Making a G.O.O.D PLAN: Get Out Of Dodge

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Editor’s Note: This post is another entry in the Prepper Writing Contest from Michael Wilhelm. If you have information for Preppers that you would like to share and possibly win a $300 Amazon Gift Card to purchase your own prepping supplies, enter today.


Basically a GOOD Plan is life’s Plan B. Plan A, is what we are currently living. We live in society that pretty much provides for all our basic needs and then some. Plan A is where the electric is always on, clean water comes out of the faucet, when you dial 911 someone shows up to help you. Plan A is where babies are born in hospitals, our kids are educated in schools to prepare them for employment, were adults working at jobs to receive monetary compensation so they can exchange it for things they need and want. Plan A is where some people get married, have kids, enjoy comfortable retirement, and then die. Plan A is commonly referred to as the “Center Holds”. We live a life of electricity, gas for our cars, food available nearly everywhere, and a government that provides a degree of law and order and responds to most emergency that may befall us.

Most of us are on board with Plan A. But what if Plan A fails? What if the Center doesn’t hold? What if events, beyond your control, fall upon you and change all you know and expect from life. Do you have a Plan B? What if you find that you can no long stay in your current home due to lack of power, water and food? What if your neighborhood is no longer safe and you have to leave, to “Get Out Of Dodge”. Where would you go? How would you get there? How would you live once you got there? What is your Plan B?

The primary purpose of this document is to get you thinking about Plan B. And to provide a very basic understanding of things to consider if you decide to develop a Plan B. As with Plan A you layout goals and acquire resources that will support you Plan A goals. Same with Plan B, you develop goals, then start acquiring resources.

The purpose of a GOOD Plan is to get you, and your family, to a place of safety and survival before SHTF (Shit Hits The Fan). Your plan needs to be executable and based in reality. A good GOOD Plan will answer three questions.

  • Where are you going?
  • When do you leave?
  • What are you taking?

Finally, you need to communicate your GOOD plan with your family. Doesn’t help to have a plan if no one’s aware of it.


Survival Retreat

A GOOD Plan assumes that you will be leaving your current / normal place of residence for a Survival Retreat. However, if you currently live in a place that meets the basic requirement of a Survival Retreat, then there is no reason to leave.
A Survival Retreat is a predetermined place that you would be living at for at least a year. By predetermined I mean that you know where the place is, you know how to get there and, if you don’t own it, then you are expected by the owner or have their permission to stay.

The basic first requirements for a retreat is no different from any piece of real estate, it all starts with location. A retreat that is remote, and off the beaten path is preferred over one that is in or next to populated areas. Your retreat needs to be defendable. It needs to have access to fresh water, and a fuel/energy source.

Fresh water can come from rivers, streams, lakes or rainfall. A retreat fuel/energy source is either one that you have stockpiled like gasoline or diesel fuels. Or ones that you have developed like wind, solar, and/or hydro. Additionally, there are natural energy sources like trees, and coal that can be harvested and burned.

Consideration should be given as to how the retreat will support your family. It is large enough? If you plan to grow food, is land suitable for gardening? Can you protect the food you grow from wildlife?

As to defending a retreat, the best ones don’t need defending. Meaning its location is such that access is difficult or well concealed. The goal is to be able to fend off a small band of four to six attackers. What is the most likely avenue of attack? What can you do to neutralize that avenue? For attacks by groups larger than six you need to have a means of escape. The escape route needs to be concealed and will get you and your family out of harms’ way.

Another consideration is your route of travel to the retreat. Ideally you will be leaving before there are roadblocks. But in case you don’t and the primary route is blocked. You need to have a secondary route. Neither route should depend on things like ferries or airplanes. Both routes should be ones that if needed you could walk.

Other things to consider when selecting a retreat

  • What is its condition, are repairs needed?
  • Does it have a means of heating and cooking without electric or gas?
  • Is it physically large enough to support your family?
  • If you don’t there full time and you stockpile resources, can it be secure?

