Bug Out Bags

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I just saw a government sponsored commercial showing people being tossed around.  Then dad grabs the “bug out bag” and they head for the door.

The slogan at the end: Get a kit.  Make a plan. Be informed.

I am not sure that a government website under THIS administration is what I would turn to.

But I can endorse: Bug out bags.

I have been talking about this sort of thing for a while.

Please, dear readers, I implore you… make plans for bad things that can happen.

Plan how to meet up or where to go.  Plan how to get your kids to a safe place.  Plan how to eat and have drinking water, how to do basic first aid, stay warm, and protect yourselves.

I don’t care what side of issues you are on, or if you are a fan or a writer of my latest hate mail.  Get serious and make a plan.

“But Father! But Father!”, some of you are saying. “I’m a nice person! What could possibly happen to me?”

Depending on where you live, a lot.  Even if you are not in an earthquake zone or flood plain, there are storms, man-made disasters, other events.  This morning a storm ripped through my area that was so violent that it sounded like something was being dragged over my roof.  I glanced out the window in the pale light and it looked like the world was coming to an end.  Several times in the last years in the summer tornadoes have passed within 5 miles of my place.

Ask people from Joplin what can happen.

Confess your sins regularly.

You don’t think bad things will happen to you and yours … until they do.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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

    This kind of thing has been on my mind since I read ‘2 seconds after’.

  2. acardnal says:

    I hope your endorsement of “Bug Out Bags” means YOU have one because God knows we will need the sacraments when TEOTWAWKI happens. [My bug out strategy would for Mass for a couple weeks. For the rest, all I really need is my memory.]

  3. Matt R says:

    On the note of “You don’t think bad things will happen to you and yours … until they do,” let’s receive Confession frequently, and Holy Communion as often as possible.

  4. AnnAsher says:

    I have been taking calm and steady steps for preparedness and toward a day (hopefully sooner than later) where we produce our own food. In the meantime, I grow what I can where I am at (less than 1 acre). Bi monthly I purchase small amounts of dry foods to add to our long term storage. I need to make bug out bags… I’m sure I have the contents. I’ll do it post haste. It’s a tad disturbing the govt is advertising them… As I’d expect them to color things rosy. [I thought it was pretty interesting. Were I writing a futuristic TEOTWAWKI novel, I would cynically suggest that by getting everyone prepped with bug out bags, they (this Administration’s 4th term, that is) could more easily move people as groups or individuals to special… education camps. o{];¬) ]

  5. acardnal says:

    Bad things happen to good people. Be prepared as the Boy Scouts state.

  6. Ezra says:

    I dunno, Father. This all reminds me of the people in the ’70s who were predicting imminent global collapse and went about stockpiling tinned foods. I guess some of them are still around, waiting to be vindicated. Wonder if those peaches are still edible.

    The more extreme “prepper” talk (not Fr Z’s post, mind!) reminds me of one of my favorite passages of Scripture:

    I say to you, be not solicitous for your life, what you shall eat, nor for your body, what you shall put on. Is not the life more than the meat: and the body more than the raiment? Behold the birds of the air, for they neither sow, nor do they reap, nor gather into barns: and your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are not you of much more value than they? And which of you by taking thought, can add to his stature by one cubit? And for raiment why are you solicitous? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they labour not, neither do they spin. But I say to you, that not even Solomon in all his glory was arrayed as one of these. And if the grass of the field, which is today, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, God doth so clothe: how much more you, O ye of little faith? Be not solicitous therefore, saying, What shall we eat: or what shall we drink, or wherewith shall we be clothed? For after all these things do the heathens seek. For your Father knoweth that you have need of all these things. Seek ye therefore first the kingdom of God, and his justice, and all these things shall be added unto you. Be not therefore solicitous for tomorrow; for the morrow will be solicitous for itself. Sufficient for the day is the evil thereof.

    [How will that work for a father of children who are cold and starving? Grace builds on nature, friend. We should also be good stewards according to our vocations. We should be prepared with basics.]

  7. homeschoolofthree says:

    If you are a parent of a young man, encourage Boy Scouts. I have two Eagle Scout sons and my husband is a Scoutmaster, they are all prepared!

    [At the very least, they have a fighting chance to stay dry, make fire, read a map, find some food, patch a wound, aid someone in distress, and even help little old ladies cross the street! Not a bad start! So says the former boy scout!]

