Many preppers are well-prepared for the first 72 hours of a bad situation. This is because most crises are resolved within that window. However, many of us are unprepared for what might happen in the days or weeks after a major incident. James Ryan will discuss how a prepper can resource themselves in the weeks after the shit has hit the fan through scavenging.
- Scavenging and looting are different. Scavenging is a moral and situationally aware method for survival.
- Scavengers should consider the journey products take from creation to use to waste.
- Scavengers should also think beyond short-term situations and needs.
Prepping requires meticulous planning. This planning is often limited by the prepper’s budget. Most of this budget is rightly spent on the preservation of life for the first 72 hours after their most likely shit-hits-the-fan situation. It’s why we have the idea of a 72-hour survival kit. For example, preppers on flood plains generally prepare for flooding; preppers in areas of great fire risk, center their prepping around fire management. While this series discusses what one could do in a range of specific situations, the basis for every stage two prepper should be scavenging.
Scavenging vs Looting: There is a difference
First, it is important to define scavenging. Many people use the two interchangeably, but in all reality, looting and scavenging are quite different.
After every disaster, many people opportunistically seek to improve their financial position by the looting of houses whose security has been compromised by the disaster. We have seen this happen in floods, as well as parts of the world affected by financial breakdowns. Media reports on a range of natural disasters are littered with news of looters targeting compromised jewelry, electronics and cash.
However, scavenging is different to looting, because it is a context-specific and morally-guided process where a person seeks to improve their chances of survival. As a result, those about to engage in scavenging need to be situationally aware, and clear about their morals.
Situational-awareness and morals are key factors. The consequences of your actions could directly or indirectly lead to the loss of life. Morals could be described as a standard of right and wrong. Regardless of how much shit hits the fan, it is a temporary experience and you your inner circle will spend the rest of your lives analyzing those difficult, heat-of-the-moment choices. These moral standards need to be clarified with your inner circle before any doomsday event.
Our morals set us apart from our enemies, domestic and abroad.
You also need to set yourself apart through situational awareness. When the shit hits the fan, you have to consider how long the situation is likely to last, and what the broader consequences of a decision might be.
If you come into contact with some food supplies, it is important for you to minimize waste, only take what is needed, and redistribute the excess where possible. There is no point having a cache of canned food when less-prepared people are starving. An ignorant decision could compromise society’s ability to consolidate and repair. A fractured society is destined to be ruled by a greater, more organized power; therefore, scavenging should not compromise social cohesion.
Things to Consider When Planning Your Scavenge Approach
Furthermore, you shouldn’t limit yourself to scavenging for the short term. The scavenging phase is a temporary phase, but there may be a situation where certain stores start to run out. It goes without saying, the things that catch preppers off guard are more likely to destroy them than things that they are prepared for. Therefore, while you are undertaking the scavenging phase, you should also be planning for the next phases.
Preppers should think about the needs of the inner circle, natural threats (e.g.: seasonal weather), and internal and external forces.
For example, scavengers who foresee a food shortage should look out for seeds and hunting equipment. Therefore, scavenging should involve strategic planning. Questions should be considered when planning what you are scavenging for, such as:
- ’What do we need?’
- ‘Why do we need it?’
- ‘Where can we find it?’
- ‘How are we going to store or carry it?’
These questions should include survival needs such as food, water, equipment, communication, and logistics.
In the case of a nuclear or EMP attack, where there a country’s ability to supply its population with products (including food) can be destabilized, scavengers should consider the journey those products take from origin to disposal.
Most of our products follow similar journeys. If we think about this journey, we can get a good idea of where to look when the supermarket runs out of food, the pharmacy runs out of medical supplies, and more.
If we think of the journey our food needs to take to go from farmer or production line and waste bin, we will find quite a number of places that scavengers should target. So where are these places? Some prime scavenger resource spots would be:
- Supply lines (trucks, ships, train, and autos)
- Distribution centers (warehouses)
- Abandoned stores
- Processing factories
- Rubbish gathering areas
- Waste areas.
Be creative, even fresh compost is often rich in seeds.
It is important to remember that scavenging is a temporary phase that may facilitate further survival phases. We need to be careful not to compromise society’s ability to rebound and drive off other threats. Therefore, scavenging needs to target precise needs, their locations and avoid waste.