It's a big question right? More people mean more eyes and ears to watch your back and keep your property safe, but who do you bring in?
I've formed a strong group of friends and family already who are my core survival team, but I always get extended family and others who like to joke: "Oh, when disaster strikes, I'm coming to your house."
Which drives me insane. It's not only the stupidity and the lack of planning that gets me mad, but its the arrogance that they'll be welcomed into your home when food and water are in scarce supply.
If we were to look at it using a different example, it'd be like saying this:
- If my car breaks down, I'll borrow yours.
- If I run out of money, you'll pay my way, right?
- If I lose my home, I'm coming to stay with you.
None of these are things that a normal person would do in a normal situation, and it's a selfish way to approach life if this is how you approach the world.
To me, you've got to be self-reliant. It goes part-in-parcel with being a responsible father, and ensuring your family is looked after, no matter what. Part of this is taking proactive action before a disaster strikes, so you're not the one knocking on door after door just to get a mouthful of food to feed your starving kids.
Now my advice may come off as a little harsh, but if you've not got the foresight to put a little bit of money, food and supplies away each week, you're going to be in for a rude surprise if you turn up at my door with your hand out. You're probably going to be sent away with nothing.
After all, I've worked hard to put my supplies together. I spent a significant amount of money stockpiling not only my guns and ammunition, but creating resources that would ensure my children never have to go hungry. You wouldn't expect me to pay for your dinner tonight, and I seriously doubt you'd hand over a couple of boxes of free ammunition on the shooting range, so why would either of these be considered OK once the SHTF?
Of course, it's never that simple, and here's the tricky part. When a disaster does happen it's just common decency to chip in. So how would you handle someone on your doorstep asking for food? How about with a family member who knows you're a "prepper" and your year's supply of baked beans in the basement?
It's a tough call.
I've got two strategies.
I know it's going to be gut-wrenching to turn people away when I've got supplies, so I've intentionally stored more than I believe my family will need, so I can be charitable without needing to put the health of my own family at risk. A few extra cans of food may be all it takes to get the gang of hooligans onside so they leave your house alone, or to keep your neighbors healthy enough to have them watching your back throughout the crisis. Now you don't want to get labelled as the local food bank, but I'd not be able to say no if there were kids going hungry while I had plenty.
I've also had a serious discussion with all of my family members who I believe have an intention of turning up to my place. In my heart, I know many will be on my doorstep, and considering my family it's better to be prepared beforehand. I've made survival plans for each of them, giving them ideas on what they should be buying a little extra of in the shops each week. Most were grateful, and all they needed was a little push and some guidance on the types of supplies to buy.
But that's not the best part.
Based on an idea I got from a fellow survivalist on Homestead Dreamer, I've given them a list of supplies they need to bring if they intend to turn up at my house once a disaster hits. Kind of like the "key" to being let in, it's a shopping list that encompasses about a month's worth of food. If they want to turn up on my door to ride out the crisis, by all means they're welcome to, but you'll need to ensure you don't come empty handed, and contribute to the overall group.
Along these same lines I've also been giving out some very survivalist-themed Christmas gifts to my extended family these last few years. It's always good for a laugh, and despite all the relatives shaking their heads at me, it's reassuring to know they're going to have at least some of the basics if a disaster happens. This year I gave out "Hurricane Kits" which were simply our EVATEC Combat Bags, filled with enough food to last 5 days, a flashlight and a water filter. The bare minimum yes, but even if they get stuffed in the back of a cupboard, I'm happier knowing they've got a little to get by once the shops shut and the grid goes down.
I've made it through a number of disasters in my day, and hopefully I'll never have to deal with another one, but that's not up to me to decide. All I can do is ensure that I'm prepared, that my family and friends are prepared, and I know exactly what to do when I have freeloaders turning up on my door with their hands out. I'm a charitable guy, and you may get a can of food or two, but only if it's not going to risk the safety and well-being of my family. Because I'm the only one that'll be looking out for them, and I advise you to ensure you're not relying on anyone else to keep your family fed.