Surviving on the Family Plan – Extended Family

Todd’s Note – This is an article provided by Leda Hagel, a prepper and reader of Prepper Website.  It is an article that is important for all preppers with extended families.  Please read the article and feel free to add some of your own pieces of advice and thoughts in the comments section.

There are an unending number of categories of preparedness to consider, from food storage to medical supplies, power and water to home security. The list goes on and on. These are all extremely important areas of focus and I, for one, am so grateful for all the articles, books, and videos that other preppers have provided to guide me in these endeavors.

I want to applaud those of you who are forty and under, still raising your families and somehow managing to prepare for future needs. It’s not easy, but it is admirable and praiseworthy. My husband and I have raised our children and they are now in the category I just mentioned. So, what will they do when hard times come?

I want to share with you some of our family plans, sharing ways you can survive as a whole family together, even though the whole family currently lives in three different states. If your family is like mine, you want to be together when it hits the fan, not miles or even states apart without reliable communication, wondering and praying that everyone is alright. In order to do that, you’ll need a plan.

 My husband and I live on one hundred remote acres of land purchased and specifically developed for a GOOD (Get Out Of Dodge) day. If you don’t already have a place, you do not need to purchase as much land as we did. A few acres will do.

Your grown children are probably not unlike ours. Three are homeowners with significant mortgages. One rents. All of ours are currently employed, however, that is only true part of the time. Finding and holding on to good employment these days in difficult at best. Another sign of the times. Two live approximately six hours drive from us. One is fourteen hours drive away and the last is more than twenty hours away. There are ten grandchildren, one great grandchild, six dogs and two cats scattered among them. If your children are not only scattered, but deeply embedded in their locations like ours are, you will need a plan that suits their location and distance from the family survival location. Here are a few things we have planned as a family. Keep in mind that each of them lives in or just outside a major city. (Not my first choice, but necessary when you need employment to raise your family).

Keep a realistic perspective. Though our goal is to all be together, there is always the possibility that one or all of them may not be able to “get out” in time. They may need to survive where they are. Therefore, each one is gathering food stores, emergency supplies and security measures to stay in place if necessary. At the same time, they are moving items they want to preserve or supplies to assist to the family site when they come to visit. If the best case scenario happens and they are able to make it here, they are prepared with 72 hour packs for each member of their family. Each one also has three to five 5gal. gas cans that are kept full in their garages. They will periodically fill their empty vehicles from these cans and then refill the cans to keep the gas in them fresh. If a GOOD day comes and their vehicles can still be filled locally, the gas cans will provide fuel along the way. If the vehicle tank is empty and gas is no longer available in their area, they will have enough fuel to barely make it to the family base. Note: If we are all paying attention to current events, you should know enough to leave for your survival location before the masses know what’s happening and panic. Each of our children have basic first aid training, firearms training and a commitment to their family’s safety. They have each mapped out a route from their location to ours, avoiding areas of high population where possible.

Decide in advance what you can take with you and what must be left behind. This is not an easy thing to do and that is why some items are being brought to the family site ahead of time. There will not be time to make those decisions when a GOOD day arrives. The GOOD day list is short. Food, Fuel, Family, Firearms.

  • Food – This includes your 72 hour packs (which also include first aid supplies and water).
  • Fuel – These are the gas cans you’ve been storing. Hopefully, they are still full.
  • Family – This should actually be at the top of the list. That goes without saying.
  • Firearms – None of us has a desire to harm others, however, it is likely that you will encounter others on the road who are not as well prepared as you. Whether or not we defend our families is never in question.

Beyond this list, anything else you have room to pack is good.

Assessing your family skills and developing new ones if possible. Surviving as a family is dependent, in part, on the skills you have available to you. Among our family skills are mechanic, maintenance and repair expert, accountant with excellent management and organizing skills, dental assistant, touch healer, herbal medicine maker, former military medic, former military perimeter defense specialist and several excellent marksmen. We also have experienced gardeners, food preservers, cooks, seamstresses, musicians, writers, homeschool teachers and willing laborers. It takes a whole family for a whole family to survive.

