If a society-wide emergency plunges us into chaos, you and your family will be on your own, with only the supplies that you have stockpiled and the preparations you’ve managed to make before everything went to hell.
One way you can extend your stores, though, is to get what you can find from the world around.
That isn't always easy… and it's often very dangerous.
I spoke with survival expert Jake Sepulveda about how to stay safe when scavening for survival, and here is a summary of what he told me.
3 Tips For Staying Safe While Scavenging For Survival!
Why do you need to scavenge?
To put it simply, you just can’t have everything.
It’s impossible to have a place to put it all.
So thinking that you’re prepared for every eventuality, and thinking that you’ve got all the supplies you need, and not having the ability and the foresight to plan for what happens when you don’t — because there will be a time when you don’t — could end up getting you killed.
But scavenging itself could ALSO get you hurt or killed.
It's a dangerous world out there, and in an emergency or survival scenario, it's only going to get worse.
I like to use what I call the “3 Ps” to stay safe.
These are partners, pause, and precaution.
Tip #1: Have Partners
Partners are difficult in survival situations if it’s not somebody you know, because you don’t know how much you can trust them.
Even then, if you do know them, there are certain breaking points people have.
But the benefit of a second set of eyes is almost immeasurable, especially if you’re occupied doing something.
Having that person who can watch over your shoulder and watch your back and listen while you focus on a task is fantastic.
I think it’s a must for pretty much anybody, because they’ll at least sense or see a danger coming, and at least warn you about it.
Tip #2: Pause While Scavenging
Pausing, even if you’re with another partner, is taking a moment every now and then to stand and look around you.
It's taking time to take in your surroundings and really identify what’s happening in your immediate area that is really important.
You can't afford to focus too hard on scavenging itself.
If you get too caught up in your focus on what you’re doing, you’re going to lose sight of everything else that’s happening around you.
Then anything from a human enemy to just a dangerous environmental condition, like a collapsing ceiling in a damaged building, could end up taking you out.
Tip #3: Use Precaution
Precaution is just being careful.
When you’re scavenging you don’t necessarily want to go to a huge department store for your supplies.
Yes, they’ll probably have lots of stuff that you could use in there, but a lot of other people are probably going to be there as well.
If you’re grabbing something that somebody else wants, there isn’t a whole lot that they would hold back to get that thing from you.
So being cautious and being aware of the places that you plan on scavenging, or that you see as an opportunity in the moment, and just taking in the scenery and having that second pair of eyes… these are all-important factors.
The other thing is that if a family member of mine or one of my team didn’t come back, the natural reaction, especially if you’re in a close-knit survival team, is we’ve got to go out and find out what happened, we’ve got to find them.
That’s not a good prospect because then everybody’s kind of roaming around trying to find one another.
So it seems that having a partner with you has a lot of different benefits to it as well.
You also have to watch out for natural hazards, not just people.
When you’re out there you’ve got to be cautious because if it’s a true collapse type of situation, an injury that you would normally go to urgent care to or go to the hospital for could easily kill you.
Risks you would think nothing of taking in a world where you can just call 911 become impossible when you don't have that option.
You've definitely got to keep in mind that if something goes wrong, whether it’s a bee sting that you’re allergic to, a snake bite, or a twisted ankle… these are things that can put you out of action or give you an infection.
Even minor injuries can become life-or-death scenarios when there is no medical care to be had.
It can come back to your pride.
If you are doing something just because you think, “Well, I’ll just brute force through it,” that’s not always a good choice.
If you can drop that machismo and realize that sometimes it’s good to step back and start on a smaller project, you can avoid a lot of serious injury and downtime.