QUAERITUR: If and when disaster strikes you, do you have a plan?

During breakfast this morning I was watching the news about hurricane “Irene”… odd name for a hurricane… I guess the people who name these things don’t think about what names mean… “Irene” heading toward NYC.

This leads me to the question I occasionally raise for you readers.

If because of some imminent weather danger, impending social breakdown, or other disaster, you had suddenly to pick up and leave, to bug out, could you do it?  Do you have a plan?  Do you have some things set aside which you could simply pick up and then walk out the door and get out of Dodge?  This is a tough enough question for singles or young couples.  Have you thought about getting your children to safety?

Do you know where you will go?  Do you know what you will eat?  Will you have fresh water?  Can you stay warm and keep your loved one’s safe?

In the news coverage I saw a shot of a Manhattan grocery store’s bare shelves where bread had been.

Do you have a plan?


PS.  If you are in the area affected by Irene and you know of someone who is sick or shut in, you might take a little time to check on them.



Come to think of it, having to dash from home and drinking plain bottled water or purified water can be a little demoralizing.  How about some MYSTIC MONK TEA bags in your bug out bags?

Sure there might be a tornado out there, or ravening hordes of looters about to burn down your apartment block.   Why not chill with some Mystic Monk Coffee?

When disaster strikes, don’t be caught short!  Even when disaster doesn’t strike, have lots on hand.  The in-laws might show up!

Mystic Monk!

For the strength to fight off zombies!


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Stu says:


    Going through the hurricane as we speak down here in Norfolk. Yes, we do have supplies (food, water self-defense) and yes we do have plans for this and other contingencies. But as my oldest son reminded me two days ago in a very faithful and assured manner, we also have four palm crosses buried on the corners of our property that were blesses on the Feast of Saint Peter of Verona. :)

  2. APX says:

    At this very moment if I had to bug out, it would be no problem whatsoever…right now my entire life is packed in a 6 x 10 trailer. Any other time, I probably could because I’m highly organized and don’t have much stuff, particularly valuable stuff. The food situation might be difficult because I don’t normally keep huge food stashes because of lack of funds.

    Actually, for me what I should be concerned about and prepared for is car breakage-downage in the middle of winter.

  3. webpoppy8 says:

    Sacramental confession.

  4. Tom says:

    “Mystic Monk! For the strength to fight off zombies!” hahaha

  5. Kelly says:

    Down the road to, as webpoppy8 says, Confession. Handily, there’s also a Chapel of Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration.
    I think I’d wait it out there. :)

  6. Cathy says:

    Father, thank you for pointing out the irony of the name, Irene. I can’t help but think of the irony that people are shoring up their property against “peace”, are being encouraged to flee their homes in the wake of “peace”, and that prayer requests are going up for safety being threatened by “peace”. Correct me if I am wrong, but the girl’s name, Irene, was encouraged as an honor to Our Lady, Queen of Peace.

    Peace be with you, Father Z!

  7. Paul says:

    We are most certainly ready (and squarely in the path, in East central NJ).

    1. State of grace–sacramental confession
    2. Prayer
    3. Supplies–water, food, fuel for the gas grill, bleach, water filtration kit, flashlights, candles, extra fuel for the vehicles
    4. Materials to pass the time
    5. Materials to help others honor the commandment not to steal
    6. A check made of and the elderly in our view and care provided for
    7. Made sure that the Fathers and the elderly nun who lives above the church are safe and ready

  8. Jason Keener says:

    Very good reminder, Father. Events like the London Riots and the fall of the governments in the Middle East, etc., show, I think, how quickly and somewhat unexpectedly chaos can come about in civil society, even in our modern times. Americans believe nothing like that could ever happen here, but one never knows. Let’s not be like the foolish virgins who had no oil for their lamps.

  9. teechrlady says:

    Paul, loved this!
    “5. Materials to help others honor the commandment not to steal”

  10. Mike says:

    Still working on dry food storage, however, should civil order break down, I have:
    1. a Beretta 9mm
    2. 12 gauge Remington pump
    3. .35 cal. scoped deer rifle

    I hope by Christmas to have at least seven weeks worth of mre’s for the famly.

    N.B: I am not a nutter-survivalist; but if you don’t at least think about the unthinkable, when it happens, it won’t be good.

  11. MJ says:

    My boss and I were talking about this sort of thing just the other day.

    My idea of being ready is similar to what some have already stated – State of Grace, prayer, food, water, emergency supplies (first aid stuff, flashlight, matches), etc.

    His idea of being ready was (obviously State of Grace and prayer but also) having a few handguns, ammunition, and some good whiskey on hand (he mentioned Jack Daniels as being a good choice). His rationale for the whiskey was that if you get desperate (or maybe, if other people get desperate) they will trade you food and other necessities for a shot of whiskey…

    I wasn’t sure whether to laugh, whether tell him he shouldn’t plan to survive by capitalizing on other people’s weakness, or whether I should run out and buy up some Jack Daniels…

  12. bookworm says:

    “His rationale for the whiskey was that if you get desperate (or maybe, if other people get desperate) they will trade you food and other necessities for a shot of whiskey”

    I wonder, however, if there isn’t another (and grimmer) reason behind the whiskey… you may need it to, ahem, steady your nerves in the event you are called upon to search for or identify dead or gravely injured loved ones, neighbors, or others.

