When Things Go Boom it is Too Late to Prepare

Avatar Gaye Levy  |  Updated: December 16, 2020
When Things Go Boom it is Too Late to Prepare

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things go boomThe unenlightened often ask why I spend so much time, effort and money prepping.  After all, being an optimist, I like to think the best and of course, nothing bad will ever happen to me.  Yeah right.  Like I won’t get a horrible toothache requiring self-treatment in the middle of my vacation (this really happened).

Having been stung in the past by my own naive ignorance of what could happen, a few years back I said “no more” and went on a mission to be prepared for all of the annoying and disruptive side-steps in life.  Along the way I have a learned a thing or two with the primary lesson being that if the SHTF, it will be too late to prepare.

Now I assume that since you are reading this article you already know that.  I also know that you are probably not an extremist but rather a practical and, dare I say ordinary, sort who would rather blend into the woodwork as you quietly prepare for some unknown event and in an unknown future.

Assumptions not withstanding, that is how I like to think of myself and trust me, I am very ordinary.

What to Do Before Things Go Boom

I was recently contacted by Brian Howard, the author of the book “When Things Go Boom!” and asked if I would like to review a copy on Backdoor Survival.  He told me the book’s subtitle was “A Highly Practical (NO FLUFF!) Guide To What You Can Do Now To Prepare For The Coming Chaos: Techniques, Tips and Supply Checklists.”

Since I am always in search of new prepping tips and strategies, I said sure, along with the usual caveat that any review I write will be honest and not a whitewash for sales sake.

So what did I think?  Well first and foremost, this is a book for people who are looking for straightforward facts, basic techniques, a list of tips and do-it-now checklists.  What it is not is a book of gorgeous photos or lengthy dialogues on performing any esoteric and exotic skills.  Instead, it gives you the basics in a clear and simple manner that is written as though Brian were sitting across from you on the living room couch.

But when I say clear and simple, do not be put off.  Some of his tips were new to me.  For example, he suggests that you include a manual pencil sharpener in your bug out bag so that you can create wood shavings from twigs.  These shavings can them be used when starting a fire.  Now how neat is that?  Another neat tip has to do with making handcuffs out of zip ties (for subduing a bad guy you have clobbered with a baton or baseball bat).  These are just two of the many useful tips.

Now to be honest, there were a couple of tips I will choose to ignore such as eating raw worms for protein.  Ugh!

The book is organized into seven chapters:

  • Personal Defense/Safety
  • Water/Filtration
  • Food/Nutrition
  • Shelter/Habitat
  • Medical/First aid
  • Communications/Navigation/Signaling
  • General

Each chapter begins with a description of why the topic is important as well as key techniques and concerns relative to the topic.  When it comes to gear and supplies, Brian names names in terms of the brands he has tested.  He even goes so far to recommend some specific models that he has personally used and tested.   Plus, at the end of each chapter he lists Tips, Do Now items and a Checklist of gear and supplies to add to your shopping list. And finally, at the end of the book, there is a section listing the websites of all of the vendors mentioned – a real timesaver when you want to do your own research.

wilderness camp

My favorite chapter was the section on Shelter and Habitat.  His discussion of creating a safe, outdoor shelter suggested some unique approaches to protect yourself when getting out of dodge as was his discussion of basic perimeter security.  Setting up a trip line of bells and cans – now why had I not thought of that?

The Final Word

When Things Go Boom! is great for beginners but even old pros will pick up a tip or two.  If you, or someone you know, is struggling getting started and would like to have everything laid out in a simple and practical check list format, this is a great book to get you going.  I think it would be especially useful for an experienced prepper to read and pass on to someone needing that extra little push toward self-reliance in an emergency.

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!


. . . Your comments welcome here and at The Buzz.

Spotlight Item: When Things Go Boom! Have you ever thought, “I want to get prepared, but I don’t know how to start or what supplies to get”, or even, “I don’t have the time to do all the research, and I wish someone could help me”? If so, then this book is for you.

Bargain Bin: Here is a convenient list of some the books that I personally own and recommended in every Survival Library.

Clara’s Kitchen: Wisdom, Memories, and Recipes from the Great Depression: If you don’t know about Clara, be sure to read Depression Cooking: A Visit to Clara’s Kitchen.

Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day: The Discovery That Revolutionizes Home Baking: At an average cost of 50 cents a loaf, this bread is easy, delicious and inexpensive to make.

Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day: 100 New Recipes Featuring Whole Grains, Fruits, Vegetables, and Gluten-Free Ingredients: Ditto.

How to Live on Wheat: Everything you need to know about wheat.

Holding Your Ground: Preparing for Defense if it All Falls Apart: An instructional guide and planning tool that addresses defensive preparation of a location. If the government can no longer protect your home, farm or property, Holding Your Ground will teach you how.

The Prepper’s Pocket Guide: 101 Easy Things You Can Do to Ready Your Home for a Disaster: Written by Bernie Carr at the Apartment Prepper blog, this is highly readable guide to all things preparedness.

2010 American Heart Association Guidelines for CPR and ECC: This is free so you have no excuses. Be sure to download and print out a copy.

How to Grow More Vegetables: Decades before the terms “eco-friendly” and “sustainable growing” entered the vernacular, How to Grow More Vegetables demonstrated that small-scale, high-yield, all-organic gardening methods could yield bountiful crops over multiple growing cycles using minimal resources in a suburban environment. This is the bible.

All New Square Foot Gardening: This book will prove that you can grow a significant bounty in limited space. Just add seeds.

Desk Ref: This hand book includes 1280 pages of tables, maps, formulas, constants and conversions and will serve you will in an off-grid situation.

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4 Responses to “When Things Go Boom it is Too Late to Prepare”

  1. I think this is an apt title….I have had a person say to me, “I will deal with it when it happens.” When I reply, “well, then you will be in the same boat as all those other people who didn’t prepare.” Then, the reply is, “well, I will just deal with it, and I can survive on rice and beans if I have to, and camp out.” Of course, most people would stop right there and end the discussion, but since it is my husband I am talking to, I have to become quite creative. ‘Okay, I say, do you realize what you are saying?’ Let’s use our imagination: stores sell out in 3 hours; escape roads heavily blocked with traffic OR military road blocks so you can’t go; we are separated, with no plan or place to meet up; cell phones don’t work, electricity is down, water purification is down within 3 days in the city and so are the sewage treatment plants, and did I mention, there is NO food and no food coming in for days, not to mention not a lot of law and order on our street or in our city, and no gas at the pumps?” Well, this, after causing his eyes to bulge as this information is very hard to digest even for open minded hard working person with an imagination….then we sit down and start to formulate a plan…hoping all along we will never need it, but realizing as we see the signs around us, that wishful thinking is not gonna see us through this without a plan.

    • I am very blessed to have a supportive husband who has jumped on the prepping bandwagon with both feet and then some. Living in a remote, rural community means that we are far far away from the chaos that may occur in the cities (check out Seattle yesterday).

      My biggest worry is some sort of nucleaapocalypsese that we can not recover from.


  2. I’ll have to try including twig shavings from a pencil sharpener when I start my next campfire fire. I would think that this is too much effort for a few small shavings but you never know until you try!

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