“Blessed are the PACE makers.” Make A Plan for Family Communications:

Disasters always happen to other people, until they happen to you.

When crunch time comes, comms are important.

You need… stop and read that again… YOU NEED a plan. A PACE Plan, or Primary, Alternate, Contingency, and Emergency Plan.

I warmly recommend considering reviewing how well you can stay in touch with people if your primary means of communication are down (e.g., mobile, cellphone).

This is a good introductory video for basic means apart from your phone.  Moms might like to see this.

Click me!

I like the observation about giving a hand-held radio to, perhaps, elderly people in the neighborhood who might need help when comms or power is down, for example, letting you know that they need help to keep insulin cold because you have a generator.

Small tips about kids, etc.  It’s not long and it has some good ideas.

All of you, think about getting that first level Ham Radio license!

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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

    All good advice which I endorse. BUT . . .

    If the electric grid is down, you will need an emergency generator and fuel for it in order to operate your radios and phones and recharge batteries. Or, you can back-up that with solar but you need sunlight. Of course, you can use your vehicles power system but again you need fuel. And the gas pumps don’t work without electricity. And you can’t recharge your EV without electricity! Go figure.

    So pray. A lot.


  2. Thomas says:

    Stay charged up and confessed.

  3. prayfatima says:

    I watched the video and it’s a bit overwhelming. How much can we really prepare and how do we know what we’re preparing for? I don’t want to live in fear of a disaster coming. God knows what is coming. Prayer seems like the single best thing. Just pray often that God protect and provide for you and your loved ones all that they will ever need. Pray that disaster doesn’t strike, or if it does, that God gets you through it with minimal damage. It sounds so simple but isn’t that really the best thing to do and teach your kids to do? God can do anything and He is with you all the time. Really let that truth sink in. God almighty is on call. Also pray daily to your guardian Angel. No electricity, gas or devices needed. I’m just not big on the whole preparation thing. We prepare some, but it can really be taken kind of too far, in my opinion. Where does trust in God fit in with so much preparing for disaster type stuff? Seems a little contradictory. Here’s what I want to prepare for: Heaven!!!!

  4. You Can Call Me Betty says:

    I came across this little anxiety-reducer listening to an old AudioSancto sermon: “Lord, let me die as it pleases You. Only let me obtain eternal life.”

    Kind of puts the right spin on things, I think. Gets the focus back on what I actually do have some control over in this life, and leaving the rest to God. (haha, “stay charged up and confessed.” I might just put that on the refrigerator!!)

    I don’t like where I live right now and wish we could move (long, boring story), but I do like the idea of checking in on neighbors, and trying to position myself so that when I do I might actually be of assistance. I don’t really see myself as a ham radio operator, but who knows? My husband might actually think it’s a cool idea. Thanks for the info.

  5. JonPatrick says:

    I think less of preparing for TEOTWAWKI (at least in physical rather than spiritual terms) and more for shorter term disasters. Since I moved to New England in 2001, there have been 2 occasions where the power has gone out for multiple days, the longest being an ice storm in 2008 where we were out for 4 days. Having a reliable alternative power source or at least some source of heat and the ability to get water e.g. if you have a well which needs electricity for the well pump. In the 2008 outage I remember getting gasoline was a problem as all the stations had no power. I was lucky my in-laws had some spare gas to keep the generator going. Keeping gasoline stored is a problem as modern gas has a short shelf life. We currently have a propane powered generator which solves that problem although it means you are dependent on deliveries. With generators you also have the problem that most modern appliances have electronics that are more sensitive and need clean power. A more modern type of generator that uses inverters to deliver clean power is recommended for most applications.


  6. acardnal says:

    YouCanCallMeBetty: Audio Sancto. Wow! I used to go there all the time to listen to Christian material. Is it still active???

  7. You Can Call Me Betty says:

    acardnal: What a find that site was, huh? I don’t even remember how I originally came across it.

    I recently did a search on the “wayback machine” (I think I searched on the year 2014, but the link you’ll find goes back to 2007 or so). With a little persistence, I also found a site called Veritas Caritas that seems to have archived the sermons as well, though I haven’t poked around there to see if it’s complete. Very profitably listened to a homily from AudioSancto every morning one Lent, and I was sorry when it shut down.

  8. As an Eagle Scout, I prefer to be prepared. That includes keeping some things (lights, radios, etc) on when everything goes out.

    Back when I was a boy, I had an interest in being a HAM operator. In fact, another kid in my Scout Patrol got his license. It never worked out for me then, but it’s on my bucket list for post-retirement. Because when the zombie apocalypse (or reasonable facsimile) hits, it never hurts to be the guy on point.

    After all, HAM radio is the original social media venue, n’est çe pas?

