God is in the details

This is a guest post and entry in our non-fiction writing contest  by Mike B

The idiom ‘God is in the details’ expresses the idea that whatever one does should be done thoroughly; i.e.-details are important. This is especially true for preppers. While I prefer to hope for the best, I also prepare for the worst. And when I mean worst, I mean the absolute WORST CASE SCENARIOS. Down to the very last detail.

One of the biggest mistakes I made in the beginning of prepping was thinking in terms of generalities. Like “I’ll be fine if (fill in the blank catastrophe) happens because I have food, water, security (and all of the other things we have stored and gathered for when TSHTF)” in our home. What I didn’t think of was the details…MINUTE details. I was ignorant of this. So I decided to write this message in the hopes that it may help someone who is new or may not have thought about “the details”.

No matter what you are preparing for, whether it’s a massive solar flare that knocks out the entire grid all over the world, a huge EMP, a nuclear war, economic collapse that makes the Great Depression look like Disney World, floods, earthquakes, volcanoes, whatever the case may be, we all have something in common and that is we are preparing for something catastrophic.

So let’s say it’s 7:00 pm and you and your family have just finished eating dinner in the comfort of your home and in an instant, what we have all dreaded (but have prepared for) happens. But no big deal, right? We have prepared for this, right? Maybe. Hopefully. But let’s not fool ourselves into thinking that when TSHTF, it’s going to happen at a time when it’s convenient for us. That’s what I let myself mistakenly and shortsightedly believe in the beginning. OR that we would have ‘x’ amount of time to do what we had to do for last-minute preps.

Now let’s say it doesn’t happen at a time of our convenience. Let’s use my plan for an example. I plan on bugging in and have prepared to do so. But what if TSHTF at 10:00 am on a weekday instead? Well, for me, this changes EVERYTHING. If something happened in an instant that caused widespread panic and chaos during this time, my plans change drastically. And accordingly, I have adjusted and planned for this in “detail”.

Instead of being in the comfort of my home, my wife would be at work and my son at school. I have NOW made plans for this. We have agreed that acquiring our son and getting him home is the most important and most sensible thing for me to do on my part. I don’t work and his school is only four blocks away. My son knows if something were to happen he is to remain at school until I arrived to take him home. I feel he would be safer to wait at school for me to come get him than trying to wander home amidst crazy lunatics.

Of course, even only four blocks away, you never know what can happen so I would be bringing with me my handgun and a small BOB. Anything can happen, even just four blocks away. I’m not going to make the mistake that everything will go well in that short distance. Better to be safe than sorry—“details”. At the same time, my dogs would be at home while I was gone and if anyone tried getting in…well, I feel sorry for them.

At 10:00 am, my wife would be at work and if she was not able to drive home from work (say an EMP hit and the car doesn’t work or for any reason for that matter), I have put a spare bike in the trunk of her car, with a small BOB with just enough supplies to get her home. I don’t want her bag to be too heavy and slowing her down (speed is of the essence since we are bugging in). Her work place is approximately two miles from the start of a bypass that ends about a mile from our home and that very few people use.

This bypass would get her home very fast and would be the safest route. If she is accosted by anyone on her way home, I have included a few “repellants” in her BOB to ward off anyone foolish enough to come near her. But again, “details”. If she was overrun by a mob before she could get to the bypass, and they took everything she had, she would still use the same route, but by foot. This is dangerous, but her best option left. If this route became absolutely compromised, she would then take an alternate route to my mother’s home which is a detour off of the bypass.

It would probably be close to sundown by the time she arrived there, so I have stored extra bikes at my mother’s home for her and my wife to ride to our home from there the following day just before sunrise. And I have stored another BOB there as well. Again, “details”. Everything down to the minute detail. I’m planning for the worst case scenario.

Some of you are planning on bugging out because you have thought about it and came to the conclusion that it would be the best course of action for you. But what if you can’t bug out? What if your home or apartment building suddenly is surrounded by mobs of people and you can’t get out? Or worse yet, you are at work, which is hours and miles from your home, and you can’t get get to your BOB and head for the hills? Do you have a friend who lives nearby that you could stay with until things settled down?

