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'I felt that we had everything necessary to start over': Congregation helps Idahoans prepare emergency go-bags

Posted at 5:16 PM, Jul 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-28 22:33:05-04

MAGIC VALLEY — Eric Cancino and his wife were evacuated from their home on June 14 after the Cold Creek Fire grew larger and threatened their home.

“A friend texted me that there was smoke in the area over here and I was just aware of it but in a matter of hours the winds picked up," Eric said.

"I was like, ok, we got this. No problem. Because our go-bags were ready," Fabiola Cancino said.

After peaking his head out of the window, Eric realized how close the fire was to his house. Instead of waiting for an evacuation notice, Eric texted his wife Fabiola, who was at work, and grabbed their go-bags.

“When my husband texted me about it, I was like, 'OK, we got this. No problem.' Because our go-bags were ready, and we had everything we needed for that exact situation," Fabiola said.

The Cancinos say they were prepared for that situation because of help from members of the Kingdom Hall. They say the congregation assisted them with which items to have in their go-bags.

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“My wife and I were thinking even if the apartment burned down, I felt that we had everything necessary to start over," Eric said.

Members of the congregation have helped people nationwide prepare go-bags for emergencies. They say their focus in the Magic Valley is to help the Spanish-speaking community.

“On our website, it does have those practical tips, and it's in multiple languages because, in Twin Falls, you do have a diversity of languages there,” said Royce Porkert with The Jehovah's Witness Congregation.

They say the items in each go-bag can vary depending on each family's needs. But there are some essential items everyone should have.

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“You want to have food and water for at least two days. You want to have clothing because sometimes when you are leaving quickly you just have the clothing on your back, but what you can do is have a set of essential clothing and what you can do is vacuum pack that to minimize space so you could carry it in your to-go bag,” Porkert said.

The congregation has helped more than 5,000 people prepare go-bags for emergencies in Idaho.

For more information on which items to pack for go-bags, you can visit the Jehovah's Witness website.