  8. APX says:

    I also can’t stress enough about having enough in savings to, at the very minimum, get you through at least a month of living. Within a month you can usually get yourself set up with social assistance to keep your basic necessities met and to find temp work or something if need be. You never know what each day could bring. [Right, and having some cash in case there is no power or the banks are closed, etc., could be a really good idea.]

  9. PhillipE says:

    Speaking of Joplin anyone who lives in tornado prone areas should seriously consider spending money on a safe room. They bolt the thing to the concrete foundation of the house and are very sturdy.

    See this article from the town near me, Tuscaloosa, that had all the storms last April, notice the picture:

    [An emergency radio, with crank power, is a good idea.]

  10. acardnal says:

    @homeschoolofthree: congratulations! you should be proud . . . Eagle Scouts!

  11. acardnal says:

    I remember when I lived in Virginia and the remnants of a hurricane blew through as a tropical storm. It knocked out electricity for two or three days. You think, “no big deal”, the utility will fix it, until you realize the gas pumps don’t work and neither do the bank ATM machines. Always keep your gas tank at least one-half full and have cash on-hand. Don’t expect that the Internet will be there.

    [It might be good to have a way to charge things such as phones or even mp3 players, not to mention batteries, etc. Here is a folding solar panel charger. This one is spendy, but it is good.]

  12. Andy Lucy says:

    Prepping does not involve just preparing for pestilence/havoc/chaos/devastation. I know many preppers who have lost their jobs and their preps have seen them through without having to worry about where their next meal came from or how to keep the lights on and the car running. Your neighbor may be going through TEOTWAHKI as he has lost his job, his car has been repo’d, his kids are hungry, his wife has left him, and the electricity has been turned off. You may just be sailing along while his world is ending.

    Having the ability to provide for one’s family relieves a tremendous amount of stress, allowing you to concentrate on dealing with whatever crisis faces you. Pray like everything depends on God, prepare like everything depends on you.

    [I think this is a good reason also to forge solid bonds with people in your neighborhood. You can help each other.]

  13. LisaP. says:

    We’re ten miles from a Colorado fire. [So this is real for you!] We had a day of not knowing what was going on, friends getting evacuated and wondering how to take care of their large animals and small businesses, stuffing the absolute necessities in the car and reloading the news pages over and over again to see where we stood with evacuations, the kids were totally cabin fevered by the end of the day because it was broiling inside but outside the smoke was yucky to breath.

    Yes, yes, have a plan and a bag to stuff stuff in. Yes. [Waiting until you have to go isn’t a good idea. Pack it and keep it handy for when you need to grab and go. No?] Also, consider your kids at school during the day, they sell (or you can make yourself) little backpacks with a couple days supplies in it for if a kid gets stuck at school. I remember stories of the kids stuck in the elementary schools for days after the Japanese tsunami, I think a kit in the locker might be wise, [Yes. At least. It won’t take up much room and it could make a difference. Even with a little hand held transceiver with channels preset and regularly powered up if the kids are old enough to use it right and there is a high risk period. ] or if you can talk the school into it kits of some kind for all the kids in a gym closet would be a good idea. . .

    As for the long term, I found these couple days interesting because lots of folks move out here seeking self-sufficiency because they are TEOTWAWKI types. But it is interesting when true end of the world stuff starts to happen, we don’t really want to be self-sufficient. We want to be part of a real community that will help take care of us while we determine to help take care of them. The folks around here all stepped up, and the fire fighters — well, that stuff is just amazing. [Building up a community is a really good idea.]

  14. LisaP. says:

    Ezra, I love that passage.
    I believe it teaches me that I need to do the right thing and then not worry.

    So many times in my life, and in the lives of others I know, we feel we are supposed to make choices that seem to be irresponsible in the conventional way of thinking, which concentrates so much on the practical worldly consequences of choices.

    A friend, for example, adopted a foster child — a foolish thing to do when you are struggling to take care of your family and keep your business afloat. Another ran a camp in a chaotic African country, they had many, many kids there with AIDS. But these folks felt this was what they were called to do, and they knew God would take care of them (which didn’t mean God would keep them safe from all danger, it meant safe or in danger God would still be with them). This passage, for me, doesn’t mean do not prepare — it means do not fear!