Do you have a building cased out ahead of time near your work that you could bunker down in for a little while that most people wouldn’t? What if you ARE at home and on your way out the door, several people jump you and take everything you have. What now? Have you planned for this? Do you have another BOB at another location to help you survive, or have another plan for this situation? DON’T assume that everything is going to go exactly how you hope it will….because it may not. And if not, then what are you going to do?

Don’t just assume that everything you have planned will go accordingly so. If you think this way, and something happens to disrupt or deter your plans, you will be in bad shape. I can’t stress that enough. Don’t just make plan “A”. Make plan “B”, “C”and on and on. A LOT can happen in minutes or just a few blocks. PLAN what you are going to do, but with several alternates just in case.

“God is in the details”. Plan accordingly.

This is an entry in our non-fiction writing contest where you could win:

First Prize) Winner will receive a Nomad – 1 Person Standard Survival Package courtesy of Shepherd Survival Supply, a One Month Food Pack courtesy of Augason Farms, a $150 gift certificate for Remington Ammo courtesy of LuckyGunner.com and a EcoZoom’s Versa Stove courtesy of EcoZoom stoves. A total prize value of over $875.

Second Prize) Winner will receive two (2) Rothco Sure Paks With Heater courtesy of Camping Survival, a Wise Food Vegetable bucket courtesy of LPC Survival and a Wonder Junior hand grain mill courtesy of Kitchen Kneads. A total prize value of over $509.

Third Prize) Winner will receive 3 – 27 Variety of Non Hybrid, Heirloom Non GMO Survival Seeds, 2 – Fruit Pack of Non Hybrid, Heirloom Non GMO Survival Seeds and 2- First Aid Kit with Sutures in a Waterproof Resealable Bag courtesy of Be Prepared Now. A total prize value of over $215.

Contest ends on March 30 2012.

About M.D. Creekmore

M.D. Creekmore is the owner and editor of TheSurvivalistBlog.net. He is the author of four prepper related books and is regarded as one of the nations top survival and emergency preparedness experts. Read more about him here.


  1. I feel that most of the scenarios that we will come up with, there should be some time between the even and a breakdown of society. My wife works 1+ miles from home. Based upon the last few weeks discussions, she and I will be putting together a GHB for her with just the basics (good walking shoes, water, quick food, and her backup weapon).
    There are times where she will be at another office that is a bit farther, but still within an hour to 1.5 hours walk.
    A lot of the reason I feel we will have more time is the size of town we live in. I feel there will be issues when our “government dependent” people are no longer able to get the services they feel they are entitled to, but that will take at least a day or two (in my opinion – because the government will BS them for a while).
    Based upon these assumptions, we have a good plan in place. My daughter and grandsons situation is a bit different and we are working on that.

  2. Love this article….certainly awakened me to some details I need to take care of…….

  3. PrepperRN says:

    Excellent. Thank you for bringing up some thoughts that many of us are thinking of.
    Praying for our nation.

  4. Great article. We all need to review our plans and take an in depth look at the details. I have a plan B but haven’t gone the distance to establishing a plan C. Thanks!

  5. Very good article , thank you .

  6. I have thought about a lot of the issues you brought up in the article. It has caused me to take action on SOME of them. I choose not to act on all of them for a reason. My goal is to be prepared for most events, not all. My theory is that 90% of incidents can be prepared for with just a little effort. The other 10% will take an enormous amount of time and resources. Even then we can never be 100% prepared for everything. At some point we have to trust in God to provide for us knowing that we’ve done the best we can. I do have a get home bag and a plan but I’m not about to start stashing bikes and additional bags every mile along the route “just in case”. I’m comfortable being a 90%er.

  7. Bandurasbox says:

    Excellent article. One of the best so far. Very thought provoking and helped me consider alternative situations such as “what if I am at work when the shtf?” This is 12 miles from home and 14 miles from my son’s school. Although we do plan to bug in, I will be placing BOB’s in my vehicles this weekend. Thanks Mike B.