  9. Semper Gumby says:

    acardnal: Good point about power. Batteries and a solar panel recharger are helpful.

    Here’s a review from Jim Rawles’ site of three hand-cranked radios (receivers). Inexpensive, and if I recall, 1 minute of cranking produces 25 minutes of monitoring.


    Transmitters can also be powered via hand- or bike-cranking (see YouTube for WW II hand-cranked radios and generators).

    And an interesting note about vacuum tube radios:


  10. Semper Gumby says:

    prayfatima: “I watched the video and it’s a bit overwhelming.”

    Sure, that’s a natural reaction. Basically, that video is about communications if and when some sort of misfortune occurs in the future. Reflecting on that a bit then planning ahead a little can reduce stress and anxiety in the future, if a seriously rainy day happens (such as a hurricane or ice storm where the power might be off for one or two weeks).

    “How much can we really prepare and how do we know what we’re preparing for?”

    Two great questions. In the Bible we read about the Ten Bridesmaids. Five bridesmaids brought a little extra oil for their lamps, five others brought the bare minimum. The bridegroom was delayed, and the five who brought the bare minimum ran out of oil.

    No one can prepare for everything, but we can make a bit of effort.

    If a hurricane or ice storm hits power could be out for a week or two. One idea is to put a few extra supplies in a closet or the basement, such as a few gallons of water, some cans of food (and a can opener), a first aid kit (prevent a minor cut from turning infected), and a flashlight (with a few extra batteries).

    It’s roughly comparable to stocking up a bit before relatives or friends visit, the difference is prepping involves basics such as water and canned food.

    “Where does trust in God fit in with so much preparing for disaster type stuff? Seems a little contradictory. Here’s what I want to prepare for: Heaven!!!!”


    One reason for “prepping” is to ease the demand on limited disaster relief supplies. The active duty and reserve military, the National Guard and Red Cross, have only so many trucks, helicopters and “water buffalos” (a 400-600 gallon tank towed behind a truck, also known as a “water bull”). As you can imagine, that water has to be purified (“ROWPU” or reverse-osmosis water purification unit), and it requires personnel and fuel to establish a ROWPU site, man and guard it, then transport and distribute the clean water in the disaster area.

    If most people in a city, or neighborhood, or town stored just 5 gallons of water and a week or two of simple food (cans, packets of tuna, boxes of crackers) and monitored regularly an inexpensive hand-cranked radio, then recovery would be accompanied by less mayhem.

    Prepping is bringing a little extra oil to the wedding feast. God bless.

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  12. Semper Gumby says:

    Storing insulin during grid-down is a tough one. There are various possibilities of varying quality (unfortunately more of a temporary than long-term solution particularly given availability of insulin): the Einstein-Szilard refrigerator (no moving parts, requires something like ammonia), Adam Grosser’s TED Talk idea, Sure Chill, and in North Africa the Long Range Desert Group had a small paraffin refrigerator for the medical officer’s vaccines.

  13. Semper Gumby says:

    The LRDG paraffin refrigerator was mentioned, one sentence only if I recall, in William Kennedy-Shaw’s memoirs. Something about Kufra Oasis, “small” refrigerator (obviously more efficient small and in the shade), and “vaccines.” My guess is that it would be silly to not inoculate British LRDG soldiers until they arrived behind Axis lines at Kufra- they were probably inoculated in England or Cairo. The vaccines, just my guess, someone should check the war archives, were for the local Arabs (perhaps the Senussi tribe, British foes in WW I, British allies during WW II) and their families assisting the LRDG with E&E.

    This is all probably a dead end, but: consider that Kufra Oasis is at least five hundred miles from Cairo and was far behind Axis lines. And, to say the least, it was hot. The LRDG overland supply runs were sparse (and they didn’t have a plane until I think 1942 when Bagnold and Prendergast bought two biplanes from some flying club in Cairo). So, perhaps LRDG tinkered with their paraffin refrigerator and found a way to make the box more efficient (maybe it was only wet cloth evaporation to aid a bit in cooling) or the fuel itself more efficient. It’s a long shot, very long shot, but check the archives.

    By the way, the ham radio video is from Fieldcraft Survival. They had a video a couple months ago of Mike Glover helping a young lady with her first gun purchase. Mike Glover (Old Guard, SF, CAG) was interviewed by Jocko last week, haven’t had time to listen but I heard it’s a good interview.

  14. prayfatima says:

    Semper Gumby, thank you. There is wisdom in preparing for basic necessities. I will look into getting some things you mentioned. God bless.

  15. RichR says:

    So are we ever going to attempt an HF ragchew?


  16. Semper Gumby says:

    prayfatima: You’re welcome, God bless.

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