How to deal with unprepared family members

For those of us prepared for emergencies and disasters, there is a good chance that we have family members that aren’t prepared at all.

They seem to either believe that “everything will work out,” or “the government will take care of me.”

This is wrong-headed thinking in so many ways that I can’t address them all here…

But primarily, this type of thinking could get the unprepared person killed.

If the pandemic didn’t prove that to people, then they weren’t paying attention.

So, with that being said, here are a few ways you can help unprepared family members get started preparing for a disaster.

Start small:

If you have an unprepared family member you should introduce them to interesting and cool gadgets.

For example, a small water filter or a small amount of survival food or a survival knife.

My point it to start small and introduce them to some of the things about being prepared for a disaster.

Taking this approach, and getting small points of buy in and interest, can go a long way to get them interested in being prepared.

Talk about disaster plans:

There is nothing wrong with talking about being prepared for a disaster with family. If you are at a family gathering it could be a topic that comes up.

But if you are like me, you will probably have a family member that says they will just come to your house.

This is a good time to bring up the fact that they need to be prepared as well, and not to simply rely on you and your supplies.

Explain that you have put a lot of time and effort into building up survival supplies such as food and water storage.

And mention you will feel terrible having to turn people away during a disaster, which is why should be prepared to keep their own immediate family safe and fed.

Go on to talk about how you hope you have enough supplies for your family, and not to count on your preparations for themselves.

You can even bring up other family members that are unprepared and talk about how you don’t know if you can help anyone out during a disaster.

Explain that you won’t be able to help a ton of people without putting your immediate family at risk.

Who has useful skills?:

If an unprepared family member has any skill set, you should consider helping them since they can help you.

For instance, if you have a family member with medical training you might want to help them in any way you can. Ideally, have this discussion before a disaster strikes.

The more you talk to your family member about helping, the more they may consider their own preparations.

You can also talk to your family members about things you are lacking and see if it is something they can help you with.

Someone may surprise you with an item, or knowledge you never knew they had, and this could spur them on to getting even more prepared themselves.

Don’t pressure them:

No one likes to be pressured. It’s uncomfortable, and people’s defenses immediately go up when this happens.

So, the best way to help unprepared family members is to present them with facts.

During a disaster, it will be hard to turn people away, especially if they are family.

Talk with your immediate family and discuss what you will do during a disaster when family members want help.

Be honest. Prepare yourself and your family to have a hard conversation.

Explain that you might not be able to help, even other family members. Tell your family that you are willing to help those who help themselves.

If everyone in your extended family knows your stance ahead of time, it may prompt them to act.

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