  15. Brian K says:

    Check out the Biolite camp stoves:

    They are a highly efficient camp size rocket stove that also uses a thermoelectric coupler to create electricity from waste heat to run a USB charger.

  16. Kathleen10 says:

    Have to give a plug to Cody Lundin’s book “When All Hell Breaks Loose“. You get your money’s worth and then some with this book. It’s got lots of content, and is interesting to read. It’s only about $12 on Amazon. I have read it, and am going back to create lists.

    I have thus far been immune on things like Y2K, new millenium stuff, dates of dire prediction, etc. I just think in general people get worked up, some of it is about selling things, and things get silly. But there is a feeling of urgency in my heart about prepping. I have started, just bought a tent at a yard sale. Now is a great time to prep, because of yard sales! You can often find really great stuff, so cheap! Check out the website HOMESTEAD SURVIVAL. Super cool site, with some good links or articles about how to live on your property and make it as a homesteader. Self-sufficiency type of information, lots of it cool.
    I’m an animal lover, squeamish about animal injuries, etc., but I actually watched a video showing how to butcher and clean a chicken. It wasn’t as bad as I thought. If it ever came to it, my family needed to eat, watch out chickie!

  17. Elizabeth M says:

    We are most definitely prepared because we live in prime earthquake country. Suitcase gets updated every 6 months and we go through our checklist.

  18. Sue in soCal says:

    I come from a family of people who prepared: native american and scouting. We have two wells, a spring fed pond, livestock and poultry, orchards, and a garden. I have been slowly building toward enough supplies for my extended family in case of crisis. AND, the most important part, we live half a mile from Thomas Aquinas College so that we can get spiritually fed, too! [Be sure to have a plan about how to meet up with everyone in case there is some emergency.]

  19. moon1234 says:

    In the event of an EOTWAWKI event you won’t need a bug out bag, there will be few places to bug out to. I have guns, 3000, rounds of ammo for each one and a family that is all trained on how to use them. [I think that if your house is on fire, or a railroad wreck releases bad things into the air, or there is a wild fire, people need a bag. If you review the top entry, I am not just talking about total collapse of society because of a disaster, economic meltdown, war, or pandemic. Let’s not derail some basic prudent preparations by belittling them.]

    You see people, you may prep, but most will not. This means that those who do not will want what you have. When people get hungry or desperate enough they will have no problems taking what you have by force.

    In the event of the government boogyman coming for you, then I am sorry but you will be dead or going with them. They will have local law enforcement (most who will do anything they are told, ANYTHING) and the military. Remebe Katrina? Those that LEFT their homes were disarmed and shoved into a cramped, unsanitary situation. The ONLY people left alone were the small communities of neighbors who banded together and ARMED themselves. It was not possible to extract these people without killing them.

    In the event of a natural disaster, then yes having some food and supplies will be helpful, but this is the ONLY scenerio that I see a bug out bag being good for. Having access to communications (i.e. ham radio) is a good idea in case the power goes out. Candles come in handy. Solar panels are worthless in an emergency. Buy a 1500-3000 watt power inverter at Wal-Mart or someplace local. In the event the power goes out you can connect the inverter to your car battery and then run an extension cord from the invert to a wall outlet to power circuits in your home. Disconnect the mains first so you don’t electrocute any utility guys. Five minutes per hour of running the car will be enough to keep the battery topped off. This process can be enough to keep food in the freezer and fridge safe. They really only need to run a few minutes per hour as long as you don’t keep opening them.

    My plan is to have enough food to feed my family for a month, enough ammo to defend our food and resources from theft and to help those who honestly need help. Cash will mean little when people are hungry and looking to take what you have. Growing your own veggies is a good start, but if other people KNOW you are doing it then it is ripe for theft.

    Trust in God, use the talents he gave you, help each other and don’t worry.

  20. Supertradmum says:

    I have been telling this to students and friends for years, who thought I was nutsy. So, thanks. I do not have one, as I am in the middle of London, and Europeans, unless they are French Scouts, do not seem to even have local shops for such things. I need to figure this out.

    However, we can only respond as we have the ability to do this. Some should adopt older people in their areas, as we did for Y2K, and watch out for them. There are many, many older people isolated who would need help bugging out…. [Yes, they would.]

  21. Rev. Michael Church says:

    A good reminder.

