Category Archives: Preparedness

Remembering the Loma Prieta earthquake (1989) [updated]

[adapted and cross-posted from And Still I Persist]

We were just to the left of that star marking the epicenter
We were just to the left of that star marking the epicenter

Yeah, I should have written and posted this yesterday, but I didn’t realize it was the 20th anniversary until today (thanks to this post).

Sandra and I, with seven of our nine kids, had moved to Soquel, California in early 1988. Actually, we were five miles outside of Soquel; we bought a home in the Santa Cruz Mountains, a long ranch-style house on five acres of land covered with redwood trees. Then we hit the Tech Crash of 1988-89 and worked hard to keep things going, while I was continuing to do contract work at Apple and Sun, as well as writing both articles (mostly Macworld) and books (The NeXT Book, Addison-Wesley, 1989).

At 5:04 pm on October 17, 1989, I had just gotten home about an hour or so earlier from a drive up to San Francisco, most likely to the Macworld offices. I was in my home office, using my NeXT cube and a modem to be on-line on BIX (BYTE Information eXchange). Sandra and most of the kids were home, though Jacqui and Heather (both 13) were over at a friend’s house some miles away making poodle skirts for a school ‘sock hop’. The quake started, that in itself not a big surprise; I was a Californian, and we’d lived here in the Bay Area for nearly 2 years, so we were all quite used to minor shakers. But then it got very strong, very fast. I jumped up and braced myself in the doorway that led from my office to the master bedroom. The shaking was very hard and very long, and all I could think about were the very tall redwood trees all around the house, any one of which could fall over and slice the house into two parts.

Sandra, in the meantime, was near the kitchen, in the middle of the house. She grabbed the kids who were home and tried to get them all into a doorway while the quake was going on. At one point during the quake, our daughter Crystal (age 6) looked up at Sandra and said, “I don’t want to live here anymore.”

The quake finally died down, and I went out through the office’s sliding glass door to the outside deck and saw a glorious, once-in-several-lifetimes sight: dozens of giant redwood trees all swaying in unison in big sweeping arcs, while millions of tiny golden redwood leaves drifted down. None of the trees had fallen over, so I ran back into the house to check on everyone and to see what damage had been done to the house.

The home phone rang almost immediately. It was Sandra’s mother, Nora, calling from Orem, Utah. Sandra’s dad, Andy, had been watching the World Series game, and when the earthquake struck, Nora immediately called us to see if we were OK. It was the last incoming phone call we’d get for several days, as attempts by most of the rest of the country to call into the Bay Area would jam up the incoming phone lines. Sandra assured her mom that we were all OK, and then we set about taking inventory. The kids, while a bit terrified, were all unhurt, so we did a quick assessment on the house itself.

The house actually came through the quake very well. There were a few small cracks in one wall, and a few bookshelves had fallen over, but that was about it. We quickly started filling up sinks and tubs with water; we were on a well and had a holding tank (gravity feed), but we didn’t want to take chances. A smart move, as it turned out — the quake cracked the line from the well to the holding tank. Power was out, so the well was no longer pumping water up to the tank; instead, the tank emptied itself through that cracked line over the next several hours.

We had two water heaters, one in the garage and one in the basement. The one in the garage was tucked into a closet and came through the quake just fine. The other one  in the basement was somewhat freestanding and so had “walked around” a bit, snapping one of the water feeds. I shut things down and walked the tank back into place.  (Lesson #1: if you live in earthquake country, always be sure that your water heater is strapped down quite securely.)

By now, the aftershocks had started. Since (as it turned out) we were only 3-4 miles from the epicenter of the quake, we felt all the aftershocks — and there would be literally dozens of them (“Fifty-one aftershocks of magnitude 3.0 and larger occurred during the first day after the main shock, and 16 occurred during the second day. After 3 weeks, 87 magnitude 3.0 and larger aftershocks had occurred.”) We felt all those aftershocks and many smaller ones as well.

While power was out, we did have a battery-powered radio, as well as the car radio in our minivan. However, we could only find a few stations on the air, and most of them were local stations trying to cope with the aftermath of the quake themselves. (We didn’t have great reception of anything where we lived.)

As mentioned, we had two daughters over visiting friends several miles away. I got into the minivan and drove off to get them. The effects of the quake were  quite visible; there were actual landslides in several places, and obvious structural damage to both houses and buildings. When I got to the house where Jacqui and Heather were supposed to be, it turned out that the family there had already left with them (and the other girls who were there) to drive them all home.

