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Jessica Hill, AP
The Flaven family pack up their cars before evacuating the area in Fairfield, Conn., Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012. Mandatory evacuations have been ordered for Sunday in parts of Bridgeport, Fairfield, East Haven, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook and Branford. Voluntary evacuations are being urged in parts of Westport and New London.

Hurricane Sandy provides a stark reminder of the unpredictability of our weather. The drought affecting many areas of the country this summer was another reminder of the uncertainties of life.

It's not as hard as you might think to store some food and water for a time of difficulty. It’s not that difficult to organize supplies that can be grabbed in case of evacuation. The biggest challenge is making a serious decision to do something about getting prepared. Once the commitment is made, people who are diligent will find ways to make it happen.

Peace of mind is invaluable in a time of difficulty. The following benefits are motivation to get going, to persistently acquire a supply of food and water, and to organize basic disaster supplies.

Here are five reasons you should focus on being prepared:

1. In an impending disaster, you skip the stress of waiting in lines in stores. Stores do not keep a large supply of food, water or supplies. We have seen over and over in times of emergency the long lines in stores as people frantically try to buy necessary provisions. This needless anxiety could be avoided.

2. Children feel more secure when hearing about disasters — if families have prepared. Fear of the unknown is a real thing for all of us, and especially for children. They find great comfort in knowing the family has an emergency plan, including tangible supplies.

3. In case of a disaster, having food and water provides the critical physical energy to deal with concerns. This is not a time to battle hunger. It’s important to store some foods that do not require heating like pork and beans, canned beans, fruit or Spaghettios for times without electricity.

4. Morale boosters provide critical emotional comfort. Storing a little candy is a good idea. With electricity, making popcorn, homemade cookies and bread can lift a dark mood and help people find the emotional strength to face the challenges.

5. In a disaster, serving others is one way to feel better, and that is much easier when supplies have been stored to care for your own needs. Helping others allows you forget your own troubles. It is a good feeling to have resources to share with others who are worse off, because you invested some time and energy to be prepared.

Having food, water and supplies stored is a small price to pay for some peace of mind. With additional real concerns about the economy, it’s time to make this a priority. It is unwise to keep preparedness low on your list of concerns where, as often happens, it is neglected and forgotten. Now is the time for focused and consistent action to prepare for life’s unpredictability.

Leslie Probert, a graduate in home economics from Brigham Young University, has been a popular speaker and is co-author of "Emergency Food Storage in a Nutshell, 3rd Edition" with over 400 fast, creative recipes. Email: foodstoragechick@gmail.com