IMPORTANT: I wrote this post to get people to think about this very likely situation. Today we have the luxury of thinking in black and white, but each SHTF scenario will require different actions, and all those actions will have different consequences and repercussions. Whether you agree or disagree is not important…thinking about it is.
Could you Really Turn Family Away During a DisasterOne part of prepping that is sometimes overlooked or not given the consideration it deserves is what you will do when someone comes knocking on your door. I’m not talking about the wondering stranger, I’m talking about close family members that may or may not know you are prepping.

The question we need to ask ourselves and think about very seriously is who you would turn away, and what extended family members would you help out in a disaster or SHTF event.

Unfortunately this is just the first step, now you need to think about how you are going to handle the situation of having extra mouths to feed. This is all dependent on whether you decide to help them or turn them away, and as I said in the last article, (and I am talking about close family, not the entire family) I just couldn’t turn close family members away. If you could, my bet is there are other circumstances that weigh into your decision other than survival.

Missed it by That Much…

How would you decide who could stay and who needed to go away? This is a tough question, but it’s one we really need to put a lot of thought into. Deciding on who would make the cut could be the difference between surviving and thriving, or throwing everything you have down the tubes.

To me there are a few factors that I would have to think about…

1. How Close Are They?

It’s just not feasible to think that you can bring everyone and everyone they bring with them in during an SHTF event, most of us can barely afford to get ourselves prepared. Like it or not, we are going to have to figure out how to say “I just can’t do it”

In the podcast we used my son and his fiancée as an example, I absolutely want him here, and I know he won’t come without her. She has her twin sister that she is very close to and who knows who else she would want to bring along, so how do I handle that situation?

As much as it would pain me I would have to have a conversation with my son and tell him that he has a choice to make. If he chooses to stay it will only be him and her, if he chooses to stay with her I would help as much as I could and send them on their way.

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 your decision. Your husband or wife’s opinion about your favorite cousin might be completely different than yours.

Have a conversation now with your family about who would stay and why, try to put personal feelings aside and come to a rational conclusion about whether they would be an asset or a hindrance to your survival plan. Also, try not to get into an argument when you’re talking about this, a divorce is the last thing you want.

3. How Helpful Have They Been?

During your conversation with your family your past experiences with this person are bound to come up. What is their personality like? And how has our past relationship been?

Some people are helpful, some are all about themselves and some people are know it all’s. We can tolerate these personality traits now, but in an SHTF situation these traits will be magnified.

4. How Helpful Would They Be?

I dig a little deeper into this later, but think about how they would benefit your situation, what skills do they have that would help you in a disaster situation. Even if someone is a “one upper” and it drives you crazy, they might have skills that would be useful to you.

Do they have carpentry, electrical, gardening or welding skills? In situations like these we will need to weigh the good with the bad to figure out if we give them a thumbs up, or a thumbs down.

5. What Challenges Do They Bring?

Just as important as thinking about what they bring to the table is what they will be taking from the table. The truth is that any time you add someone to the equation the situation becomes more complicated, and sometimes the negatives so outweigh the positives you need to make that tough decision.

The Double Edged Sward

As much as it drives me nuts knowing that I shouldn’t have to prepare for someone who doesn’t see why it’s important, I do understand that this is a catch 22 that I might have to deal with.

We can barely prepare for ourselves, let alone for the family members that might end up on our doorstep, but unless you are willing to turn everyone away it is a problem you are bound to face.

One other option that could be another article all by itself is bugging out altogether. We always think about security from marauders and criminals, but what if so many people end up at your door that you have no option other than leave, you might have to.

How Much Extra do you Prepare?

Because we can only do what we can do, and sometimes storage space and money are limited I think more along the lines of “how can they make my situation better?” Maybe saying that you 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 you the basics you will need, but at some point it will run out. Have plans in place to use them like you would an employee, start thinking like a post collapse CEO.

Set the guidelines and expectations from day one. You need to let them know that if you are going to let them stay there for however long that might be you 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.

The Come to Jesus Talk

Come to Jesus talkAt first we might 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’s important to set your expectations from day one.

You 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.

At some point it might become necessary to have what I call the “come to Jesus talk” people will tell you whatever you want to hear to get your help, but if they are not holding up their end of the bargain you might have to have the tough conversation neither one of you want to have.

You might have to say…

“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 these are situations we need to be able to face, otherwise disappearing and not letting people know where you are might be the better option.

What Would you Do?

This is a question a friend in our Facebook group posed and we dig into it because it is a situation we might need to think about. Would you turn people away and why? Let us know in the comments below.

Note: I have no problem with people disagreeing with me and explaining why, but is you are just going to be negative and rude don’t bother commenting…it won’t be approved.