If I recall correctly — it has been 20 years after all — I stopped at one small hardware store on the way home. The large front window of the store was completely smashed out, and the owner was selling stuff (batteries, mostly) directly through the window. I bought some batteries and headed home.

The eerie part at this point is that we had no idea what other damage had occurred or how widespread it was. For all we knew, we were on the outskirts of the damage zone, and much of the Bay Area could be in ruins. Even if we had had electricity, we only got one TV station back in the mountains, and that one pretty poorly. As I mentioned, the local radio stations were either off the air (with power problems of their own) or were mostly just coming up to the mike periodically and saying, “There’s been a large earthquake — as soon as we have information, we’ll let you know more.”

Our house ran entirely on electricity (which was gone and would be for about 24 hours), so I fired up the BBQ grill out back to cook dinner. Afterwards, we gathered all the kids in the living room with sleeping bags and pillows, built a fire in the fireplace, and spent the night there. By now, some of the radio stations were back on the air, so Sandra and I used the battery-powered radio, with each using one earpiece of a standard pair. We spent most of the night listening to live reports of the devastation around the Bay Area, including the fires in the Marina district, the damage to the Bay Bridge, and the collapse on the Nimitz Freeway, all while aftershocks were hitting every few minutes. It truly felt apocalyptic.

Chase’s recollection (age 16 at the time of the quake)

It was an afternoon that I did not have much homework, and I took advantage because I was tired from early morning seminary.  I woke to the violent shaking and watching the windows in my bedroom dance back and forth, as they bounced up and down with the tremors.

I quickly got into the doorway and waited for what honestly seemed like an eternity until the calm finally set in.  Rushing to the kitchen, mom was there heading out the back sliding door onto the deck.  The fear from the earthquake was only the first of many fears that crossed my path.  The next was being outside, watching the giant redwood trees swaying in unison with the only sounds made were from the falling debris, and creaking sounds from the trees themselves.  There were always birds making ruckous and just other sounds of nature, but at that moment, the trees were the lords of the dance.

At that moment, one of the many aftershocks hit and I just remember feeling as if I was strapped into a horrible carnival ride that I was not able to see what might be coming around the next turn.

Over the next few hours, there were many assessments made of the interior and exterior of the home.  For me, the sight of cracked walls and topled bookshelves was beyond what I could grasp.  I knew we were in earthquake country, but no one ever explained the feeling of standing in a doorway as the house groaned all around you.  Or, the many aftershocks that made sleeping close to an impossiblity.

As we all gathered in the living room in sleeping bags and flashlights, there was a little bit of chatter, but no topics could outdo the tenseness we all felt.  Unexpectedly, another tremor would hit, some were huge and felt like the original, some were just enough to break your calm all over again.

What is funny is that all these years later, I still remember that the high school was supposed to have a day off on Wednesday, and I was so excited to go to seminary in my pijamas.  To say the least, we did not have seminary the next morning, and we had several days off from school as repairs needed to be made on classrooms and even the swimming pool on campus.

There are moments, even 20 years later that I cringe or my heart skips a beat when I feel the floor shake from someone walking across or sitting on an overpass when a large truck passes.

Crystal’s recollection (age 6 at the time of the quake)

Right after the earthquake had hit and we were all gathering outside on the deck, when you came out and Mom (I think it was mom) freaked out because a bottle of ketchup had spilled on your birkenstocked foot and she thought you’d been injured.

Wes, Jon and I sleeping outside your bedroom door (after you callously told us we could no longer sleep in your bedroom). I remember being woken up by Mom tearing open the door after an aftershock that I had apparently slept through.

Wes refusing to leave the couch against the wall because of the aftershocks. One night the entire family was sitting at the dinner table, trying to persuade him to finally leave the couch, and just as he gets up, another shock hits and he dives back onto the couch.