    Until a few years ago, I lived in New York City. We were blessed by generally good weather, but (a) a repeat target for terrorism and (b) more and more prone to flooding these days. Add to that (c) the fact that, in a serious emergency, exit routes from the archipelago were certain to jammed, and you had a good reason to be prepared. The city government advised us all to keep enough on food and water on hand to survive for a week or two without leaving our homes, or even (in the case of certain attacks) opening any doors or windows. Many of us complied.

    One of the Lutheran relief agencies also put together bug-out bags. My wife and I kept two in the coat closet, right by the umbrellas. As I recall, they included not only radios, flashlights and protein bars, but things like a DNA sample for reference.

  22. NoraLee9 says:

    I went to work one day in 2001 and by 10:30 the whole world had devolved into chaos. I was walking back in to the city while everyone else was walking out. Not a good feeling. Was able to get my kid. Walked 50 blocks home with her one my shoulders. Hubby didn’t get back for days. (He worked in Long Island). No phones. Soldiers everywhere. Bad air. And no way out except on foot. Not a scenario I want to repeat. At least they kept the lights on.
    I hear you Father. I need a boat to get out of here. [You at least need a bag with some season appropriate clothing and some food and water, medicines you might need, etc., in case something happens.]

  23. wmeyer says:

    I hate that commercial, for one statement in it, which could be a motto for the current administration: “There’s no time to think, only to act.” [Indeed. Though if we think ahead of time (another thing this administration is short on, we can get up and go when necessary.]

    That said, besides scouting, there is Civil Air Patrol, which I cannot recommend sufficiently. CAP teaches leadership, moral leadership, preparedness, first aid, and gives real training in emergency services. It is the auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force, and has a real mission; CAP performs 97% of domestic search and rescue. Further, it is for anyone from age 12 up, of either sex. Real training, and real missions, mostly local to your area. For the cadets (12-18), there are also orientation flights, both powered and glider. My daughter was a member, and is now a Coast Guard Ensign. I am a member–I joined a few months after she did–and have been through numerous training lessons and field exercises.

    Father, your warning is realistic. Many of us are at risk from natural disasters, be they tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, or simply hail. We always have time to think, but preparation comes before the emergency strikes, so when that day is upon us, the thoughts are of the checklist items we need to do, and the things we need to take, if evacuation is necessary. [Do I hear an “Amen!”?]

  24. pelerin says:

    I have never heard of the term ‘bug out bags’ but from the post and comments can guess what it means. Do you in America know something we don’t in England?! I remember when the threat of nuclear war loomed over us but even then I dont think many people here prepared for the worst. Supertradmum – perhaps the reason we don’t have the shops you mention is the absence of earthquakes, tornados etc although we have had the occasional flood recently. [The idea is pretty simple: have a bag packed which with some necessities which you can grab in a pinch, head out the door, and not be stuck without some basics for a few days. And for all you WOMEN READING THIS: This bug out bag plan applies to women who are afraid of dangerous spouses or ex’s! Sometimes, it’s time to go, for your sake and for the safety of children!]

  25. MargaretC says:

    Prudence is a virtue too often neglected nowadays.

    Actually, you don’t need to go as far as planning for the EOTWAWKI. Back when I lived in Wyoming, I soon learned to keep a well-stocked pantry in the winter. Blizzards shut down the highway a couple of time every winter and trucks could not get through to the local supermarkets. This was easier to face if you had dry milk and a supply of beans and rice on hand.

    When preparing your Bug Out Bag, think also about your important papers. Things like wills, insurance policies, etc. need to be backed up and stored off site. [That is a GREAT point. Thanks. There is a Swiss Army Knife that has a secure USB drive built in. Scan documents and keep copies. Otherwise, to be really secure, there is an Ironkey drive.]

  26. Liz says:

    I like the reminder about confession. Thanks be to God for the priests in our lives especially in crisis situations.

  27. AnnAsher says:

    Fr Z, if I’ve not said it before, you’re awesome! You are a prophet for our times – spiritually and practically. I’m being serious and filial. [Thanks. I hope even detractors will take some of this seriously and make basic preparations. It just makes sense!]

