Personally, I despise looters, the people who take advantage of a crisis or a disaster to steal, and pillage what's not rightfully theirs. But the reality is a harsh one. And no matter how well you plan, eventually, there will be something you need. Perhaps you overlooked it in your preparations, or an accident and some unforeseen circumstances mean you're about to leave your bug out and venture into the world to scavenge what you need.
Start with a game planThe key to a successful resource run is your game plan. Identify exactly what you need, and head to a location that is most likely to have it. There's no point hoping to find winter gear in a grocery store, and likewise, you're probably not going to find prescription medicine in a restaurant. My advice, is to plan ahead as much as possible. Because you're essentially going out into the world to steal. Walking out the door in the middle of the day, trying to break into a location that's not your own could get you in some very serious trouble, not to mention the people you come across who may decide to follow you home, rob you for the gear you've got, or perhaps something even more sinister.
Mapping out locationsWhat you can do today is to identify your targets. One of my daily rituals is a morning jog, and while a good way to stay fit there's another motive. I use my run as a way to scout locations, escape routes, and learn the ins-and-outs of my neighbourhood. Once I get home, I've got a binder that covers my local neighbourhood in detail, including print outs from Google Maps marked with everything I've discovered. Perhaps it's a walkway that's not listed on a map, or a new store that's sprung up. That way I've always got a working "road map" of routes and potential targets. Here's what you should look out for:
- Office buildings and abandoned businesses. The bigger the better, as you're likely to find general first aid gear, as well as whatever stores are in their kitchen.
- Government buildings. In addition to first aid and kitchen supplies, most federal buildings have solar panels installed, and don't forget to check the janitor's closet.
- Large distribution centers. Forget the supermarket that's been stripped bare, head out to the packing and distribution centers where supplies are ready in bulk.
- Local churches and charities. If they're big on community service you'll find not only tins of food, but perhaps even marquees and other outdoor entertaining gear.
- Self-storage facilities. You won't find food here, but it's worth opening a few if you're looking for sports and winter gear that usually gets stored.
- Boats moored at the marina. Most boat owners will store their fishing gear, rations and communication equipment, and sometimes even a firearm on their boats.
- Mechanics and auto-repair shops. The most likely place you'll find whatever it is you're looking for to get your car running again.
- Schools, universities, hospitals, public buildings. Any large institutional building should be on your radar for food supplies, clothing and even knowledge (libraries).
- Pawn shops. I love pawn shops for variety, where you'll find everything from guns and ammo to radios and more. Just be prepared, they're usually heavily fortified.