Heather’s recollection (age 13 at the time of the quake)

Wow, I can’t believe it’s been 20 years! I remember being at the friend’s house (I can’t remember their names, unfortunately) and I believe we were cutting the fabric out for the skirts when the house started shaking. At first I thought that someone was jumping up and down upstairs until I remembered that they didn’t have a second floor. Once we realized what was happening, we all ran to the door that lead to the garage. It seemed like 5 or so of us tried to fit in the door frame together. We could hear stuff falling out of the kitchen cupboards and breaking. It seemed to go on forever. Once the main quake was over, I remember we all went outside. Most of the houses were actually okay, except for the chimneys. Once we got home, I remember all of us staying in the living room together. I didn’t realize how many aftershocks there would be, and how strong many of them would be. I have other random little bits I remember too, mostly visual: the concrete stage broken and partially fallen (I believe it was on the beach at the boardwalk), tree debris (leaves, pinecones, small branches) all over the driveway and road by our house, and some pub in Soquel that had a chimney covering part of one wall that had completely fallen down (we drove by it all the time). And of course, how very easy it was to scare Mom. Even well into our time in San Diego, you’d start shaking the window behind Mom and she’d start to freak out and get mad at you. I’m sure it still works to this day.

Why you should have beer in your food storage


1. Beer

“Buy a lot of it,” says Trey Click, a magazine publisher who rode out last year’s Hurricane Ike in Galveston, Texas. “It’s one of the only things you can use for money in the aftermath.” Need your neighbor to help you clear trees out of your yard? A case of Bud is a better motivator than a $20 bill when all the stores are boarded up.

I doubt that most of us would stock beer in our emergency preparedness supplies, particularly those who still have teenagers at home (it’s just asking for trouble), not to mention the actual ethical dilemma of handing out beer to our neighbors. Still, the issue that Click brings up is a good one: what can you barter with in the aftermath of a major disaster when money isn’t of much immediate value? I’m not sure canned soda (particularly if there’s no power) has quite the same caché. Maybe those large boxes of candy bars you get at Costco? Thoughts?

Here’s my own contribution to “unusual survival staples”: make sure that many of your critical battery-operated devices use C cell batteries. Sandra and I were living four miles from the epicenter, on the Santa Cruz side of the mountains, when the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake hit and so were in the thick of things; also, the main highway (Hwy 17) from San Jose was closed for six weeks due to landslides. Within 24 hours or so, all the local stores were completely out of AAA, AA, and D cell batteries, but they had piles of C cell batteries (in the case of the Soquel Safeway store, it was literally a pile on the floor, and quite a large one).  ..bruce..

The effectiveness of the Mormon Network

Here in the Denver area, we are in the middle of what may turn out to be the heaviest snow storm of the entire winter. We’ve got drifts 2-3′ deep on our back deck, and our driveway (which is about 150-200 yards long) is covered with thick, heavy, wet snow (the worst kind to use a snow blower on). And it’s still coming down.

Stake Conference for our stake is scheduled for this weekend, and there was to be a Stake Priesthood Leadership meeting at 4 pm today, with the Adult Session of Stake Conference at 7 pm. Both have been canceled. How do I know? Well, so far, Sandra and I have received five (5) phone calls to that effect:

  • from the Stake Choir director (Sandra and I are in the Stake Choir)
  • from the Stake Music director (I’m also in a group of men who were to sing at the Priesthood session)
  • from our ward executive secretary (I’m a member of the PEC)
  • from a member of my high priests group leadership (I’m a high priest)
  • from one of my wife’s visiting teaching supervisor (My wife is in the Relief Society, natch)

From a communications network point of view, the redundancy is very impressive; I strongly suspect that everyone in our ward who can be reached by phone and who is likely to have attended these meetings has indeed been contacted. My impulse after the first call was to phone my own home teaching families, but since they are (a) the bishop and (b) the ward clerk, I figured they already knew and were busy with their own calls.  ..bruce..

Pandemic urban legend update from Dr. Puls

The friend who sent me the original “Pandemic” e-mail pointed me to this site, which appears to have a response from Dr. Susan Puls:

Several months ago, there was a probably well intentioned but totally misleading and false email spread around the “LDS internet” network to thousands of people from someone who had been to one of my talks. Unfortunately, it was full of misquotes, half truths and just plain falsehoods. It supported a fear based preparedness which is not a true and correct principle as you are aware. And it spread like wildfire. For 6 weeks I dealt with the fall out from this email until it finally reached the Presidency of the Seventy and then the Presiding Bishopric. That was the end of the talks in order to end the controversy and falsehoods.

No one knows when there will be a pandemic or how severe it will be. The world health experts agree there will be a pandemic but no one knows when. It will be like a hurricane in category. It can be from a mild one (category I) or severe (category V). That is also unknown. The specific disease that will cause it is also unknown.