  28. Andy Lucy says:

    Supertradmum, perlerin, et al.. I know many preppers in Great Britain. Living on an island severely limits your possibilities of bugging-out (or leaving your home for an area of higher relative safety/security). Most people plan to bug-in. They prepare by accumulating 6 months or better of food, storing water (minimum of 1 gallon per person, per day) and acquiring the means of filtering and preparing more water. In the event of large scale civil disturbance, local utilities such as power, phone, internet, gas and water may very well fail. Keep in mind, as I stated earlier, TEOTWAWKI does not have to be an asteroid slamming into Trafalgar Square. Imagine the sheer, unmitigated HAVOC that would be unleashed were a radiological device (dirty bomb) to be detonated in London during the Olympics. Granted, the initial casualties might be low… but the disruption of life could last for weeks, if not months.

    I have plans to bug-out and to bug-in. [Bug in. Good. Except maybe when the house is on fire or the angry ex is on his way.] But, as Father keeps hammering home the point, I have what preppers refer to as MAGs in all of my proposed locations. MAG is an acronym for “Mutual Aid Group.” Apologies for the acronyms, but the military simply loves them. lol. A MAG is, quite simply, a group of people who, ahead of any catastrophe, agree to aid and assist each other in the event the need arises. [Thanks for reinforcing this!] It is not a militia. It is you and some trustworthy (a key point, as has been mentioned earlier by moon1234) neighbors and/or friends who get together and decide not to be caught napping. Do not wait until the effluvia has hit the rotary oscillator to try to get ready. Start now… today.

    It can look overwhelming… but break your personal preps down into small sections. Food. Do not run out and buy boxes of 24 hr rations from the Army-Navy store. If you are not used to them, well, you’ll understand why American soldiers refer to MREs as Meals Refusing to Exit. Stock up on what you already eat. When you go to the shop, by extra each time. Over the course of a couple of months of buying extra, you can have a month or two of the foods you normally eat in your pantry. Rotate through the food, always preparing the oldest… this way, you don’t have cans of food moldering in the back of the cupboard. Your stomach (and those of your family) will appreciate your forethought. As an afterthought (and from personal experience) stocking a supply of soft toilet roll is also very important.

    Civil disturbance, or financial difficulties, are high on most preppers’ radar at the moment. Having a supply of ready cash at home, enough for a couple of weeks normal expenses, could alleviate a huge problem. I don’t know about you, but my employer is not going to care if nukes are falling from the sky, I am still going to have to report to work. If banks are closed, how will you buy petrol for your car? If you don’t have a car, and depend on trains/buses, how will you get to work? How will you pay the rent? These are things to plan for ahead of time. Also… should the economy have a major hiccup ( such as Argentina about 10 years ago) it would be prudent to have some items laid by for barter purposes. Without knowing your particulars, or where you live, I can say with some surety that cigarettes and alcohol are always excellent barter items. Two or three cartons of smokes and several little airline bottles of booze might very well allow you to trade for goods if the currency devalues itself through runaway inflation. Don’t say it cannot happen. Ask any Argentinians who survived their crash… ask about how an item you picked up in the back of the store doubles in price before you reach the checkout. [And even if we are not talking about total wide-spread societal disaster, watch what happens at a grocery store when there is a hurricane on the way.]

    Having the ability to store water, and also to purify it, is even more important than food. As I said, a minimum of 1 gallon per person, per day is what is required. A good water filter, such as a Katadyn (what I personally stock at home and carry in my bags) and some extra filters make it very easy. However, using sand and charcoal, you can make your own filter at a fraction of the cost. But learn how to do this beforehand. I know that wmeyer hates the phrase, “There’s no time to think, only to act.” However, when the crisis hits, it is correct. That is why you prepare and worry ahead of time, so that when the crisis does rear its head, you don’t have to think about how to deal with it… you are prepared.

    Yes… I have been prepping since the mid 90s. Yes… I have been called many names. Yes… I believe in God’s providence for His children. Yes… I believe that it is my duty as a husband, a father, and a Christian to prepare for bad times. Yes, we all include faith related items in our bags, such as rosaries we make from 550 cord (no rattling and nearly impossible to destroy). Yes… we prepare to assist those who lack the foresight to prepare themselves; it is NOT our role to act as their judge in a crisis. Yes… we work with our friends and neighbors to prepare for what may come. Prepping is not something you do once and then forget about it until trouble comes… it is a lifestyle, one which I believe is advocated by Scripture and by Holy Mother Church. We cannot help others if we need help ourselves. Like the motto of Search and Rescue teams… you ain’t part of the solution if you’re part of the problem.