Ideally you have stockpiled enough food, water, and other survival gear at your retreat that will support your group through at least the first year. This will give to time to establish a mean of addition food source, like a garden, bartering or developing your hunting and fishing skills.

An eye-opening exercise is to make a list of all the things you would need for you and your family to survive for a year without being restocked, access to support systems like medical services, and no power, running water or sewage service.
How much food would you need, how about clothing, medical supplies, weapons and ammo? What knowledge or skills would you need?

Once you have the list, cross off all the items you currently have. I think you will find that other than a camp stove and sleeping bags and some clothing you are in need of a lot of shit.


bug out before disaster

In developing a GOOD Plan there are two terms that need defined and given consideration that help in determine when to Get Out Of Dodge.

The first term is tipping point. A tipping point is a moment in time that due to a series of events or one major event the odds of society collapsing and going off the deep end, are the same odds as the center holding and life pretty much continue as it has, otherwise a moment when things could go either way. Pandemics, economic collapse and national wide civil unrest are the events that would lead to a tipping point.

A collapse of society is better known to “preppers” as TEOTWAWKI (The End Of The World As We Know It). While TEOTWAWKI indicates once things go to hell, they stay that way forever. I believe that after a period of time things will return to a more civilized / normal way of life. The challenge will be to survive till it does. This leads to two questions, how bad will it get? And how long will it last? The theory is, the worst things gets, the longer it lasts, the longer it lasts, the worst things will get.

The second term is trip wire event (TWE), this is an event or events that when it happen, tells you it’s time to GOOD. The term trip wire comes from the practice of stringing a wire around your camp about 4” off the ground. The wire is connected to a device that can warn you that an intruder is attempting to enter your camp. A TWE is a warning that in the near future shit is going to hit fan. The challenge with TWE is that different events that would result in TEOTWAWKI would have different trip wires. For example, a TWE for a pandemic is different from those for an economic collapse. Though a major pandemic would, or could cause an economic collapse. If you wait to GOOD till the economic collapse you’re leaving too late. TWEs are also flexible and always being reevaluated.

Another challenge with TWEs is selecting ones that when they happen there is enough time to allow you to GOOD before TEOTWAWKI. Like a trip wire around your camp site. Too close to the camp and there’s no time to react. A TWE needs to be before the SHTF, meaning before the electrical power is off, before the grocery stores are out of food, before all the gas stations are closed, before police and firefighters stop showing up for work, before there are roadblocks (either those set up by the government or the ones set up by morons with guns).

Also when considering TWE you don’t want ones that are not so far in advance of the SHTF that you GOOD before it’s necessary. The same is true for a campsite tripwire, too far away can having you react to something that was not really a threat. Staying put till the right time to GOOD will allow you to continue gathering supplies.

In putting together a GOOD Plan you can categorize TEOTWAWKI events into one of two types, CONSIDERED EVENTS and NON-CONSIDERED EVENTS. A Considered Event is one that could happen and you can prepare for it. A Non-considered Event is one that is damn near impossible to happen or if it does no amount of prepping will save you.

Below are Considered Events that I believe warrant the execution of our GOOD plan.

Power Grid Down:
There are three main power grids in this country, Eastern, Western and Texas. All are susceptible to hacking or physical sabotage. The loss of one grid would have a direct impact on the other two. Experts estimate that if the grid is taking down by a hacker it could take months to a year to get the system back up. Experts also say that it’s not a matter of if the grid is hack but more of a matter of when.

Economic Collapse:
This event will have plenty of warnings but when it happens it will hit hard and fast. The impact will push many people over the edge. Don’t wait too long to GOOD. Another challenge in this event will be to have a stockpiled a resource that will have value after the collapse that you can use to barter with for things you don’t have but need to survive.

