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Sunday, August 28, 2022

Who Will Take Care of Extended Family Members Post-Disaster?

By Aden Tate

Have you thought about who will take care of extended family members, post-disaster? If you are the one who will be caring for them, have you thought about what that entails? You likely have a plan to gather up your spouse, kids, or grandkids in the event of a disaster in your region. But what about the others?

You never know who may show up at your door post-disaster

Family is family, and if you are the “crazy prepper” relative, you can likely expect relatives to show up post-disaster. You may have tried to convince some of them to prep to no avail. And here they are, at your door.

Let’s assume there’s been a shutdown of all ports (causing a severe gasoline shortage). Multiple power grid cyberattacks have left much of the US in the dark. As well, strange weather events have caused the failure of most American crops this year. Two weeks have passed since everything took a turn for the worst, and the US is in chaos. There is no food, riots have erupted, and thugs are systematically robbing and murdering their way from neighborhood to neighborhood.

Would you turn family away? If the answer is no, you will need plans to ensure that everybody is cared for. Here are some of my thoughts on the best way to prepare and plan for that aunty and three cousins who showed up.

For those who want to help but feel they would be putting themselves at risk, this article can help.
Where will they sleep?

If you have extra furnished bedrooms in your home, this will significantly help. However, what if the number of family members that show up exceeds the number of beds and couches? I think camping cots and sleeping bags make for a fantastic means of sleeping extra people.

Sleeping on a hard floor is pretty rough, regardless of how young you are. A sleeping cot or sleeping pad can significantly improve the quality of one’s sleep. Paired with an extra sleeping bag can help ensure your relatives can stay warm as well on cold winter nights. After all, power outages go hand in hand with disasters!


What will they eat?

It’s a realistic expectation that extended family members will show up at some point post-disaster. Therefore, you should consider that in your food preps. I am not suggesting you need to fully prep for more than just your immediate family. However, adding a bit of extra food for cases like these is a good idea.

Perhaps you should make it clear ahead of time to extended family that if they are coming your way and may stay indefinitely, they should pack and carry as much food as possible in their vehicle. I think it’s something of a fuzzy line here that requires discretion, but hey, it’s food for thought. If someone is escaping an incoming hurricane, that’s one thing. But if we’re talking unrestricted warfare that’s taking place against the American people, that’s something entirely different.
What if they show up with nothing?

I do think there is some benefit in having extras. Imagine that the above scenario has taken hold, and your niece and her 5-month-old show up at your doorstep with literally nothing but a diaper bag. Her car doesn’t work, she has no idea where her husband is, and her home was burned down by an arsonist mob late last night.

In such a scenario, having an extra coat, extra shoes, extra rifle, extra pistol, and so on could prove of great value. It’s for this reason I like to hang onto old coats when they’ve seen better days. I’m not turning my home into a Walmart, and I’m not anywhere close to starring in an episode of Hoarders: Buried Alive. However, I am doing what I can to take care of somebody if they show up at my house unprepared.

Will you be out rounding up extended family?

Are you going to go pick up extended family members or leave them to their own devices? If you have the setup necessary to keep them safe, could you live with yourself if you don’t pick them up?

Let’s say your granny lives on the other side of town, typically a 45-minute drive away. There’s no way you’re going to leave her to fend for herself during all the chaos. Do you have the means to get her and her stuff safely back to your place?

Do you have a vehicle:with enough space to accommodate what she needs?
that she can get in and out of okay?
that is reliable to get you from point a to point b?

Consider as well there are advantages in security and chore efficiency when you have more people on your side. Many hands mean lighter work.
Do you have an extended family communication plan if the SHTF?

Most of us know communication plans are crucial during disasters and already have them created for immediate family. However, even if they don’t come to your house, you will still want to know that your nieces and nephews are safe. Or that your elderly aunt and uncle are not being preyed upon by malicious people. Proper communication channels let you know:who is where
what they need
if they are okay
what strange things are going on in their area
and more

How will you communicate with them if the phone and internet are down?

If it’s still safe to do so, perhaps this entails driving once a week to everybody’s house to ensure they’re alright. But what do you do in a more severe scenario where that’s not an option? These are questions that are beneficial to think through. Do so now while you have ample time rather than being forced to ad-lib everything post-disaster.
Ultimately, there are a lot of variables to consider here

Your plans for extended family post-disaster will depend on the type of disaster, its duration, and more. You’re never going to have all the answers here, and you can’t be 100% prepared for 100% of the problems that get thrown your way.

However, dealing with extended family in the event of a disaster is something to think about sooner rather than later. Hopefully, this article has gotten your gears turning on the subject to help you develop your game plan for post-disaster extended family care and concerns.
So, who will take care of your extended family post-disaster?

I’d love to hear from you and garner some of your input on the subject. I often find The Organic Prepper comments section to have some of the most informative opinions. Who will care for your children? Will you care for the children of others? Do you have additional planning for these purposes? Join the conversation and let us know your thoughts.

About Aden

Aden Tate has a master’s in public health and is a regular contributor to,,,,, and In addition, he is a freelance writer and also works part-time as a locksmith. On his micro-farm, Aden raises dairy goats, a pig, honeybees, and chickens. He also grows tomatoes, mushrooms, and greens. He has two published books, The Faithful Prepper and Zombie Choices. You can find his podcast The Last American at Preppers’ Broadcasting Network.

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