  8. If something happens while I am at work is to me the most scariest. Why is that one might ask? There have been times during a plain 5 o’clock rush to just leave work that getting out of my 5 level parking garage can take forever. Just think how it would be if you had to leave your perfectly running BOV with most of your BO supplies behind because the sheeplez are “Baaaaah, Baaaaah” in their cars as they clog up the only exits because getting on to the main road is backed up as well with sheeplez who hold up traffic because of a little finder-binder. The world is burning around us, but wait… I need to get your insurance information first. OR… we need to wait for the police to have an accident report filed.

    • LOL. Your reply about “the sheeplez are “Baaaaah, Baaaaah” in their cars” made me laugh really hard, but it’s true. When TSHTF, there’s going to be 2 different types of people (besides us). The first type will still act as though everything is hunky dory and wait for the government to keep them safe, fed and taken care of (good luck). The second type will panic, instill fear and resort to barbarism and cause chaos. They will pillage and take advantage of the first type before the gov. will even have a chance to help, which I doubt they even will (just my opinion). The second type will then move on and try to take our stuff. If we prepare well, which I believe we all are, they will be in for a rude awakening. After that, they will start to attack each other.

  9. Great article, between this article, the one from Ron and MD’s new book I’m really going into prep overdrive. Not on the purchasing of equipment but putting my brain to work on thinking of the most practical ways to handle tasks that go from mundane to monumental once the thin veneer of civilization is peeled back. I think for the majority of us with children getting them to our location will be paramount. This also plays into the strength in numbers suit because we are friends with some of the other parents in our neighborhood. We know the ones who are always involved at school and show up to events. They will make great allies when the other shoe drops. Won’t be long now since TDL is making promises for after this sham of an election.
    Deo duce, ferro comitante

    • “While I breathe, I trust the cross, with God as my leader and my sword as my companion”—love that!

  10. Anonymous says:

    not convinced who is in the details (God or the devil) but It does make you think. My contract just ended about 8 months prior to what I thought it woukd be ( lost headcount and three of us had three days warning) = I had a drawer in my lab that wasdedicated and then a locker down in the shower room – both my vehicles have secondary transport within and GHB’s (one has a mini bike and the other a motorized skateboard) – always thinks of contigences at least three for allthings is a good rule of thumb

    just sayin…

  11. SurvivorDan says:

    I too have a plan B. But not a plan C. Over confident in my ability to overcome most tangos and snafus. The reality is that all of us are vulnerable to attack and situational snafus we didn’t anticipate. Mrs. SurvivorDan (though a formidable woman) may get overwhelmed and robbed by desperate folks. May have her vehicle jacked etc. We allowed for such but what if on foot she is robbed of whatever she still has? Do we have plans for her to make for the nearest friends house.? No. Have caches at various places? Only one. Is that enough? Clearly no. Any of the ex-grunts know that the best laid battle plans are only good until the first shot is fired and then often goes to sh*t. Have to re-think our plans. Thanks Mike B

    • You’re welcome. And that’s why M.D. has this blog, so we can all help each other to prepare better and better. Thanks everyone for the kind words

  12. Great and thoughtful article. Thank you for making us aware of more things to consider as we plan. Other people will be of great consideration. We need to plan on handling panic of others less prepared and that danger of frightened, paniced people. “THE MOB”
    This is the “WILD CARD” in all or prep plans.

  13. charlie (NC) says:

    Your idea of having a spare bike in the trunk of the car is a good one and it made me think of something some might not be aware of. Folks who live aboard sail boats have to make careful use of their storage space and many of them need bikes to travel around when they get into a new port. There are bicycles made just for this purpose. They have relatively small wheels and they fold up into a package about 2′ x 3′ x 6″ or so thick (if I remember correctly from my sailing days). They aren’t cheap compared to regular big box store bicycles but they are pretty good quality and if storage space is an issue for you it might be a good choice. You’ll find them if you seach online for folding bike.

  14. charlie (NC) says:

    Folks don’t forget that it is illegal in almost all jurisdictions to take a firearm onto school property. I know they don’t often search but if the shtf they will. Also, once Martial Law is declaired it is illegal to take a firearm outside of your home. Will I be carrying?…….. Most likely but I’ll be aware of the risk.