Pandemic is basically an outbreak of a disease that is highly contagious, deadly and wide-spread. It could start in any part of the world. The primary goal will be to get away from areas of large populations or if you can’t get away, have a means to isolate yourself from those who are infected.

Civil Unrest:
This event will undoubtedly happen during a pandemic and economy collapse. But there is a long list of other event that could result in wide-spread civil unrest. The primary challenge will be security, protecting your family and resources.

The following are Non-considered Events that I have no intention of planning for.

  • Global thermonuclear war (this would not include a single nuclear attack by a terrorist)
  • An attack/invasion by aliens from outer space
  • A plague that results in people who die becoming flesh-eating zombies
  • The earth being sucked into a black hole
  • The earth being hit by a planet killing asteroid (ELE, Extinctions Level Event)


Ideally you have stockpile resources at your retreat and the items you’re taking are minimal. For the most part you will need damn near everything you didn’t stockpiled. Your GOOD Plan should list out what you’re taking. The recommendation is to pack based on priorities of, security first (weapons and ammo), first aid/medical, then all the non-perishable food you have in your home, any camping gear you have, any type of fuel, and if you have one, take your generator. If space allows, load up clothing, linen, “How To” books, tools and any items that might be used for barter. My recommendation is bring the dog but leave the cat (unless you are willing to eat the cat).


shtf disaster

Besides for being prepped up with survival supplies and resources, you need to also prep your mind. You need to be mentally prepared for the weeks and months ahead. Prepare to make tough decisions. Decisions that may, and can mean the difference between life and death. So what can you expect? If you think about it, about a week or so after SHTF there’s a good chance basic services, like police, fire and medical responses will be gone or greatly decreased. Once power is off for the entire area for more than three days there’s a good chance things are only going to go from bad to worst. If you turn on a portable TV or radio and the only broadcast is emergency information message telling you to stay at home and wait further orders or tell you were the nearest FEMA camp is located. You can bet the economy is near to or in the process of collapsing.

Once the economy has collapsed the only person still working will be mostly be the first responders and the military. And they will stop showing up once they sense that their families are at risk. Once that happens there goes the last means of public security. Hopefully before any of this happens you and your family will be at a survival retreat. Regardless were you are you will be on your own.

Without securing items like food, water and protection will be mostly gone. If there is no public security people will stop showing up for work and stay home to protect their family. There will be hard times in the first weeks and months. Due to the lack of resources like food, drinking water, medical support and electricity there will be a lot of people dying. The first to go will be the physically impaired. People that cannot fend for themselves, or cannot move under their own power, people who depend on regular medication to stay alive. Nearly all these people will be dead in the first week or less. The next group to go will be the poor. With little or no resources to start with, most will holdout in their homes and apartments waiting, hoping that “someone”is coming to help them. Prior to a total collapse some of the poor and unprepared will be “helped” by the government in being relocated to a FEMA camp. These camps will offer food, shelter, and security until the military collapses. At that point the things with fall into chaos as it did at the Superdome during Katrina. The camp will collapse into a “dog-eat-dog” environment. It will be brutal and deadly. In my option these camps are to be avoided at all costs.

As to the healthy but unprepared a number of them will be injured or killed trying to find a means of survival or escape the cities. Without medical attention the injured will succumb to their wounds/injuries. In a SHTF world, if you are not prepared, a broken arm or leg, a laceration that is allowed to become infected can kill you. The unprepared people who last the longest will and can pose the biggest threat by forming into predatory gangs. These gangs will be armed, mobile and lethal. They will do whatever they want to secure food and resources. As they consume the resources in an area they will move on to other areas of opportunity. Some will travel by vehicle once they figure out how to connect a generator up to a gas pump. Ours will move on foot. The leaders of these gangs will more in likely have been criminals prior to SHTF or maybe military training or both. Due to being forced to “live off the land” these gangs will likely be mostly male and consist of less than 20 people. There are two options for dealing with these gangs. The first, and best option, is to avoid contact. Stay concealed and under the radar. The second is to attack and kill them before they attack and kill you. My guess is that most of these groups will relocate to parts of the country where the climate is mild year round.