To us, the family survival location preppers, prepare as though everyone will arrive with only the clothes on their backs. At our end, the rule is simple. Don’t throw anything away that can be used again or in another way. I save ALL clothing no matter if it is his or hers, small or big, new or old. Someone will be able to wear it when times are hard, or it can be altered to fit. If it is full of holes or torn beyond repair, it goes in the fabric bag to be made into patches or braid rugs or another piece of a new blanket. The same is true for shoes and coats. “Something” to wear on your feet or keep you warm when it’s cold is better than nothing. Save all those pieces of bar soap that you’ve been throwing away. I’ve been doing in for years and they really add up. Besides washing up, they can be shaved and used for laundry or even shampoo. There are countless other tips you can find on the preppers web site. In short, I design my food and supply storage as though I’m taking care of the whole family.

My goal is to have a small general store of sorts here on site so that those who had to leave everything behind might be able to find something to fill the gap. Some of you might be thinking, “I don’t have the money to do all that.” Well, I don’t either. You’ll need to get creative and look for bargains. Here’s an example. I found eight items of quality clothing at a thrift store sale for sixteen dollars. That was a good deal. They’re out there. Keep looking. Here at the family site, we have our own power, water and a very large garden area. We have also planted fruit trees and a variety of berries. We are surrounded by state land and there is plenty of game if needed. Soon we will be adding chickens for eggs and meat.

Plan ahead for additional shelters and privacy space if you can. Our home is spacious, but even so, with the whole family here, it would be crowded. It would be a shame to have the skills and supplies to survive and then end up wanting to kill each other after only a few weeks because there is no space for privacy. No matter how much you love each other, you’ll need time alone and a space to have it. A part of the family plan must include living space options. Here are a few. One son is currently looking to buy an inexpensive used travel trailer which he can park here to use when they visit or as a living space when they are here to stay. Another son is considering a used motorhome. He is only six hours away and would be able to carry more supplies when it’s time to come. It will only need to make a short trip one way and will then make an excellent private space for him and his wife and family. Another possibility we’ve looked into is a surplus army tent. I was able to find a 16’x 20’ heavy duty army tent with wood flooring and a wood stove chimney flap for $900. 16’x 20’ is a big space. It’s practically a small apartment. You will have to consider the severity of winter in your location. This particular tent will manage a light snow load and up to 50mph winds. If you have the ability to put it under a roof, like a carport, it could be a year round residence for your family member. Of course, they would still use the bathroom and kitchen in the house, but they would also have a spacious private area. Bunk houses are another option. The more private space you can set up, build or convert, the easier it will be on everyone in the long run and your family will thank you for it.

Rules and chores. This will be an important part of your plan. Once everyone has arrived safely, the hard part begins. In a notebook we have made a list of daily chores, safety protocols, health guidelines and other pertinent guidelines to help keep things running smoothly. In that way, major decisions are already made, cutting down on chaos and uncertainty. Everyone, even the young children, will have an important role to play in day to day life. Many chores can be rotated weekly so that no one is always stuck with the same job. Placing a qualified individual in charge of areas they know best will provide structure and leadership to your group. A caution here: A leadership role is not a role of power. It is a role of service to others, performed with love and caring for those you serve. It is an opportunity to teach what you know to others so that they may one day become leaders. Some of your family, especially the young, may feel frightened by all of this. A sense of order can go a long way toward restoring calm and a feeling of security.

I hope some of these ideas have been helpful to you. It is my hope and prayer that we may all find ourselves surrounded by our loved ones when we face the challenges to come. A good plan will help us get there.

This article first appeared on

This article first appeared on Ed That Matters.

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Todd Sepulveda

I'm the owner/editor of Prepper Website, a DAILY preparedness aggregator that links to the best preparedness articles on the internet. I'm also a public school administrator and a pastor. My personal blog is Ed That Matters, where I write about preparedness and from time to time, education. Connect with me on one of my social media outlets below.

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  1. Catherine June 2, 2013
  2. Old Dude June 3, 2013
  3. Leda June 5, 2013
  4. Pingback: The $5 Prepper | June 30, 2013

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