Bags filled with emergency supplies are positioned by the door of the Rivera family’s sitting room, where they can quickly be “grabbed to go” in the event of a crisis.
As residents living on the island of St. Croix, United States Virgin Islands, Ulises Rivera says it is important to “have an answer when a disaster strikes.” His wife Rebeca agrees that good planning is key.
With extreme weather events escalating in frequency and severity in recent years, experts urge families to plan ahead for natural disasters. Ready.gov, a FEMA website, recommends putting together a “collection of basic items” to last for several days, including food, water, a change of clothes, cash and a flashlight.
For the Riveras, preparation is a family project. “We involve them,” says Ulises of his daughters Briana, age 10, and Gabriela, age 8. The family learned together what to do in the event of a disaster and came up with a plan of action. They found information on how to prepare their personal go bags in the Awake magazine #5 of 2017 entitled, “When Disaster Strikes–Steps That Can Save Lives.”
“Jehovah knows exactly what we need,” says Rebeca, who recalls that her family heeded the advice to prepare just before a major hurricane hit the island. Likewise, Ulises credits their state of constant readiness to the “timely and loving reminders” received through their congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses and on the Christian organization’s official website, jw.org.