Please help by having anyone you know who sent that email around, send this disclaimer forward and help stop that email. Be a cause for truth by sending this note instead.

Please refer to the pandemic fact sheets on the provident living website ( These were created specifically to provide information on pandemic preparedness. If you need a presentation on the subject of pandemic, may I suggest that you have someone from your local health department give you a presentation and keep current with for correct information.


Susan Puls M.D.

It is a profound shame that Dr. Puls appears to have had to deal personally, professionally and ecclesiastically with the aftermath of what some idiots (and I use the word cheerfully — well-meaning or deliberate, they were idiots) have done in spreading what Dr. Puls (if this posting is legit) rightly calls “misquotes, half truths and just plain falsehoods”.  The sad part is that the e-mail will likely continue to circulate for weeks, if not longer.   ..bruce..

The newest LDS urban legend? [updated]

[IMPORTANT NOTE: There appears to be an official disclaimer from Dr. Puls regarding the e-mail below.]

[Also, thanks to Emily Jensen at Mormon Times for the link and the kind words.]

I received from a friend the following e-mail (note that my critiques come after the e-mail — and I have significant updates below):

Subject: Pandemic

About a month ago a seminar was put on by Dr. Susan Puls, who is a cardiologist appointed by the First Presidency of the LDS Church as the head of the church’s pandemic committee. She said she was not an expert on pandemics as this was not her specialty, but in the two years she’s been in her position, is fast becoming her specialty. She now works for the church on a full-time basis working on planning for the pandemic and trying to get the word out to as many church members as possible. There were about 1400 people at the Saturday all-day seminar.

In her capacity, she works with the governor’s pandemic committee and the federal pandemic planning agency. She also said a pandemic is coming – not ‘maybe’ but is DEFINITELY coming. She says _the pandemic is expected within the next two years but she personally believes it will be ‘sooner rather than later..’ The various groups (CDC, WHO, etc..) do not know what the pandemic will be but ‘first among their list of suspects is the avian bird flu. It’s only one mutation away from being easily transmitted from birds to humans and from human to human.’

She said the World Health Organization expects 40% of the world population to become sick. Of those who become sick, they expect 50% will die. If you do the math – there are over 6 billion people on the earth today – that puts the death rate at over 1.4 billion people – and she says these deaths will happen over only a 3 to 4 month period of time.

Dr. Puls related that when the pandemic hits the US, mandatory quarantine’s of all infected and NON-INFECTED peoples will occur within the first 48 hours. Only emergency personnel (Dr’s, nurses, firemen, police, national guardsmen, etc..) will be allowed to leave their homes – not even to go to the store, etc. This quarantine will last during the duration of the ‘pandemic cycle’ which will last approximately three months.

Her main point was that everyone will need a *MINIMUM of 3 months supply of food at home* as the governments of the world will be overwhelmed within the first week and cannot be counted on to provide food, medical help, etc..

She only briefly spoke on the ‘social disruption’ that will occur and did not go into any detail about what plans may, or may not exist, to deal with this. However – think about this – if your neighbors (both those you know and strangers) run out of food and are starving how might they react? Then think of all the individuals who already live outside of the law and are only ‘controlled’ by our current legal system. How might they react when law enforcement becomes innefectual due to illness among the ranks and those who abandon their jobs to stay home and protect their own families. Ditto for the national guard and our own military.

This isn’t to scare anyone – just to provide a ‘heads up’ as ‘to be forewarned is to be forearmed.’ ”,11666,8041-1-4414-1,00.html

The government also had a website:

My first reaction to this was it was yet another LDS urban legend e-mail making the rounds; it didn’t sound credible. It sounded less and less credible as I actually did some digging around. (More after the jump.)

Continue reading The newest LDS urban legend? [updated]

Utah prophet predicts nuclear holocaust

No, no, it’s not an over-the-pulpit First Presidency letter that you somehow missed or yet another rumored fast & testimony meeting talk. The prophet in this case is Leland Freeborn of Parowan, Utah, as reported by the LA Times:

Reporting from Parowan, Utah — Our trip to the Parowan Prophet began with a letter to the St. George Spectrum. It was set among missives proposing that oil companies bail out Detroit automakers, that county inmates be forced to winter in tents, that lawyers be barred from public office. A rough crowd.

This particular letter to the editor in the St. George, Utah, newspaper carried the headline ” ‘Prophet’ shares grim forecast,” and it was signed by one Leland Freeborn of Parowan, who wrote that he was known to many as the Parowan Prophet.

