When Things Go Boom It Is Too Late To Prepare

Gaye Levy, Contributor

The 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 then 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.

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 checklist 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.

At $4.99 for the Kindle version and $12 for the paperback, the book is priced for just about everyone’s budget.

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!

Read other articles by Gaye Levy here.

Gaye Levy, the SurvivalWoman, grew up and attended school in the Greater Seattle area. After spending many years as an executive in the software industry, she started a specialized accounting practice offering contract CFO work to emerging high tech and service industries. She has now abandoned city life and moved to a serenely beautiful rural area on an island in NW Washington State. She lives and teaches the principles of a sustainable, self-reliant and stylish lifestyle through emergency preparation and disaster planning through her website at BackdoorSurvival.com. SurvivalWoman speaks her mind and delivers her message with optimism and grace, regardless of mayhem swirling around us.  Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!

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