Getting Through A Crisis Together
Surviving a crisis can be hard work. Even if you’re fit, well equipped and filled with survival knowledge, a natural disaster or social breakdown is going to be challenging for anyone.
Unfortunately, if you have a family to look after as well, things can get exponentially harder. The last thing you want is to not have a plan or make things up as you go. Your family’s survival depends on it.
Make Sure Your Family Knows the Plan
When a crisis hits, your first priority is to get your family together. Because you can’t rely on communications — cell phones might not be working — you need to have a prearranged place to meet. It’s easy to get over-elaborate here, but the plans that work best in emergencies are usually the simplest.
There’s an obvious place for you all to head to in an emergency — home. You all know it and how to get there. It’s as secure as any place, and probably more secure than most. You also have all your possessions (including survival gear) there. So, if at all possible, the first thing you should all do is get home.
Obviously, there’s a chance that won’t be possible, so you need to choose an alternate location — one that’s easy to get to from common places where you’re all at (school, work, doctor’s offices), but far enough from home that it shouldn’t be affected by the same problems. Don’t get too clever and arrange more than one alternate, because that can be confusing, especially for kids. Good choices are a friend or relative’s house.
If you have small kids, you might not want to risk them trying to get anywhere alone. It’s usually better if you teach them to stay wherever they are — school, maybe, or a friend’s house — until someone can go there to collect them.
What If It’s Not Simple?
Not everyone plans to ride out a crisis at home. If you’ve organized a bug-out location (BOL), make sure your family knows how to get there and — more importantly — when to go there.
You might decide that if you haven’t made it home within 24 hours of the crisis hitting, they should go to the BOL without you. If that’s arranged in advance, you’ll know at what point you should stop trying to get home and start making for the BOL instead.
Make sure everyone knows what to take with them if they leave home. The best idea is to have a pre-packed bug-out bag (BOB) for each family member. Leave space in them for extras — designate someone to empty the refrigerator into their bag, for example.
Practice Makes Perfect
Once you’ve worked out your family survival plan, practice it just to make sure everyone knows what they’re doing. You don’t have to make this a full dress rehearsal; if your BOL is 50 miles away, don’t make your family walk there.
Just go through what everyone needs to do — grab their BOBs, collect any medication and papers that need to go along, put on warm clothes and walking shoes and that kind of thing. Practice helps things go smoothly — and gives them confidence in their ability to survive. And sometimes, confidence is all you have.