    • When TSHTF, martial law be darned. Especially if it’s something really, REALLY bad and things are going pear shape exponentially. There will be chaos and not even martial law will keep things from running amok. I’ll take my chances of carrying

  15. charlie (NC) says:

    I just recieved this video link via e-mail. I can’t verify it although I suspect it is at least mostly correct. Please watch it and let’s have a discussion about how this changes your prepping plans.

    • Encourager says:

      Weird, got 3/4 of the way through the video and it froze up. Waited a good 5 minutes and still frozen. Does somebody NOT want us to see this? From what it said up to that point, I sure hope somebody sent this to the Supreme Court to watch! The HHS can access ALL our bank accounts?! AND you are limited to $5000 per year? Good grief! A minor surgery costs more than that. It also stated there will be ‘end of life’ decisions??? Euthanasia anyone?

  16. One important aspect that I have not read in this article – which shows thorough planning and is not overly complex – and in all other articles on planning for the ‘big day’ is that you have not put your plan in to action. As most veterans of this current war have known, our plans are concepts of operations (CONOPS) until we put them to use to see if the plan is truly viable. It would be interesting to see if your time estimates for getting from your home to school and back, on foot, match reality. Especially your wife’s route, being further away.
    As Survivor Dan said, our plans are only good until the first time they are put to use (I paraphrased). I have put my plan to the test and found my time projections were off by a factor of two (twice as long as estimated). Then I put my back up plans in place and found that if at any point along my route for work to home I had to deviate to alternate routes, I was in for a long haul. And I am ten miles from my office. My Get Home Bag was not fit for getting home within 24 hours. I have been awakened by putting my plans to the test and have discovered that preparation is far easier than execution. Thank you for the article and raising this issue.

    • “As Survivor Dan said, our plans are only good until the first time they are put to use (I paraphrased)”. Yes, this is very important. Don’t just plan, but execute it beforehand to see how it plays out, time wise and effectively.

      • SurvivorDan says:

        BigMex and Storm: Spot on. Trial runs people. This week and not the next. Soon anyway. Mea culpa.

  17. This is an excellant article, bringing up a great point. I work with battery backup systems (UPSes) and therefore am generally 2-2.5 hours/100-150 miles from home most days. I carry a well supplied BHB, and I have been a self-described survivalist as long as I can remember. I have been prepping for years, but just recently got the wife to be involved. This happened when the local grocery store announced they were closing, now Kmart in town is closing. Now, I can hardly hold her back! We have been buying up stuff as these stores close, taking advantage of the discounts. It dawned on me yesturday that if we had to bug out, it would take forever. Most of the stuff we have bought, is still in the shopping bags. But, with no organization, we don’t know what we have. I have a spreadsheet of food stores and previous equipment, but had not updated it to include the new stuff. Thanks for pointing out that I need to pay attention to the details, it is easy to get sidetracked with other obligations.

  18. My motto is “prepare for the unexpected.” I think if shtf, there’s a good chance it won’t be exactly what I expected, so I better be prepared for anything, including a few days stay at where ever I am at the time.

  19. Donna H says:

    If a gang steals your provisions and plan A or B fails, this is why people should learn plan C—survive with your wits. Learn about primitive survival, what in nature can keep you warm, give you shelter, make you tools, weapons, how to forage for food in any climate, and how to make transportation from discarded junk. Some of it you improvise for the situations you face, but you must have trouble shooting ideas ready to go.

  20. SurvivorDan says:

    I agree Donna. Wilderness survival skills will serve you well when the SHTF and all goes to Hell. The ultimate back-up.

  21. five blue eyes says:

    What happens if tshtf is an earthquake and your supplies are under your house? Have you thought about how you will survive then do you have a cache or do you plan to dig your supplies out? Will you be able to salvage anything? Will you have water to drink,or shelter, a mask? everyone plans for an economic collaspe what about other senarios? Do you keep water in your car. A mask, gloves etc. ? I have a tent in the front of our garage and water and gloves. My garage sticks out further then the rest of my home so I would only need to dig through the garage roof. We keep water in out car. etc. Think of other disaster senario’s.

  22. Encourager says:

    Thanks, Mike B, for this post. It brought to mind a few things I need to take care of!

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