparedness Test
Self-Sufficiency Made Easy

Spiritual Preparedness FHE Lesson
Be Prepared FHE Lesson

Food Storage Cookbook
Food Storage + Cookbook

Earthquake Information

This is a great site with information on everything related to earthquakes.  Check it out, along with this simple video that is good for the entire family.

Earthquake Safety Guide

Earthquake Information Video for the Entire Family

Please make sure to check back frequently for more information about Preparation and Life during an Emergency.

Sunday, February 23, 2020

Long Term Food Storage

Long Term stored foods are what most everyone thinks about when they are wanting to get prepared for an emergency.  A store room full of shining #10 cans with who knows what inside.  It makes us feel at least a little more ready for what might come...and it is the starting point, but there is more to it.

Some of the most frequent questions about Long Term Food Storage are;

1. How much do I store for my family?
2. How do I inventory and rotate the food?
3. How long will it really last?
4. How to I use these food staples if I have to?
5. Where do I put it all?

Have you asked some of these same questions?  This and more is answered in the MM Stake Self Reliance video on Long Term Food storage here:

There are some short cuts that are worth knowing about to get you to your goals faster.

How much??  You can use this calculator to figure out the totals for your family.
When you add your family info in you're going to get some serious numbers!  What in the world would you do with all of that food?  These foods are staples that are the building blocks of hundreds of recipes and things you can eat, now and in an emergency.  

Do I have to get it all now?
Heavens no!  Break it up into months and buy enough for one month.  You'll find a way to get more when it's time.  I challenge you to look around at what you have that could be traded for food storage.  My husband had a motorcycle that he rarely used.   We sold the motorcycle and bought food storage with the money.  You'll often be surprised at what money you have in "stuff" when you look at your home, garage and other places.  You might have the ability to get the recommended amounts when you think about "stuff" as potential food!
Where do  I buy the food?
The easiest and best answer is the LDS Home Storage Center.

What can I buy at a Home Storage Center?

Home storage centers help Church members and others build a basic supply of food for their longer-term home storage needs. Several prepackaged items are also available through the online store.
Prices effective as of January 1, 2019
ProductStore Price*Online Price*More Information
Apple Slices$67.50$76.00View Product Page
Beans, Black$33.00$43.25View Product Page
Beans, Pinto$33.00$41.75View Product Page
Beans, Refried$36.00$45.25View Product Page
Berry Drink Mix$54.00N/AN/A
Carrots$51.00$63.00View Product Page
Dry Onions$45.00$56.75View Product Page
Granulated Sugar$30.00$40.00View Product Page
Hard Red Wheat$21.00$25.75View Product Page
Hard White Wheat$22.50$25.00View Product Page
Hot Cocoa Mix$51.00N/A
Macaroni$27.00$22.50View Product Page
Nonfat Dry Milk$48.00$62.75View Product Page
Pancake Mix$32.00N/A
Peanut Butter$48.00N/A
Potato Flakes$30.00$37.00View Product Page
Potato Pearls$51.00N/A
Quick Oats$22.50$26.00View Product Page
Regular Oats$24.00$25.50View Product Page
Spaghetti Bites$27.00$21.75View Product Page
White Beans$33.00$39.75View Product Page
White Flour$24.00$25.00View Product Page
White Rice$30.00$36.75View Product Page
*Prices by case. Prices vary between home storage centers and online orders due to shipping costs.
There are also stores that have bulk items available if you search them out in your area.
How do I use this stuff?
Here is a great article that includes some tips for using these foods:
The key is just to buy SOMETHING. Start SOMEWHERE.  The first can wont' be your last, but it will be the start of you following commandments for storing food, and the Lord will help you get what you need.