In a long-term survival situation, there are lots of areas you will have to be mentally prepared for. Of all of them death will be the most challenging. Death of a love one or a vital member of the group can leave you mentally vulnerable and weak. Your challenge will be to morn but not let the event push you into a feeling of hopelessness. Every member of your group needs to be physically and mentally strong. The way to strengthen your body is through exercise. The same is true for the mind. Your group will need to hold regular meeting to discuss events that can happen. This will help to prepare the group mentally for impactful events. Discussing responses to events and making a plan will help to prevent confusion and inaction if the event occurs.

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I don’t think the majority of “the poor” will hunker down at home. Because they have been conditioned to government support, I suspect that anger will quickly overshadow fear and the tendency will be to “loot and riot”.


I like to think I’m the “Oxymoron” of every stereotype. I”m not ‘the poor’, and I’m not ‘the rich’. I just don’t fit any of your assigned roles. To imply that the poor will riot, while the ‘rich’ will do something else besides riot is utter bs. I grow weary of massive stereotypes being passed around like a bowl of popcorn on movie night. Just like there are trash rich, there are trash poor. Still doesn’t mean either of them will be out looting. What you failed to enunciate, is the idea that some will riot and loot, and some… Read more »

Pat Henry

Bob, Thanks for your comments as always, but I don’t know if you are referring to the article or to equipedcat. Perhaps “Poor” is not the best descriptor in this case, but when we do have incidents of violence and looting or rioting in the streets – except in cases where this is contrived – who is doing that normally? It isn’t the “wealthy” is it? I completely agree with you that income or resources do not have any bearing on character. I also agree that desperate people will act desperately no matter what type of car they drive or… Read more »


I didn’t mean to imply that all poor people are bad, or for that matter, that all rich people are good. In fact, “net worth” is a really poor measure to predict ones actions during a crisis. A person’s skills, ingenuity, morality and independence is a much better predictor.

All I am saying is that the expectation in the article that most of those who are used to being given the necessities of life hunker down at home when that stream of supply is cut off, is an assumption better not made.

Ed Cody

In a real shtf we might get a pleasant surprise even among the death & mayhem. As has been said most people get it right & apart from initial panic of the unprepared & & some opportunist bullies we are likely to see more cooperation & maybe even service to others. I know, plan for the worst, hope for the best may be seen as naive, but whatever the disaster it will drain the swamp & the reptiles running the exploitative & competitive financial/house of cards democracy system will mostly be drained too. As you say there may be some… Read more »

Pat (not Pat Henry, another Pat)

May I suggest that the author learn how to spell? Or re-read his work after spell-check has run. I don’t think this is at all helpful. I am one of ‘the poor’. I have no plans to leave our very rural home. Nor do I plan to take anything which is not ours. As to heating and cooking, we use propane gas. It is delivered in a big tank, called a ‘pig’. We can heat with wood (living in a forest, as we do); then, for cooking only, the propane lasts approximately five years! What the hell do you folks… Read more »

Donna Brock

Pat, I think if you’re concentrating so much on the English mistakes of the article you’re “missing the train!” The article gave me a lot to think about! And, I don’t think he has anything against the poor! I think he was merely stating that as a whole, the majority of them will not have resources stored away! On the other hand, if you grew up poor like I did, you probably know how to grow a garden and can what you grow. I hope this is the case for a lot of people! We will need that skill! And… Read more »


Donna, the other Pat is right to observe the lack of mastery of the English language. It seems there is a rash of foreign interests meddling in American affairs and fear mongering is one way this is done. So, to be aware and precise in our language is fundamental to our security. Did anyone ever think that prepping should be more focused on being a part of maintaining normalcy rather than selfish hording and self induced seclusion? Food fer thought, I’d say.


