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Could You Really Turn Family Away During A Disaster?

Could you Really Turn Family Away During a Disaster? by Bravo Echo

One of the most asked questions and/or looming questions on the mind of those who prepare is how to deal with family members who refuse or fail to prepare and/or those who then show up on our doorstep. What if they are coming from an area infected by the coronavirus?

An important part of preparing that is sometimes overlooked or not given the level of consideration it deserves is what one should do when someone comes knocking on your door. This is not the neighbor down the street or a stranger. This is family. A loved one. We open the door and see the look of desperation in the eyes of family members. Maybe they do or do not know we prepare. Does it matter? They are family.

The question we need to ask ourselves and think about very seriously is who we would turn away, and what extended family members would we help out in a disaster or when the feces hits the rotating steel fan blade. Those in the preparedness world know this as the SHTF event.

Unfortunately, this is just the first step. If our food plan is enough to feed just our internal family, how are we going to handle the situation of having extra mouths to feed? This is all dependent on whether we decide to help them or turn them away. We may have decided no and our spouse yes. Do we change our vote to pacify our spouse? It would be very difficult to turn close family members away but one must take a lot in to consideration. If we were set to say no, I would guess we have other circumstances that weigh into our decision other than survival.

Another question we may need to address is “how would we decide who could stay and who needed to go away?” What if we will not or cannot take the entire group due to available space, food, or tensions? This is a tough question and one we really need to give a lot of thought. Deciding on who would make the cut could be the difference between surviving or possibly throwing everything we have down the tubes.

Here are some things we may want to consider:

1. How close are they to our family?

No matter how nice we may think we are, it is just not feasible to think that a family can bring everyone and everyone they bring with them in during any SHTF event. I think it is fair to say most people can barely afford to get prepared completely. Like it or not, we are going to have to figure out how to say, “No, I just can’t do it.”

We can probably name a loved one immediately who we want to come be with us during an event of this nature. Maybe a child? A grandchild? Maybe this loved one also has a significant other, but not married, who also has a family member who is a best friend with two children. If we want one, we then get them all. Did you plan for five vs the one?

This would most likely be a very painful situation and our decision could be the ending of a relationship or cause the ending of a loved ones relationship if we forced them to leave a loved one outside the door. Do we have what it takes and the resources to give in and give them all access to our home, our family and the resources we secured for our family.

2. What is my Family’s Opinion?

In any marriage, we are bound to have different opinions about people than our spouse, and this should weigh heavily into our decision. Our husband or wife’s opinion about our favorite cousin might be completely different from ours. The person may have a dreadful past. They may have been a negative influence on our spouse or a family member. They may be annoying or have habits that are not conducive to a confined preparedness environment.

We may wish to have the conversation now with our family about who would stay and why. We should attempt to put personal feelings aside and come to a rational conclusion about whether they would be an asset or a hindrance to our survival plan and try not to get into an argument when we are talking about it. Decide now if it will be a group vote or if the final decision could be ours.

3. How Helpful Have They Been?

I have heard it said that a person’s past record should influence our decision now. During our family conversation, consider including the person’s past as input to a decisions made. Is the person dependable? What type of personality has the person displayed when around us? Are they lazy? Some people are helpful, some are all about themselves and some people are know it all’s. If we cannot tolerate these personality traits now, how will we deal with them when the stress level goes up and we must count on this person?

4. How Helpful Would They Be?

Let us dig a little deeper. How would they benefit our situation, what skills do they have that would help us in a disaster situation. Even if someone is a “pain” and drives us crazy they might have skills that would be useful to us.

Think about and decide what skills they have. Do they have carpentry, electrical, gardening or welding skills? In a case like this, we should the good with the bad to figure out if we give them thumbs up, or thumbs down.

5. What Challenges Do They Bring?

By this point, a person should have figured out the challenges the person brings inside our home. We have discussed what they bring to the table but let us now talk about what they take from the table. The truth is that any time we add someone to the equation the situation becomes more complicated, and sometimes the negatives so outweigh the positives we need to make that tough decision.

Even when we feel agitated when others fail to see the significance of preparing or why it is important to be prepared for a…..disaster….injury…..job loss…..illness, some things we just cannot change. It used to drive me nuts to think I should prepare for others who refuse to take basic steps to make an effort; I do understand it is a catch 22 and I might have to deal with it. How about you?

As tough as it may seem at times trying to do everything in our daily life while trying to put a plan together to prepare on the budget we have available, the bottom line is we either plan to include others or else we must be willing to turn everyone away. Are we willing to face this moment and make this choice?

Here is another “what if” we may have to decide. What if so many people shows up at our door together that we have to decide to pull the plug and bug out? Yes, leave our home. Our plan included the possibility of criminals and gangs showing up but not a large number of family members.

So now we must decide, how much extra should we prepare?

Because we can only do what we can do, and sometimes storage space and money are limited, I ask myself “how can they make my situation better?” Maybe saying that we should turn this into a positive is a little optimistic, but at least try to make it a little less negative.

Storing extra beans, rice, flour and dry goods will go a long way and give us the basics we will need, but at some point, it will run out. Now what? If we accept these individuals in to our home, they must immediately agree to support our plans and begin helping with duties and chores.

Calculate the increase in food requirements and begin planning how to meet these needs.

Set the guidelines and expectations from day one. We need to let them know that if we are going to let them stay with us for however long that might be we expect them to help. What is impossible for 2 or 3 people to do in a day might be possible with more people, expanding the garden, foraging, hunting, raising more animals for food and building/repairing will become more possible with more people.

At some point early, we may have to have the dreaded “Come to Jesus” talk to get everything on the table and lay out a clear path that is acceptable to both sides. We may even need to lower our expectations because most unprepared people will try to hold on to their Pollyanna reality as long as possible, they will be like a junkies going through withdraws. This is why it is important to set our expectations from day one.

We might hear things like “why are you rationing the water? This will be over in a day or two?” or “Look at all this food, were going to eat like kings!” These people might have no idea what we could be in for, and need to be set straight before it becomes a problem.

Then at some point, it might become necessary to have the “come to Jesus talk” and we must remember, people will tell you whatever you want to hear to get your help. Just remember, if they are not holding up their end of the bargain we might have to have the tough conversation neither one of us want to have.

One thing we could consider saying is “this is what you told me you would do when you came here, and this is what you are actually doing (or not doing), how are we going to fix this? Does this mean you need to go? Or are you going to get onboard and pull your weight?”

Problems like these are bound to happen, and we should consider how to recognize and handle it when we need face it, otherwise disappearing and not letting people know where you are might be the better option. This makes me think back to a time in high school back in WV. I rode the school bus and one day when I arrived the house was empty. No one was home. My family had moved and did not say anything before I left for school. Yes, they later showed up to pick me up. My point is, when I went to enter the house it was empty and there was no note to tell me where they went. It worked. Is the best solution, huh?

What say you?


Bravo Echo Out

37 views2 comments


MSgt Hunter - That is good news. I hear you have a good neighborhood plan. Chainsaw Charlie and Lumberjack Larry may need to start downing trees if things doesn't start changing directions soon.


I've told the wives family to bring all their food guns and ammo if the come here. Additional people to secure the neighborhood would be useful. I live on a lake so I could fish for food

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