    A few years ago I read “Isaac’s Storm”, Erik Larson’s account of the 1900 Galveston Hurricane, which killed at least 8,000 people and to this day ranks as the deadliest natural disaster in U.S. history. If I remember correctly, he mentions that the crews who went out searching for the dead and picking up bodies that washed ashore in the days afterward always took a few swigs of whiskey before starting their work each day. I don’t think Irene is going to be anywhere near that bad, but, you never know until it happens.

  13. I actually thought of the irony in the name “Irene” this morning at Mass, as I recalled how Fr. Z likes the word “irenic.”

  14. acroat says:

    The Galveston storm was horrible. The Incarnate Word sisters tried to save the orphans they cared for by tying them to their waists and sang a Marian
    Hymn, Queen of the Waves, as the waters washed them away.

  15. moon1234 says:

    Preparion list (non-religious items)

    – 9MM Handgun (1000 rounds ammo)
    -12 guage Shotgun (Buckshot and slugs for self defense, birdshot for hunting)
    – MRE’s (These are not military rations, rather things like pop-tarts, energy bars, etc. that we will eat anyway. Just keep more of them on hand)
    – Bottled water and a portable reverse osmosis unit (The RO doubles as our travel water filter)
    – Two 5 gallon gas cans stored at home. Usuallyt both full. Sometimes one used for lawn mower.
    – $7,000 worth of pure silver coins. Some Canadian Maple Leafs, Some generic rounds.
    – TWO minivans working and ready.
    – My wife and I are HAM radio operators. We keep two portable radios with all the time. If cell service ever goes out on accident or on purpose we will be able to communicate.
    – good relations with the neighbors.
    – Portable freezer and camping stove. Allows us to take meat and veggies in the big freezer with if we need to leave.
    – 1500 watt power inverter. Enough to keep the freezers cold if the power is out for an extended period of time.

  16. Sandy says:

    We here in SoCal have a list, but at the moment I’m with you, Stu. My elderly mother is in Va. Beach riding out the hurricane as you are. I can only pray. (She has tall pine trees that always pose a threat should they blow down.)

  17. Elizabeth M says:

    I live 1 mile from the fault where “The Big One” in California is supposed to happen any time. Have to be prepared!

  18. Re: whiskey, it’s a wonderful specific against most gut critters. Given that water and food in the wake of a disaster might have some dubiousness to it, having whiskey around is a very good thing. It’s also a good medicine against coughs and sore throats, if you don’t have anything better. Of course you can use whiskey as an exterior specific against infection, although isopropyl alcohol and hydrogen peroxide are probably preferable.

  19. Philmont237 says:

    I am an Air Force weather officer and I can say for certain that no, the National. In 1997 the Joint Typhoon Warning Center in Hawaii named a tropical storm “Mort” after a guy who worked there. Tropical Storm Mort headed right to the Spanish-speaking Phillipines where the similar-sounding “muerte” means death. The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration changed it’s name to Tropical Storm Pining because “Tropical Storm Death” might send the masses into a panic. Because of this the JWTC had its naming rights taken away for Pacific tropical cyclones and now various countries take turns in an international commission to name them. Of course, when the Chinese named one they gave us Typhoon Longwang so yeah…..

  20. Philmont237 says:

    I forgot to end my first sentence in my last post; I left off the words “Hurricane Center.” Mea culpa.

  21. Tantum Ergo says:

    Re: “Mystic Monk!
    For the strength to fight off zombies!”
    I can attest to the veracity of this statement with my personal testimonial:
    Ever since I started wearing a Mystic Monk tea bag around my neck, not only have I NOT been attacked by zombies, but my shoe laces haven’t come untied, either!

  22. Maltese says:

    A Tsunami in NYC would be a bad thing, a really bad think; let’s pray it never happens.

    NYC mega Tsunami

  23. Maltese says:

    Seriously, the best home defense weapon is a shotgun; as soon as a bad guy hears it cock, he dispatches! You can also get cheap AK’s out there, and the ammo is cheap. I don’t have one, but if the sh.. hits the fan in a bad way, an AK could come in handy.

    As Katrina taught, we are all vulnerable. But I think the greatest self-defense is the Rosary!

    Let’s face it, we all die, but not all of us live forever in the company of God. Yes, I have a couple of guns, and am willing to defend my family, but more than that, I have twice as many Rosaries with my eye on heaven for myself and my babies!

  24. Charles E Flynn says:

    Yesterday, I learned the hard way that so many people are still using D-cell flashlights that an entire state can be sold out of the batteries one day before a hurricane arrives.

    I spent the time of the hurricane reading about emergency radios, and found nothing that I would not want to replace immediately should someone make one with the characteristics of most of what I buy.

    Evaluation of Ready.Gov Equipment and Preparedness Lists. (2003)

  25. JonPatrick says:

    Well I got the Mystic Monk part done, still have to work on the other stuff :-) Survived hurricane OK, just a little water in the basement. We do have a generator that can be hooked up to the house via a transfer switch so we can run the vital systems, fortunately I did not have to use it.

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