Ideas for a long term collapse – are you a scavenger?
Okay. The worst did happen! It could have been a super EMP attack, super solar flare, limited nuclear attack or whatever. The country is in a shambles, the power grid has been down for weeks and months. It has been a TEOTWAWKI event. But we’ve survived. Thanks to proper prepping and a couple close friends we’ve all been able to pull through — to this point. No, this isn’t a mini-novel or fiction article but a scenario that we could face in the event a worst-case disaster did occur.
Let’s say we had hunkered down at home, or survived by having taken off to a retreat or family place out in the country. Doesn’t matter. We pulled through! But supplies are getting low. We’ve run out of some items, others have broken or worn out. We’re barely making it from day to day. We have evolved through many difficult times to get to this point. To truly understand where we might be, situation-wise let’s review first how you might have gotten here.
Let’s make a few assumptions. To have truly survived a total social breakdown in a grid-down, no food available, no water, confrontations with looters and gangs you in all likelihood would have had to take off out of the city. Surviving safely would have been extremely difficult and you would have liked to be part of an elite Special Forces unit but in reality you would have your spouse, two kids and wonder of wonders, maybe even mother-in-law.
You’d possibly have teamed up with a couple buddies and their families or even your own extended family members for the safety/security of numbers. As time went on you might have also included other family units. Every group needs a designated leader and because of your sense of awareness in the first place you have been chosen to lead the group.
But with that designation comes a lot of responsibility. Everyone had to work for the common good but with such a mixed group you had to designate duties carefully. You were immediately faced with the problem that the best hunters, the strongest members and the best shots seemed to be the same few guys. How do you assign them effectively? And how do you get the most benefit from the others?
Falling back to what worked with the Indian (‘suse me, Native American) tribes, the younger and middle age women were responsible for the young children, what would be called under normal circumstances, domestic duties-cooking, caring for the young, cleaning, and all those little, but important duties that keep the group location, be it a camp or immediate neighborhood functioning.
The older kids would be assigned hauling water, wood gathering and gardening type responsibilities. Okay so far, but what about the older folks who happen to be in the group? The parents or grandparents you couldn’t leave behind? Or the elderly widow neighbor who always kept an eye on your house when you went on vacation? You know all those folks the hundreds of prepper articles apparently forgot about when they loaded the kids and dog in the SUV and took off to a safe place.
But maybe I’m sensitive because of my grey hair. Anyway, because of some infirmity or simply age-weakness you can’t assign old folk to any labor intensive job so what can you do to allow them the opportunity to contribute? You can use them on perimeter security. They can help watch the kids. Maybe they can be given the job of catching fish from the nearby stream. And something I’ve never seen mentioned under this type of situation, especially if people relocate to some rural area due to some emergency circumstance the group will never have sufficient supplies and equipment.
Some of these items they do have will have to be shared for the common good. Items like shovels, larger cooking supplies, axes and what have you. Maybe even extra guns should be centralized for security patrol assignments. So what is need here is someone functioning as a kind of supply clerk, signing items out and insuring that they get returned. Possibly they can also do some equipment repair. Perfect job for an older person..
Your group seems to be getting larger and material goods are in short supply. Your stronger group members have been doing the more difficult and dangerous duties of scouting further and further out and have reported dwellings and a couple small, apparently deserted hamlets a few miles away. You decide to send them out for needed material goods.
You Can Turn Them Into Scroungers
In teams of three or four they head out, with firearms of course, but also back packs, screwdrivers, pliers and pry-bars if you have them. Their assignment? To bring back any useful items that can help the group. First they will likely hit abandoned outlying homes. Although chances are low due to the houses being previously looted, check them for obviously overlooked food supplies. But the teams might find articles of usable clothing strewn around, and by the way, no self-respecting bad-guy looter is going to take sewing type items so they may, in checking the drawers find needles, buttons, thread and similar items that will be very appreciated back at the camp.
They may find some needed pots and pans in the kitchen and possibly some odd pieces of silverware. Any kind of containers-bottles, bowls or even old empty beer cans will be put to use. The room used as a den may have odd pieces of paper and if the group is lucky, a still useable pad of paper. Notes, directions and even a record of activities will be desired back at camp.
Desired? Nothing can beat finding an old toy or doll or two for the kids back at camp.
They have to check the garage. Possibly there’s a half-filled can of motor oil. Lubricant? Where is that ever mentioned? Useful in many ways. Maybe a length of used wire can be found off in the corner. Useful for snares. They shouldn’t overlook a length of electrical wiring; grab it up. Also, they should look for some loose screws or nails laying around.
A couple lengths of 2×4′s can be carried in the old wheelbarrow discovered out behind the barn. In fact, any smaller, non-power driven farm implements would be like hitting the jackpot. And, if it does happen to be an old far-type layout, the team may be lucky enough to find an old fuel tank that may have some kerosene left in it. Before leaving the property especially if in the country, check out back to see if there was a ravine or area where the owners may have dumped trash. The trash they may have disposed of in good times may be very helpful to your group now.
Stores will, of course be ransacked long before your group arrives. But searching for the small items in the back room or storage areas may result in finding useable items.
None of the work involved to this point is beyond the capabilities of the older members of your group, in fact, they would be maybe more knowledgeable as to what to look for than a younger, TV raised person. So there may be a lot of useful items our there just waiting for the picking.
Just remember, when times get tough there may still be a wealth of supplies that have been overlooked. Oops, grab that soda bottle in the weeds along side the road. Hey. What about those old plants in that garden that went to seed. Seed? Hmmm.