We are so excited to be introducing you to a new member of the HowDoesShe family! Meet Emily – a long time blogger, wife of 17 years, and a mom to five boys ages 4 to 16.

Six and a half years ago she was living on an Air Force base in Misawa, Japan on the island of Honshu with her husband and (at the time only) four sons. She is here to share her expertise on all things provident living. Take it away, Emily!

Hi Friends! As the intro said, I used to live on an Air Force base. My husband is a Pediatric Dentist and he joined the Air Force to help pay for Dental School. We were nearing the end of our three year commitment and only had a few months left before separating from the Air Force and moving to California to start a private practice.

On the afternoon of March 11th, 2011, a massive 9.0 earthquake started around 2:46 pm.

It lasted almost 5 minutes and triggered a massive Tsunami which caused a Nuclear meltdown at the Tohoku Nuclear Power Plant. Ultimately, the triple tragedy took 15,894 lives, displaced 150,000 evacuees, (50,000 who are still living in “temporary housing”) and caused trillions of yen (billions of dollars) worth of damage. (I wrote extensively about our experience here.)

The multiple natural disasters happening near and far have me, as usual, thinking back to that time.

A week or two after the Tohoku Earthquake, I logged into Facebook to send out an update only to find my feed full of perfectly normal status updates from friends and family who were blithely going about their lives. No one back in the States was talking about, or posting about, the Japan earthquake anymore. Sure, they were still concerned for me and wanted to know my family was safe, but their lives were going on as if nothing had changed. For me, everything in the world had changed.

I remember in the weeks and months after the quake, we would be talking about our experiences and mention preparedness or 72 hour kits: our friends and family would nonchalantly (or sheepishly) mention “Yeah, I guess I should get something just in case…

I kept thinking “WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?!? THE BAD STUFF DOESN’T JUST HAPPEN OVER-SEAS! WHAT ABOUT KATRINA? BAD STUFF CAN HAPPEN ANYWHERE!!!” (And now we have even more stateside disasters to add to the list!)

I feel incredibly heart sick for those affected by natural disasters, (AND manmade disasters like Vegas). Heart sick and anxious and fearful and helpless. But those feelings don’t help anyone. Talking about those feelings on-line probably won’t help anyone. But maybe writing about preparedness WILL help someone. I’ve never really wanted to be a preparedness blogger. But lately, I’ve been feeling strongly that I need to be one.

We can’t prepare for everything.

We can’t prevent all bad things from happening. But we can take some basic steps to bring a little peace into our lives.

I know “Emergency Preparedness” can be daunting! To some it just seems like an overwhelming chore.

Some don’t want to spend a lot of money and will try to DIY it.  You might think, “I just need to print this 43 item list from Pinterest, take it to two or three stores, buy every supply on the list {times number of family members,} take items home, assemble in appropriate carrying apparatus, and then find a place to store it all!

I’m here to tell you it does not need to be that hard.

Here’s the deal though: It does cost a little money. But you can get a good start for around $30-$50.

Maybe you are completely broke. (I’VE BEEN THERE!!) Maybe buying one or two emergency supplies with each grocery run is your only option. If that’s the case, you can make it work. Get a list, and get a few things when you can afford them. (Start with a case of bottled water, next add emergency food bars, and go from there.)


(Also, tell your parents that you would LOVE a 72-hour kit for Christmas. They might just be THRILLED to hook you up!)

For the rest of you, please listen closely to my words:

Think about your budget. Think about the things you spend money on every single month.  And think about some of the things you buy that are WANTS and not absolute needs.

Most of us have SOMETHING in our budget that isn’t strictly  necessary to keep us alive. Most of us have SOMETHING we can sacrifice for a good cause.


In case you’re wondering, I speak from experience.

Long before 3/11/11, We purchased our 72-hour-kit-for-Four-People when we were broke and living on student loans while my husband attended UCSF Dental School. Our expenses (living in San Francisco) were high, and our student loan budget was tiny. But we were counselled by our church leaders to “be prepared.”

We immediately bought what we needed and started saving a little cash to keep on hand. I had those same emergency 72-hour kits a few years later when the big one hit, and a tiny safe full of $800 cash we had slowly saved over time.

{With the power out, and ATM’s, cash registers and credit card machines not working, guess what I used to buy extra diapers after the quake? Cash from my tiny safe!}

So here’s my advice: once you’ve determined that you’re going to skip dinner out for a few weeks, or turn off your cable for a month, or disconnect your ungrateful teens cell coverage for three months, (just to keep ‘em humble), you can start the lengthy, tedious, difficult process to becoming prepared.

First, get on-line
Second, buy a pre-made 72-hour kit.

That’s it.

I just looked on Amazon. They have a 72-hour-kit for FOUR people on-sale for $139.95. That is actually pretty darn cheap. If that is still too rich for your blood, get a one person kit for around $50. (I picked one up at Home Depot once for around $35!)

A ONE person 72-hour kit could also be a THREE person 24-hour kit. In other words, it’s better than nothing.

Look at Amazon, Costco.com, BePrepared.com, or any other site of your choice. Give yourself 30-40 minutes to shop around and find the best bargain, and THEN JUST BUY ONE!!! (You just might be so proud of yourself that next month you go back and buy another one!)

It doesn’t actually have to be a long painful process. I ain’t got time for that. YOU ain’t got time for that.

Even IF you want to DIY it, I STILL recommend buying your first fully assembled kit!!

Here’s why: you will instantly have a whole bunch of emergency stuff.

All at once, all in one place, all packed neatly, and all well thought out.

You will immediately feel a little better at the thought that you are not COMPLETELY unprepared for a disaster. After that, you can TOTALLY bargain shop and add to it until it meets the needs of your entire family.

If you DO want to outfit your family all at once, don’t buy individual one-person packs or many items will be needlessly duplicated. If you can afford it, buy a pack built for 2 or 4. That way, you aren’t paying for 4 emergency hand crank radios but you’re still getting 4 emergency whistles and rain coats and the right amount of food and water.

I hope you will take my advice and start getting prepared today. If you have any questions, I’m here to help!

Remember: “If ye are prepared, ye shall not fear.”



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