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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Church History teaches lessons Part 8

From "Sturdy Shoes and a Waterproof Tent" by William G. Hartley, Ensign Oct. 2001

Church history teaches many lessons about personal preparedness.

Lessons from the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake and Fire
The U.S. earthquake against which all earthquakes are still measured is the San Francisco earthquake of 18 April 1906. The great quake caused terrible damage to buildings, roads, water systems, law enforcement, communications, and transportation. Fires broke out and caused more damage than the quake. Separations were common. Food, water, and sanitation became terrible problems.
Some 120 Church members—branch members, missionaries, and city visitors—were in the city at the time. Some wrote about how they survived the quake. 11 Their accounts identify several problems we could face if caught in a major earthquake or other catastrophes, such as hurricanes, cyclones, tornadoes, or fires, and they provide several preparedness ideas.
Lesson 1: Have sturdy shoes and durable clothing nearby in case of a sudden nighttime emergency, whether at home or away from home.
The 1906 quake struck before morning while people were sleeping. Frightened people ran into the streets in nightclothes and barefoot. Mission president Joseph Robinson hiked all over San Francisco trying to locate and help Church members. Broken bricks and glass quickly shredded his shoes.
Lesson 2: Have fire extinguishers in our homes.
Less than four blocks away from the Church’s mission home, a woman cooking breakfast accidentally started a fire. Firemen were too busy to respond to this “ham and eggs” fire. By the early afternoon, in order to keep the fire from spreading, firemen had to dynamite the area where the mission home stood.
Lesson 3: Have emergency water on hand in sturdy, non-glass containers.
Faucets went dry when the water mains broke. Thirsty people broke into stores and bars to find liquid. Thirsty members, who flocked to the mission home, were glad to be offered bottled fruit (fortunately the bottles had not broken).

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