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Be Ready to Go
Past disasters, such as Hurricane Katrina, demonstrated that any one of us may need to leave home on short notice. What would you take? Where is the stuff you need? How long would it take you to leave your home? There's lots of great information available about putting together a 72-hour emergency kit (in the event that you have to immediately evacuate your home). So take some time to put a kit together, and include copies of critical documents (such as wills, passports, and insurance policies). Most of these things you already have, they're just scattered around your house. Reserve a window of time to consolidate them into one bag, in a central location. Plus, make a short list of irreplaceable items (to be quickly grabbed) that you would hate to lose.


Batten Down the Hatches
For most of us, our home security is woefully inadequate. Even when there's not a community-wide emergency, crime increases when the economy is bad, and home burglaries remain widespread. So look around your home for areas of vulnerability. Also, get some advice at your local hardware store about simple, inexpensive ways to improve your home's security. Make sure expensive electronics aren't visible from the street (through uncovered windows), and verify that all locks (windows and doors) function properly. Matthew 24:43 states, "But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into" (New International Version). Similarly, we don't know when something unfortunate might happen, so our homes must be prepared.

Declutter Your Home
Believe it or not, removing clutter will help you prepare for the unexpected. Most books and web articles on personal preparedness mention nothing about decluttering. But, in my opinion, it's one of the most important things you can do. If your house is so crammed that you don't know where anything is, you have a serious problem. In an emergency, having a flashlight doesn't help you, if you can't find it when the lights go out! Consequently, get rid of things you don't need. Don't save broken items for the "one day" you might fix them. Instead, clear space for what is useful. Then, when hard times come, you can weather them peacefully – with a clear mind and prepared home. c