“Come on downstairs, everyone!” Mom called. “It’s time for family home evening!”
Sarah reluctantly closed her book and joined her sister and brother as they went into the family room. Family home evening was fun, but she didn’t think it was as exciting as the adventure story she was reading.
After Dad welcomed everyone, Audrey led the family in a song and Tyler gave the opening prayer. Sarah waited for Dad to announce who was giving the lesson. Instead, he said, “We’re going to practice what we would do in an emergency. You have two minutes to get ready and be in the car. Get whatever you would need if you were going to be gone for three days. Go!”
Dad, Mom, Audrey, Tyler, and Sarah jumped up. Sarah dashed to her room, and then stood in the middle of it looking around. What would she need? Clothes! She pulled clothes out of her drawer and put them in a small bag. There wasn’t room for much more, but she stuffed her pajama pants in too, and then remembered her glasses case and the elastic bands for her braces. Would she need a blanket? Or a pillow? She grabbed both.
Two minutes isn’t very long, and Sarah didn’t feel ready when Dad said, “Get in the car, everybody! Bring whatever you have and let’s go!”
Sarah, Audrey, and Tyler ran out to the car, threw in their stuff, and piled into the seats.
Audrey called back into the house, “Mom, I forgot my tennis shoes—will you grab them on your way out?”
Tyler spilled sunflower seeds into his seat-belt buckle, and Dad had to help him dig them out so the seat belt could fasten. “Why did you bring an open bag of sunflower seeds?” Dad asked.
“That’s my food,” Tyler said.
The family van pulled out of the driveway a moment later. “How did we do?” Dad asked. “We got out in good time, but are we prepared for three days away from home?”
“Mom, you got me two different shoes,” Audrey complained. “I can’t wear these.”
“Sorry,” Mom said. “I was trying to pull all the coats out of the closet, and I couldn’t see the shoes very well. At least there’s a right and a left shoe, even if they don’t match.”
“I got some clothes and a blanket, but I forgot my contact lens case and a brush,” Audrey said. “I did remember my toothbrush, though.”
“Oops,” Tyler said. “I guess I’ll have to borrow yours. But I got clothes and a Book of Mormon—except it’s in French. I picked up the wrong one off the bookshelf.”
“I brought my coat too, because I didn’t know where we were going,” Sarah said. “I saw a flashlight in my room, so I brought that, but I didn’t get anything to eat.”
“We have food in the 72-hour (3-day) kits I put in the car,” Dad said. “Do you remember we put those together last year? And there are tents in the duffle bag. Those are always by the back door.”
“Dad, I know we have things ready, but I don’t know where everything is kept,” Audrey said. “Maybe you should show us where to find stuff in case you aren’t at home and the rest of us have to leave.”
“That’s a very good idea, Audrey,” Mom replied. “I’m not sure that I could find everything in a hurry myself. I knew I wanted to get important papers and my scriptures, but I wasn’t very organized. I grabbed bread and peanut butter and apples, but I didn’t have time to fill the cooler with water, so I just pulled jugs of apple cider and milk out of the fridge.”
“Ugh, warm milk?” Tyler asked.
“We’d have to drink it up fast,” Mom said. “Maybe we ought to put some sealed water containers in the garage, in case we need to leave quickly. I’d never thought of that before.”
“Why don’t we go get an ice-cream cone and talk about what we learned tonight?” Dad said.
“I know one thing I want to do,” Sarah said. “It took me a while to decide what to get. Even though I knew it wasn’t for real, I was still scared, and I had a hard time thinking of what I needed. I want to plan what I would gather up ahead of time.”
“I would definitely want a brush,” Audrey said.
“And I would want something more than sunflower seeds,” Tyler said.
Dad nodded. “Let’s all make a list this week of the things we would need if we had to leave suddenly and be gone for three days. Next Monday night we can go over our lists and decide how to get organized so we are prepared to grab items and go. We will probably never need to do that—but if we do, we’ll be ready.”
While she was eating her ice-cream cone, Sarah decided she had been wrong about something. She didn’t miss her exciting book at all tonight; family home evening could definitely be an adventure!
Your family can be prepared by storing basic emergency supplies in one convenient place. You can gather your own emergency items, such as:
An extra change of clothing
A sweater or coat, hat, and gloves
Toothpaste, a toothbrush, a hairbrush, soap, and a washcloth
Emergency contact information
72 hours’ worth of food and water for each person and pet
Blankets and sheets (for warmth or carrying someone who is hurt)
Puzzles, games, and books
For more ideas, visit the “Food Storage and Preparedness” section at www.providentliving.org, and www.fema.gov/kids.