Survival and being prepared should not only be a passion, it should be a lifestyle. The definition of a prepper is "An individual or group that prepares or makes preparations in advance of, or prior to, any change in normal circumstances, without substantial resources from outside sources" Like the Government, police etc. I don't believe that the end of the world will be the "end of the world" I believe it will be the end of the world as we know it now. You can also find me on Google Plus and Twitter

    22 replies to "Could you Really Turn Family Away During a Disaster?"

    • DesertGal

      I know I will be in this situation with my sister. She and her husband focus on every ache and pain, do few or none of their own chores (hire labor for most routine chores) and go on lavish vacations, In my few discusions with her on coming emergency situations, she acknowledges they aren’t prepared and should be, but she makes no progress. Her two main excuses are that it affects her health to think so negatively, and that they can’t afford to buy the expensive canned food. She has put by a week or two of beans and rice, but that’s about it. They recently spent 5-figures on an RV they never use, however. Unless they are just very good at OPSEC, I know they will be on our doorstep expecting for us to diminish our stores by half to feed them. Although I know it will be hard, we will need to tell them to keep moving when that happens.

      • Rose

        Oh, my goodness, you are talkin about my own sister aren’t you? My sister knows the probabilities, and she has canned maybe 2 weeks worth of jelly and pickles, maybe she has picked up a bag of rice and a few dried beans, but she can’t do that and go on her lavish vacations and ball games out of town by fancy cars a big three story house and those things. Oh heck no She nor her grown children are coming to my house and take food out of my own children and grandchildren’s mouths. Not going to happen

    • RayK

      You left out Statement #1 for everyone that manages to get to or through the door; ‘I am in charge.” The Pollyanna type you reference is almost everyone in my family and my wife’s family. Sadly, I don’t think any SHTF reality would fit their world view, so they would have a very difficult time convincing me that they would be a benefit to the group.

      While I would be quite willing to listen to any of their suggestions, I’ll be making the decisions. Chronic whining, resistance, creating morale problems or shirking work would result in them getting a bag of beans, a pat on the back and my best wishes as they exit the group.

      • laura m.

        Agree, however we have no extra room, (most of us don’t) and they would have to have their own living arrangements and their own food and preps, as everyone must be responsible for their own family unit period. Most of us cannot afford to let anyone in, but if one person was an asset -good with guns and mechanical expertise fine, they’d have to bring their own bed and linens, extra food and supplies only if I had an extra room which I don’t. Most all relatives of preppers are slackers and think they are entitled to whatever. Several prepper groups can live on same land for example and work together like gardening, hunting food, yet have their own personal stuff, food and water. They could have small cabins or campers. The key here is not to blab your biz or what you are stockpiling to anyone other than spouse. Don’t even tell your kids or siblings.

    • Diver Down

      Great post Dale, this is a tough one. There is also the choice of your best friends, a couple of them I would pick over family! This is where we as ‘preps’ MUST start teaching, informing and helping to prepare our chosen group, BEFORE the SHTF. This alone will tell you what you need to know about your ‘chosen’ group. Are they going to be team players, do they understand what is needed of them, are they preping to bring goods to the group and as you mentioned, what skills do they bring. There are so many that are clueless, choose wisely. When the lost find out you or your group have food and water, you are a target. They will kill you to get it, hard choices will have to be made. Good luck preps, Molon Labe

    • Susan

      I have a couple of good friends that I have been trying to get to stock up, but to no avail. They spend tons of money buying junk food and eating out, but don’t believe that things will ever go south. They are both disabled and have said that if the SHTF they will come to my house. I would have to turn them away in favor of people who would help and be an asset, but what do you bet the ones you turn away will be the first ones to turn you in? I think ‘good friends’ and relatives could turn into your worst nightmare since they know you have prepared.

      • laura m.

        Susan: before y2k, I tried to inform close friends, most complied with prepping because of many articles, books on it, also the news talking about y2k.. I never discuss it anymore period. Too risky and feel adults are responsible to take care of their own. I never go around to anyone and blab my biz (ex: work, church, neighbors, etc. ) Hubby and I keep to ourselves and are not involved in any civic or patriot type groups or social networks online. We quit voting decades ago knowing it is a total farce.

    • Illini Warrior

      When this topic comes up or the close related discussion of SHTF charity – I’m always bewildered ….

      Preppers will say they have supplies for “X” more people to harbor or “X” amount of supplies that can be given out as charity …. ????? – how exactly is this determination being made when the SHTF termination date is a total mystery or at best a major guess-a-mation based on BS intel ….

      The wrong decision means your supplies bottom out months short of springtime salvation or possible return to some normalcy ….

    • colt triarii

      Bottom line, dont tell non prepper family members.

      After a disaster you may have more than you need, since we dont get to choose the survivors.

    • TPSnodgrass

      I am pretty sure at some point, my very toxic and only sister would show up with her husband number four and DEMAND that we take care of them. That would be a very difficult test of my personal character I believe.