After establishing his bona fides as an international talk radio guest and proprietor of a survivalist website that has “passed more than 100,000 hits,” Freeborn wrote:

“I think that you should hear what my opinion about the Obama election is: that he will not be the next president. I said on my home page in August that if he lost to expect to see the ‘riots’ that 2 Peter 2:13 tells us about. He didn’t lose. But the story is not finished yet. I still think they may begin the riots before Christmas 2008, as I said.”

These riots, according to his prophecy, will encourage the “old, hard-line Soviet guard” to seize the moment and rain down nukes on the United States, killing at least 100 million of us.

“Prepare now,” Freeborn’s letter concluded. “We are downwind from Las Vegas. I hope you can survive.”

Here’s Freeborn’s letter, along with several others that make for interesting reading as well. Ah, those wacky Southern Utahns! Hat tip to the Drudge Report.  ..bruce..

The self-destruction of Wall Street

[cross-posted from And Still I Persist]

Michael Lewis — who wrote Liar’s Poker back in 1989 — gives a fascinating, detailed chronicle of just how Wall Street managed to cause the current financial maelstrom that’s hurting all of us these days. Much of the article focuses on Steve Eisman, who kept asking uncomfortable questions until he figured out just how screwed up the entire subprime financial market was. He kept trying to make people understand just how bad things were going to be come, but was largely ignored. He then started shorting the subprime market, that is, investing in such a way that he would get a return only if the market went bad:

And short Eisman did—then he tried to get his mind around what he’d just done so he could do it better. He’d call over to a big firm and ask for a list of mortgage bonds from all over the country. The juiciest shorts—the bonds ultimately backed by the mortgages most likely to default—had several characteristics. They’d be in what Wall Street people were now calling the sand states: Arizona, California, Florida, Nevada. The loans would have been made by one of the more dubious mortgage lenders; Long Beach Financial, wholly owned by Washington Mutual, was a great example. Long Beach Financial was moving money out the door as fast as it could, few questions asked, in loans built to self-destruct. It specialized in asking home­owners with bad credit and no proof of income to put no money down and defer interest payments for as long as possible. In Bakersfield, California, a Mexican strawberry picker with an income of $14,000 and no English was lent every penny he needed to buy a house for $720,000.

More generally, the subprime market tapped a tranche of the American public that did not typically have anything to do with Wall Street. Lenders were making loans to people who, based on their credit ratings, were less creditworthy than 71 percent of the population. Eisman knew some of these people. One day, his housekeeper, a South American woman, told him that she was planning to buy a townhouse in Queens. “The price was absurd, and they were giving her a low-down-payment option-ARM,” says Eisman, who talked her into taking out a conventional fixed-rate mortgage. Next, the baby nurse he’d hired back in 1997 to take care of his newborn twin daughters phoned him. “She was this lovely woman from Jamaica,” he says. “One day she calls me and says she and her sister own five townhouses in Queens. I said, ‘How did that happen?’?” It happened because after they bought the first one and its value rose, the lenders came and suggested they refinance and take out $250,000, which they used to buy another one. Then the price of that one rose too, and they repeated the experiment. “By the time they were done,” Eisman says, “they owned five of them, the market was falling, and they couldn’t make any of the payments.”

It’s a long article, but it is very much worth reading all the way through. However, if you don’t have the patience, though, I once again recommend this stick-figure presentation, whcih is a remarkable accurate and succinct, if somewhat…ah…pungent summary of just what went wrong. ..bruce..

The tragedy of Iceland

[Adapted from a post over at my other blog, And Still I Persist]

I’ve had a soft spot in my heart for Iceland ever since a friend of mine, Joe Holt, served a mission there some decades back. It has long been high on my list of countries that I’d like to visit, and, of course, the Church has pioneer roots going back to Iceland as well.

My co-blogger at And Still I Persist, Bruce Henderson, has spent two years now warning about the stupidities of our domestic (US) economy, based in large part on his nation-wide gathering and analysis of real-estate data on a daily basis. Unfortunately for all of us, he turned out to be pretty much dead on, and we’ve got a major recession staring us in the face, compounded by the lurching about by the US Treasury Secretary. It’s not going to be pretty for the next year or two.

However bad we may have it here in the US, however, it doesn’t begin to compare with what Iceland is facing. There, a set of high-flying (figuratively and literally) financial leaders have bankrupted an entire nation.