    Which brings us to the principle of OPSEC… or operational security. I have spoken at length about prepping here, but have revealed very, very little of my actual preps and plans. This is important. Yes, we prepare so that we may help those who need it, but as has been stated, there are those who will have no compunction about taking your preps for their own use, leaving you with nothing. Everyone must make their own decision about how to deal with situations like this, but the first step is to simply keep your mouth shut. Unless someone has a need to know, don’t tell them. That person might never think of killing you for food, but someone they innocently talk with may remember your name after a disaster and think you are a source of supplies. Is it paranoia? I don’t believe it is… I call it prudence. And isn’t that one of the Four Cardinal Virtues?

    Sorry for the long winded ramble. It is refreshing to see so many people interested in the topic and who do not pooh-pooh it as paranoid delusion. And to reiterate Fr Z’s advice: part of prepping is to ensure that your soul is also ready for whatever happens. Go to confession often, and avail yourself of that Grace. Knowing that your soul is taken care of is one less thing to have to deal with. But like prepping in general… make it a part of your lifestyle. God bless and stay safe!

  29. Manhattan Trid says:

    I was born, raised and still live on a small narrow island with way too many people that also happens to be the number one terrorist target in the world. At least we are blessed with many devoted clergy and beautiful churches. [And yet even you can have a bag ready with some basics in case you need to get out of your building quickly. Even scans of basic documents on a USB drive, some cash, change of socks, meds, etc….]

  30. Brian K says:

    Check out the Biolite camp stoves.

    “By converting heat from the fire into usable electricity, our stoves will recharge your phones, lights and other gadgets while you cook dinner. Unlike solar, BioLite CampStove is a true on-demand source. “

    They are relatively small and light, extremely clean burning, and have a built in USB charger.

  31. MAJ Tony says:

    Ironically, I’m probably the least prepared at the moment. I suppose it’s due to my being deployed 3 times into Iraq and Afghanistan. Speaking of stocking food, when I was in Iraq, we had enough food supplies on hand for a certain length of time in case the Mosul dam burst. Sadly, the MREs were kept in ISO containers (20 ft conexes) that were left in the heat for a few years. I was beside myself when I discovered this fact. The food wouldn’t necessarily be unsafe, as it was UHT processed, therefore germ-free before sealing, but I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t have wanted to eat it (especially stuff with milk in it). The shelf life on MREs is very dependent on storage conditions, and can last a decade if kept cool, but only a few months in the heat.

    On another note, depending on where you’re going, consider carrying a “Go Bag” with you on any travels. [Good idea. Keep a smaller version (or larger!) in the car.] Bigger than a purse, it carries the absolute minimum you would need to survive for a short time if you were separated from your group or vehicle for some reason. We carried a Go Bag with us whenever we went on missions. I kept an MRE, a few bottles of water, VS-17 panel (big orange fabric sheet for aerial marking), and an Escape & Evasion map. We kept IFAKs (improved first aid kit) on our body armor; those were more for initial trauma care (Naso-pharingeal airway, CAT tourniquet, Israeli bandage, needle for thoracotomy for sucking chest wounds). I keep a full-blown civil FAK in my ride.

  32. Andy Lucy says:

    Training. Get training now. Take a CPR/First Aid class. Get your ham radio license [Both on my list of things to do!] (communications during Katrina, during the first several days were limited to ham operators). Check out online FEMA Emergency Management Institute classes ( http://training.fema.gov/IS/ )… some of them are excellent. Practice cooking over an open fire. Start getting your body in shape… nothing extreme… just start walking. [Great suggestion!] Work with your children on developing skills (Boy Scouts is excellent). Learn how to sew and repair clothes. Learn how to maintain your vehicle. [The sewing suggesting is very good. BTW… doesn’t it make sense for people to have some of these basic car skills? Can everyone reading this change a tire? What shape is your spare in right now?]

    Keeping a Go bag is an excellent idea… we keep large INCH bag (I’m never Coming Home bag) in all of our vehicles, and I also stash supplies at the office, in addition to the Go bag I keep in my briefcase. Nothing elaborate, but you would be amazed how good just brushing your teeth, washing your hair and having clean underwear can boost your morale. This came in handy when I was trapped (literally) in my office during the ice storm we had here in 2009. I finally got home after 4 days, but I lived on my preps in the office (and was able to work and allow everyone else to stay safely at home).