    • Grampa

      If many have relative like my inlaws and outlaws the answer would be yes for the only thing they do efficiently is reproduce and consume. The only ones I would let in is people who can contribute more than they consume. feelings cannot over rule logic and reasoning Most Americans go on vacation with the notion of roughing it as no room service. most couldn’t start a fire without a match or lighter. We could give them a good knife a tent and three days of water and we would find them dead in two weeks. most couldn’t light the match in a stiff wind. game could be plentiful but they would still starve to death. Take away the woods and place them in a devastated city and wouldn’t survive because another who has even less skill would take what you have. The zombie movies are not far off for the fact at first only the food you have would be taken along with any guns and ammo. Later when the food is gone I have no doubt they would eat each other. shelter and protection is primary. In the north it will quickly become the first concern and if they see smoke they see a way to keep warm and wont care if you are related or not. You must be invisible for at least six months. It wont be enough to have enough to eat but to conceal what you have and protect it. I see a small amount that will survive.

      • OhSoTired

        The smoke would be a dilemma for sure- I burn wood–my neighbors across the road (the dreaded lake people in their bazillion dollar lake houses)) do not-bottom line is if it gets to this point –my shooters would have to protect the homestead night and day–no questions asked–just put em down–seems harsh but after living here 30 years–they have absolutely NOTHING to offer–skills or supplies–to bad–some nice people BUT completely clueless–nice people don’t stay nice and get very ENTITLED feeling when things get hard–I will feed my own–I will help all others to the other side–period.

      • WestCoastPrepper

        I couldn’t say any better than Grandpa says. Oops I meant Grampa

    • olivia

      This is the reason I say do not share the news that you prep. It is like putting up a big sign advertising for all the unprepared to come and share my hard work. Once one person knows what you are doing, the word will spread. If things go bad, I want to have the choice of who I invite into my home. Otherwise, I might as well be like everyone else and spend my money on clothes, vacations and such. Much like our government who keeps thinking if they throw enough free stuff at the freeloader they will get up and do better…..what a joke. Don’t expect people to change their basic personalities….what you see in good times will be the same in bad times. .

      • OhSoTired

        It’s a sorry state of affairs that we even have to discuss this BUT thanks to our corrupt public officials and the “everybody is special crowd” the world as we knew it has been in decline for quite some time. At some point–allot nearer than distant–it’s gonna collapse. I disagree with your comment on one point–the useless shits with their hands out will become exponentially worse–not maintain their current shithead personalities–10,000 rd minimum stockpile–there’s a lot of shitheads that think you OWE them–hope for a good winterkill to save on ammo–BUT–the time will come when some will come to collect what you OWE them–because they are SPECIAL–give them a boat tail–possums gotta eat to.

    • MrApple

      Turn away the family that laughed at my “paranoia” and at my “wasting time worrying about stuff that will never happen”.
      Yes, I could turn them away easily.

    • PJ

      We are prepared to accept immediate family even if it means inconveniences. That’s around 6 extra people which would severely cut into our supplies but we simply cannot turn them away. The only caveat is: my wife and I are in charge and make the rules. You do what we say, all day every day. If you don’t like it: leave.

      You want to benefit from our skills and preps? When I say jump you’d better ask how high.

      • Wheezl

        Succinct and well stated.

    • Maximus Stomholde

      SHTF is a time i wouldn’t even think once before kicking anyone out if they begin to cut into my supplies.

      My immediate family makes fun of me for being overtly paranoid, a tin foil hatter. What they don’t realize is we are living in the end times.

      • WestCoastPrepper

        I thought that I am the only one. My in law laughed at me for saving too many gallons of water “paranoid” was the exact words. It hurts, but I love my wife dearly. So they are part of 0ur plan too. I feel for you brother.

    • Terry

      Its good to see this being discussed. There is a thing called the doughnut diet that you may not have heard of. Just white flour, oil (Crisco), and sugar.For several months survival, calories are what is needed, and they can be supplied with the above quite cbeaply. The products themselves can be stored easily for an extended time. 250lb of flour is about $75 at Sams Club, and that’s about 100 person/days of surviving. Good luck.

    • dave

      One question that I haven’t seen answered is, What if they wont leave? That’s an even bigger issue. I have had several family members that know I prep say that their plan for a crisis is “come to your place” I have repeatedly told them if that is their plan, they can put their preps at our retreat. Not one item has been stored there. (because they have none) family or not, what do you do if they refuse to leave? That’s the question that really needs to be answered. And for all the people that act like “getting rid of them” is an easy thing to actually do, for most people, that is a fantasy. If there are some military and police that have a hard time pulling the trigger on someone, when it is totally justified, don’t think that it will be in anyway easy. And if it actually would be easy for you, you may want to seek mental help. You still have to live with your decisions.

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