Here’s a lengthy discussion in the Financial Times that makes for sobering reading:

Picture a pig trying to balance on a mouse’s back and you’ll get some idea of the scale of the problem. In a mere seven years since bank deregulation and privatisation, Iceland’s financial institutions had managed to rack up $75bn of foreign debt. In his address to the nation, Haarde put the problem in perspective by referring to the $700bn financial rescue package in America: “The huge measures introduced by the US authorities to rescue their banking system represent just under 5 per cent of the US GDP. The total economic debt of the Icelandic banks, however, is many times the GDP of Iceland.”

And here is the nub. Iceland’s banks borrowed more than $250,000 for every man, woman and child in Iceland, and placed an impossible burden on the modest reserves of the central bank in the event of default. And default they have.

Voices of caution – there were many in Iceland – were drowned out by a media that became fixated on the nation’s emergence from drab pupa to gaudy butterfly. Yet, Icelanders’ opinions were divided. For some, the success of their Viking Raiders, buying up the British high street, one even acquiring that most treasured bauble of all, a Premier League football club, marked the arrival of a golden era. The transformation of Reykjavik from a quiet, provincial fishing port to a brash financial centre had been as swift as it was complete, and with the musicians Bjork and Sigur Ros and Danish-Icelandic artist Ólafur Eliasson attracting global audiences, cultural prestige went hand in hand with financial success. Icelanders could hold their heads high before the rest of the world.

Hallgrimur Helgason, well-known for his novel 101 Reykjavik, said in a letter to the nation in a Sunday newspaper on October 26: “Deep down inside we idolised these titans, these money pop-stars. Awestruck we watched their adventures and admired them when they supported the arts and charities. We never had clever businessmen, not for a thousand years, not to mention men who had won battles in other countries…”

For others, the growth was too rapid, the change too extreme. Many became uncomfortable with the excesses of the Viking Raiders. The liveried private jets, the Elton John parties, the residences in St Moritz, New York and London and the yachts in St Tropez – all flaunted in Sed og Heyrt, Iceland’s equivalent of Hello! magazine – were not, and this is important, they were not Icelandic. There was a strong undertow of public opinion that felt that all this ostentatious celebration of lavish lifestyles and excess was causing the nation to disconnect from its thousand-year heritage. In his letter to the nation, Hallgrimur continued: “This was all about the building of personal image rather than the building of anything tangible for the good of our nation and its people. Icelanders living abroad failed to recognise their own country when they came home.”

What international sympathy there was for Iceland’s plight evaporated with the dark realisation that the downfall of Iceland’s three main banks – Landsbanki, Kaupthing and Glitnir – brought with it the potential loss of £8bn for half a million savers in northern Europe, the bulk of whom were British. The shrill media response in the UK was reported extensively in Iceland. The British government’s use of anti-terror legislation to freeze the assets of Landsbanki pushed Iceland’s banking system into the abyss. It was a move viewed in Iceland as hateful and unnecessary. A few days later the one remaining viable bank, Kaupthing, went under.

Be sure to read the whole thing, including the follow-up piece below in the initial article.  Hat tip to Glenn Reynolds at Instapundit.  ..bruce w..

One-page family preparedness checklist

When I was in the bishopric of the Chevy Chase Ward (Washington, DC), I had responsbility for personal and family preparedness. Among other things, I prepared this one-sheet emergency preparedness checklist (PDF, 42KB) as part of a handout to members of our ward. The idea was to have something you could post on your fridge or bulletin board just to see how you’re doing. Also, given the urban setting of the ward and the variety of circumstances (including economics and living space) of the members, we also wanted a checklist that we felt all members of the ward could use.

You’ll notice that relatively little space is given to food storage per se, beyond having 72-hour kits, a two-week water supply, and a one-month food supply. That in part is because food issues tend to be symptomatic of other problems (typically economic and employment problems), but also because many of our ward members were living in typical DC apartments (small).

Beyond that, we (as a bishopric) wanted a focus on all aspects of personal and family preparedness, so that the members could deal with whatever eventuality they might face. As I’ve noted before, our ward boundaries included designated terrorist attack targets (e.g., the World Bank), though the biggest disruption we actually faced while I was in the ward was Hurricane Isabel (our own house was without power for five days).

Anyway, feel free to download the checklist and hand it out or pass it around. Feedback and comments are always welcome.  ..bruce..