    Things happen. All the time. Everything from hurricanes to domestic violence. Being prepared… having that bug-out bag ready to grab and hit the door… can save the lives of you and your loved ones.

  33. Manhattan Trid says:

    I thought I heard this commercial before:
    And I also discovered something else:

    Thanks for making a jaded New Yorker think twice.

  34. Ralph says:


    In an TEOTHAWKI situation, what do we do for the sacraments? Those of us in rual, isolated areas will have difficulty finding a priest. What do we laypeople do when we have no confession or annointing to restore us, no eucharist or mass to sustain us, no baptism, confirmation or marriage to bind us?? [You raise a good point, but it is little outside the scope of the entry. As a priest, I have my own prep to do for Mass. Everyone can say prayers and make spiritual communions. A common point, above, is to make sure you make connections with others. Perhaps it is a good idea to make sure your parish priests are in the loop.]

    I have plans for the physical survival of my family. We can grow and store food. We have access to reliable water and shelter. But I am at a real loss when it comes to how to prepare for the spiritual survival with the absense of a priest? Any ideas? [I think this is a good topic, but for a different entry. Let’s get people focused on having some food and fire and clothing and meds, etc.]

    I talked to my pastor about it, and he said that we will just have to rely on God’s grace and mercy and do the best we can. Call me “overly clerical”, but I am still worried about life without access to a priest. [A good thing to worry about, especially when in Obama’s 4th term they start hunting priests down and “disappearing” them.]

  35. momoften says:

    On that note, how many churches are prepared? How many churches, or church items do you have documented in case of natural disaster? I have done countless purchases and searches for church
    items- and some are quite pricey to replace. I have vowed to make an inventory list for our Parish and a few others through pictures stored on flash drives and a paper list. I think it only prudent.
    Finally, what does each church have in mind or on hand to help during any type of chaos, natural
    or otherwise? Important things to note for your parish.

  36. Joseph-Mary says:

    I do not plan to go anywhere but am at least mentally prepared for some to come to stay with us. I know of refuge places that are ready for many to come and for extended times. But how to avoid the f.e.m.a. camps? And the govt just bought over400 millions rounds of ammo; why?

    I also live near the fires. All can be lost in an instant. I do not have great stores of food but item by item, I have water filter system (live across from a lake), fire starter, some wood, a fireplace, water purification tablets, etc. Am going to get some things for washing clothes and so forth. Our small garden is not doing well and we must combat the many birds for the fruit on our trees.

    There is a lot riding on this election too….

  37. Luis says:

    Living in South Florida we know a thing or two about disasters. Although a bit different than tornados which come upon with less warning, hurricanes are pretty destructive too. Living through these I can say the good Father’s admonition to prepare where ever you are for what ever might reasonably come your way is VERY GOOD advice. I would recommend that anyone who is serious review Alpha Geeks post of several years ago at the Daily Kos. http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/08/25/1010565/-Disaster-Preparedness-Primer-link-h-t-AlphaGeek-Seneca-Doane
    A systematic process is crucial and should include a communication plan. For those who are a little more interested in longer term preparation, check out Tappan on Survival.

  38. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Most diocesan histories in the US will give you info on how things used to be. Generally, if it’s not a persecution situation, it’s the bishop’s job to find out where his priests are and stay in a centralized location most of the time. Priests would go on circuits unless they were in a very big town; if there wasn’t any church or priest, a community would gather together on Sunday in some large area or hall, and just have readings and prayers together. When a priest or the bishop did come, there’d be a lot of Mass and sacraments and a lot of preaching and repenting and missionarying.

    This had its good side. The first Catholic bishop of Cincinnati was often invited out to preach by curious Protestant settlements, who would pay his expenses of days of travel in return for some nice long hours of homilies and discussion. (He was a noted preacher, and good preachers were considered good entertainment back then.) He recalled that many would even keep arguing with him as he started his walk all the way back to Cincy, and then demand to be baptized and become Catholic in the first crick they passed. There were a lot of Ohio Catholics who didn’t start out that way!

    It would be hard; but our great-great-great-grandparents (in the faith, if not in the early-settling flesh) had to deal with this stuff.

