Yet another post on SurvivalistBoards.com caught my attention, this time about listing nearby resources. In it, the OP seemed to indicate the usefulness of marking nearby places on a map that may be advantageous to loot in a long term emergency situation. He mentioned places such as restaurants, veterinarians, medical clinics, etc.
While the idea of listing nearby resources intrigued me, the guise of doing so with looting in mind did not. Besides, it may very well be that many of these same places have already been ransacked by others already. Regardless of the reason as to why this is a bad idea, I did begin to wonder how I too could utilize the concept to better prepare myself should I ever need to do some last-minute prepping.
Certainly, it behooves us to be as prepared as we can be and to stockpile as much as we can (within reason), but life is life and it’s sometimes difficult to ALWAYS ensure we have everything we need at all times. Remember that disasters never strike when you’re absolutely ready but, rather, only when your gas tank is on empty, your wife borrowed the last $20 from your wallet without telling you, and you got a flat tire on your way into work.
The reason why the idea of making a map beforehand may prove worth it’s weight in gold is because, in my opinion, we’re all creatures of habit. Didn’t see that one coming, did you? Generally speaking, we’re accustomed to buying our supplies at the same places, shopping at specific times of the week/day, traveling the same routes, and even using the same methods to pay for our stuff. While reassuring, habits can get us into trouble.
Here’s an example: many people use 20 pound tanks of propane to run a BBQ grill (if you don’t then just play along anyway). We may also intend to use propane to run a space heater or even lanterns should a disaster strike. I know I do. Of course, if we’re relatively prepared we’ll purposely have an extra tank or two because of the “two is one, one is none” philosophy. But, what happens if disaster strikes and you jump into gear and decide to run off to the local hardware store, Walmart, or wherever it is that you normally buy your propane tanks only to find that they’re sold out, the route you use to get there is blocked, you don’t have enough gas in the tank, or whatever? What happens then?
Do you go back home with your tail between your legs? No! You soldier on, scouring the landscape for someplace–any place–that sells propane tanks. Maybe you get lucky, maybe you don’t. You can, however, increase your odds of success if you’ve pre-planned and mapped out exactly where you might be able to procure them. This could not only include the aforementioned spots but grocery stores and often gas stations too. In fact, you could very well stumble upon many places that may not yet be sold out (and be accessible very nearby) that you would choose to visit first. You could then do so methodically travelling from one spot on your map to another until you get what you need.
The idea is really simple to implement. Start to think about any of the supplies you might want/need to rely upon in an lengthy emergency, including propane, kerosene, gasoline, OTC medicines, prescriptions, food, cash, and so on. The list could be lengthy but I would suggest keeping it to no more than a dozen items because it may then get overwhelming to track on your map.
Now, get yourself an up-to-date local map (the more local the better) and as you travel along take note of the many stores you either frequent or bypass and check to see if they sell any of the items you want to include on your last-minute shopping list. Then, if they do you can note that on the map. Maybe you keep a legend such as “P=propane,” “C=cash,” “M=medicines” or however you prefer to do it. Last, mark on the map (maybe in pencil) what can be found at each store. For example, if I go to a nearby gas station, I might mark on the map the following: “P, G, F, C” because I would be able to find propane, gasoline (duh), food, and cash. Make sense?
Remember, this idea is really only for the stuff that’s expected to be sold out FAST. This isn’t for listing items such as stationary supplies because your local grocery store has them. It’s about the stuff that always tends to go first when people panic (minus the milk and bread). Finally, consider duplicating your map so that you have one in each vehicle, ready to go.
Since I just thought about this I haven’t tried it but I added a new local map on the shopping list and plan to begin implementation soon. What do you think? Good idea or not?