You use the term ‘selfish’ very poorly indeed. The idea of preparing for a disaster is not selfish in any way. Selfish would at least imply that you took all of the rice or beans, leaving nothing for anyone else. During a disaster, many will call the prepper a ‘hoarder’ –SP? and selfish. Selfish for not giving away the food they invested in, instead of a shiny new car, boat, etc.. It should be an expectation that those who don’t prepare will come to those who prepared expecting help. I believe this is a logical fallacy. Why should someone who… Read more »


Had Noah not been so selfish there might not be any society now….

Wendy Kaubisch

This is very true.

Paul Crosley

The so called “poor”, if they live in a rural area.are in an advantageous position. Many have developed skills as a matter of everyday life. Much more important than buying the latest .338 Lapua sniper.rifle for $3000.00. They are deadly with the “lowly” .30 30 lever action. Can start fires as a matter of fact. Already can their food. Know how to survive in the wild, or at least at home. Make do or do without.
They will be the least affected compared to ” city folk”.


Its all relative now, isn’t it Paul? Poor learn to survive in a way that comfortable city folk can’t comprehend.

Wendy Kaubisch

Wow. I think you ‘get’ it’. Poor people don’t just sit and wait for a little something to come their way. Yes, there are some who have lard asses due to being lazy and eating Easy food but this is also true for the well to do, certainly for the rich. Both ends of the spectrum tell us who will sit and wait for the Authorities to Do Something. The middle roaders will be protesting, then rioting, then scavenging first.

Pat Henry

Please let me know where you found spelling errors and I can correct them.

Wendy Kaubisch

I understand your irritation about the profile of people who happen to live in poorer neighborhoods. I used to live in what my family and media considered ghetto. Yet, when my house burned,who helped while I fought with the ins co? My neighbors! And never asking for a damn dime, actually they were leaving $5 bills and casseroles,cleaning supplies. Yes, I eventually met my dream: a rural property an hour from mpls. And my ghetto home paid for it. Yes,I have an almost perfect GOOD place in case of shtf. But if stuff happens, I pray that my ghetto neighbors… Read more »


When shtf there will be no rich or poor. only haves and have nots. There will be wealthy people who will be have nots ands visa versa. Also, what do you do with a fellow preppers wife who just sits on her butt and contributes nothing. Just one of many problems that will pop up


Spend some time on your “work to eat” philosophy. Sit on your can, eat out of your empty hand. I don’t have room for free-loaders.

Wendy Kaubisch

That’s when hard shit happens: DO something or don’t eat. And I don’t think that family members should be allowed to pick up the slack. Any and everybody will need to contribute something. For older folks, maybe it’s just sharing knowledge, writing it down. For a disabled person, doing a craft type thing. And I’m sorry but if anybody has violent/bullying tendencies shown even once, they must be put down.


Beware the man who owns only one gun–he probably knows how to use it. Beware the man who lives in the city–He probably expects other people to care for him.


Some brief notes. First, Utah based Latter Day Saints (Mormon) [and I am not Mormon] offers a downloadable free and lengthy survival document focusing on food storage (how much and what items per person). They recommend an ultimate 10 year supply of food, and at least 5 years, which makes sense in an arid part of USA where merely lack of rain can cause a SHTF. Probably 18 months of food is a better recommendation than 12 months based on the principle that most of the food will need will come from what you can grow, and what you grow… Read more »

Muhammad Tahseen

This is true and I am 100% agreed with u.

Imtiaz Ahmed


steve bramschreiber

great info!! as to the “which animal to bring’ part….BOTH.. they are BOTH part of your family!!!!
that would be like leaving one of your kids because they have only been with you a year or less….have to keep in mind what they might feel when/if you abandoned them!!! do/did they understand your reason for leaving them behind????


Would also like to see a discussion of GOOD to another country.

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