  39. Amerikaner says:

    The societal trends seem to indicate hard times for Catholics in the future. Sadly, I think a wave or two of real, violent anti-clericalism is around the corner, most especially in Europe.

    I’ve never been one to cling to conspiracy theories and TEOTWAWKI scenarios. But I’ve been feeling unsettled lately and have started planning to put a good bug-out-bag together. To me, it’s like what I imagine it must have felt like to some people in Europe a year or two before WWII broke out. A nagging sense of foreboding.

  40. LisaP. says:

    Well, you don’t get more TEOTWAWKI than this! Meteorites!


    I’m pretty sure it will hash out that the planes were grounded after distant sightings of space junk burning up, but golly!

  41. Grabski says:

    We have a copy of “Shorter Christian Prayer” for each family member in our kit, plus a couple extra, for common spiritual sustenance.

  42. Cantate says:

    Items for Extreme Unction (in case you meet up with a priest, if death of anyone seems near) will not occupy much space in your bug-out bag: (1) crucifix , (2) two blessed candles –AND matches , (3)a small to medium-sized clean white cloth, (4) six balls of clean white cotton, (5) salt, (6) a clean towel, (7) Holy Water, (8) a cup or glass for drinking water. This list is from Mass and the Sacraments, Book II of A Course in Religion by Father John Laux, M.A.

  43. Charlotte Allen says:

    Disaster preparedness is a good idea. Around where I live, water and electrical power are sometimes interrupted by blizzards and electrical storms, especially in the suburbs. It’s undoubtedly good to have a working flashlight (memo to self: buy new batteries!), a couple gallons of water, some canned goods, a first-aid kit, etc., in the basement. A generator might be a good idea. But I regard bug-out bags in the same way that I regard umbrella insurance policies: really great as long as they’re cheap (in terms of time as well as money). That’s because, although total disasters are extremely devastating and can happen to anyone, the odds of one actually happening to me are extremely low. Just as I’m happy to buy a $200 umbrella policy that gives me $2 million worth of liability protection, I’d be happy to spend $135 on one of those bug-out bags you see for sale on the internet–and then stash it in the basement and forget about it. But nooo–the bug-out diehards insist that those commercial bags are useless, and what you really need is this list of 50 items that you time-consumingly assemble yourself, or maybe it’s 100 items. Is it a bag or a bomb shelter? And if the disaster is that going to be that devastating, why should I put my will in my bug-out bag? At that point who cares who gets my china? There won’t be any china!

    Also, I’m not sure what value a bug-out bag would be to a woman with a psychopathic ex. What–your ex starts making threatening phone calls, so you go live in the woods? What woods? I live near downtown Washington, D.C.! A woman with a nutcase ex needs: [A bug out bag.] 1) a lawyer (so as to get a restraining order and then get the guy arrested if he violates it); and 2) a male relative (if my husband went bonkers, I’d get on a plane for California and move in with my brother–we don’t see eye to eye on most matters, but he’d do what had to be done so I didn’t end up like Nicole Simpson); 3) a new place to live (see #3); and 4) a savings account with some cash in it to pay for the above. Everyone, male and female, should have some savings set aside for a rainy day anyway. That’s just as important as a bug-out bag.

    And about Extreme Unction, those kits are really nice, but if the world got wiped out and I ran into a priest, my top priority would be having him hear my confession. Then and only then would I worry about the last rites. Couldn’t we make a crucifix out of sticks? Use my T-shirt instead of cotton balls? A Coke can for the water? That’s what people did in prison camps, as I recall.

  44. MouseTemplar says:

    Must be Bug Out Bags are trending…we just started our bags as well. But we’re mainly making plans on how we all get out in case of a fire or staying in for 3 weeks in case of tornadoes, the most common disasters in our area.

    If it turns out that TEOTWAWKI has arrived–well we are 1 diabetic, a heart case, and a toddler and pretty soon, we will die. As Moriarty said to Sherlock in The Great Game: “That’s what people DO”.

  45. LisaP. says:

    This is Colorado Springs right now.


    It is unbelievable. The fire has been going for five days, the crews have been terrific about pre-emptive evacuations and warnings, but suddenly last night it jumped two fire lines they didn’t think it could jump and there were traffic jams with people trying to get out of that part of the city. You can only be so ready for something like this, but it’s a good idea to try to be at least that ready. Some of these people had no time at all, no one thought something like this was going to happen.

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