As John F. Kennedy once said, “The time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining.” What a profound, but simple statement. I bet you’re wondering what it has to do with my New Year’s Resolution? Well, I’m one of those procrastinator’s and usually wait until the rain is falling before the repair gets made. Preparedness, specifically emergency preparedness was one of those thoughts of things that I knew needed to be taken care of, but I never got around to. One still might ask, “what does this have to do with your New Year’s resolution?” Well, preparedness, or the lack of, was never more clear than when I lost my job in August of 2012. Talk about a profound impact on me and my family and yes quite a bit of panic! Which brings me back to JFK’s statement, preparation should be done before the disaster strikes and my New Year’s Resolution – “Become better prepared for life altering events by preparing our family’s survival kit, food storage, and water purification systems.” An excellent resolution if I don’t say so myself. So how am I going to make sure that it doesn’t fall by the wayside? I wrote it down, made sure to discuss it with my family where we established start and end dates, specific short-term goals and prepared a plan on how to accomplish each goal. Then I posted it where I’d see it every day.Now that you know my Resolution and why I’m committed to emergency preparedness, let’s have a little more discussion on why you should give thought to emergency preparedness. Did you know, according to #Numberof.net, the average number of natural disasters that occur each year is 392. Each year approximately 230.3 MILLION victims are affected just by natural disasters. Add to that life’s unexpected events, and man-made disasters and we have the potential for an enormous impact to society. One would think more of us would read up on emergency preparedness and take action to create our own survival kit! I know that I’m not alone in the procrastination or the lack of action department. I asked some friends if they had a 72-hour kit? Interestingly enough the answers I got would shock you. Several said, “a 72-hour what?” Some had the attitude that there are National and International support organizations and agencies that will come to the rescue, while others told me they are relying on their religious leaders to provide for them in their times of need. I found this a little discouraging. For those that are going to rely on someone else, we are told to be prepared with a 72-hour kit, do you think that is enough? If so, tell that to those who were involved in the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear disaster or the Joplin Tornado disaster or more recently super-storm Sandy. Even with our vast agencies, religious support, and world-wide donations the news carried pleas from victims for months that needed the basic necessities: food, water and shelter.Just so you know, I’m not preaching about doomsday preparation nor am I saying sit back and do nothing because there are agencies that will take care of us. I’m hoping that I can share my experience and in turn you can learn a valuable lesson and become prepared for your unexpected life event. Kind of like my mom used to say to me, learn from other peoples mistakes, it hurts less. I’m here to tell you, I heard the news of those aforementioned disasters, I didn’t think it applied to me. I can’t explain why, we could look at probabilities of a natural disaster hitting southeastern Idaho, we can say I was too busy working my job to ponder the what ifs, we could say I took emergency preparedness as something huge and overwhelming and I chose to stick my head in the sand… bottom line, I found myself unprepared when an unexpected life changing event arrived. I know I didn’t go through a catastrophic event, I simply lost my job – I lost my income. The emotions I went through are similar to those that do go through a disaster though. After the feelings of helplessness subside, I thought, “do I have the necessities: food, water, shelter?” I will admit, my first thought wasn’t food and water, it was do I have enough money to make my house payment. In essence, shelter was my first concern followed by how am I going to pay my bills (water bill included!) I did get around to worrying about food, and somehow the extra’s like cable TV, eating out at a restaurant, and traveling; things I thought were necessities, things that I put as priorities in my “days of sunshine,” didn’t seem so important anymore.Five months into what I’m calling, “going into disaster mode,” I’m finding that preparedness for life events such as an unexpected loss of employment, injury or accident, loss of a loved one, is as important to prepare for as catastrophic events! I believe that emergency awareness is a key that opens the door to the desire to become prepared. We are a blessed people, we have the resources at our fingertips with the internet (even if we have to go to the Library to get access!). There are dozens of agencies, websites, blogs, etc. that are dedicated to emergency preparedness. If we but read and take to heart the lessons we can learn. I realized along the way that I don’t need to reinvent the wheel, I just need to pick through a huge pile of information and use that information to become better prepared, to do SOMETHING today!That’s the end to my cheer leading section. In case you are interested, I’ll let you know what my family has done since our life altering event opened our eyes to the fact that even though our monetary situation has changed dramatically, there are still things we can do to become better prepared. We’ve talked as a family about the things we need to do and should be doing. We purchased our first 72-hour survival kit and placed it in a convenient location so that we can grab it and go to a safe place. Additionally, we are working on building a short-term food storage. Even with limited income, we purchase a few extra canned goods each time we go grocery shopping. Our goal is to have a 3 month supply of the items we use routinely. It’s amazing how fast it builds. We are learning to make our money stretch, by clipping coupons and watching for and taking advantage of sales. (I don’t clip a coupon unless it’s for items I’m already using or know that I like.) It also helps to create a monthly menu, so that you can see what you need on a daily basis, then plan for the purchases. It saves time and money!Our New Year’s Resolution plan continues from there, once we get our 3 months supply of day-in and day-out food storage in place, we will tackle the long-term food storage. Storing items that last longer than a year (there’s many items that last from 5 to 25 years when stored properly.) Once that is complete, we will deal with the portable and home water purification systems. In the meantime, we’ve discovered there are many low/no cost entertainment options to keep the spirits up. Instead of an evening out we play domino’s, instead of eating at a fancy restaurant we experiment with new recipe’s at home. Most important, we’ve committed to work together to become emergency aware and prepare.Benjamin Franklin said it best… and I quote, “By failing to prepare you are preparing to fail.” We’d love for you to join us in our emergency preparedness journey. Make a commitment to do something in the emergency preparedness area, then prepare for the unexpected.