MOUNT IDAHO — At the Schmid’s home, about eight miles outside of Grangeville, clothing, water, and first aid supplies line their living room floor. They aren’t going camping — they are preparing for potential disasters by having a “go bag.”
Doug and Crystal Schmid have always been aware that wildfires are a real threat at their Mount, Idaho property.
“Last year we had a fire,” Crystal said. The flames were visible just over the ridge, alerting them that they may need to evacuate. “We were loaded and ready to leave because it was so close to us.”
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recommends collecting what everyone in the household needs to survive for several days along with important documents.
The Schmids don’t want to leave anything to chance in case of a sudden evacuation. Their go bags, which they review and refresh before every fire season, are packed and stored by the front door. They both feel being prepared before a disaster strikes is important.
“When you leave in a hurry you can leave something important behind right quick,” Doug said.
Crystal agreed, “It lets me relax a little bit more in my day-to-day life, because I know I’m prepared in the event that we do have to evacuate.”
The Schmids credit their disaster-preparedness to the direction they get from meetings with the Grangeville congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses.
“They help us to know how to be calm even when bad things are happening,” Crystal said.
“Having a personal preparedness plan increases your chances of staying safe,” according to a training program from the Columbia University’s National Center for Disaster Preparedness.
Among the items the Schmids pack in their go bags are food, medications, and a change of clothing. They also included copies of important paperwork and medical documents.
“Life is precious, so we encourage all to heed the Bible’s advice to take practical steps to protect ourselves from danger,” said Robert Hendriks III, spokesman for Jehovah’s Witnesses in the United States.
Disaster-preparedness suggestions and tips for putting together a go bag are available from FEMA at ready.gov and from Jehovah’s Witnesses at https://www.jw.org/en/library/magazines/awake-no5-2017-october/disaster-steps-that-can-save-lives.