Disaster Planning For Divorced and Blended Families


Disaster Planning For Divorced and Blended Families


I’ve been meaning to cover this topic for some time now, as I don’t believe that I’ve seen information regarding how to deal with it and I knew if I was interested in it, maybe someone else out there might be as well.

So with that, I wanted to talk a little about disaster planning for divorced and blended families.
Let me explain what I mean…
Now, we all know what a divorced family is, but what about a blended family?  In my opinion, they can vary and consist of step-parents, step-kids, grandparents raising grandkids, divorced parents who are co-parenting separately, any of these or more, might be considered a blended family. It’s any unique family structure that doesn’t necessarily meet the normal definition, but has definitely become more common over the last 20 years.
Our family consists of my husband and I, and I have a total of four step-daughters. Two of the girls live with us and one lives with her mom, and the oldest lives out of state. I consider our family a blended family because all of the parents participate in the parenting and have their own time with the kids. It really does take a village!

But you may be wondering: How does this relate to prepping?
Well, if the kids are with the other parent, guardian, or etc. Do you have a plan established if something major happens?
I know that getting together with the other parents to discuss this topic, much less actually make a plan can be difficult. Especially if one of the parties are not into preparedness, or worse they think you’re nuts if you are. So, yes it can be a difficult conversation to have, but it is one that is necessary to have. But… where to start?
Here are 5 tips I’ve put together that might help:
1.       Be Real, but Rational:
In cases where the other party simply does not get the whole prepping thing, how you approach the conversation is extremely important. Use relatable scenarios to help the other party understand why a plan is needed.
An Example: “Remember last year when the May 20th tornado came through while the girls were in school? They weren’t letting parents pick up the kids and we were so upset because we all didn’t know what was happening? Well, if something like that happened while you and the kids were at home, what would you do during and afterwards? That way we would know where to find you?”
If giving a specific example like that seems to be too much, simply ask if in the event of a disaster, where they and the kids go if they had to leave and what route they would take.
Then if something were to happen while the kids are in the other parent’s care, if they are not home with you, you would then know where to expect them and follow the same route they would take.
2.       Get Details
 This includes the where, when, how, what, and who
Where they would go?
When would they leave? (Give example)
How they’d get there?
What they would be driving? Or riding with whom?
Who would be with them?
In the first section, we kind of covered the where aspect, but in asking when they would leave it helps to give you an idea of if they would try to leave before the emergency or after. Of course this only applies to certain types of emergencies. If it is a tornado warning for instance, they may have time to leave for shelter early, but it is already on them, this wouldn’t apply.
The “how would they get there” question is to find out who’s driving and what they are driving. As a side note, it is important to keep the make, model, color, and tag number of everyone’s vehicles, and store them in a safe place. This is more important than you think. If they’ve left, but never reach their destination, you can use this information to report these to the authorities. If they plan to get a ride from someone else, you need to know that too. Knowing who all is going can also help if this information has to be reported.

3.       Do They Have a Back-up Route?
Depending on the type of emergency, they may have to avoid their original route. It could be washed way, under construction, or blocked. Find out which alternative route they would take, in case (once again) you have to go find them.
4.       Get a List of Contacts & Give a Contact List Too.
Who should you call in the event that an emergency has happened and you cannot contact the other party? Make sure you have a number to the person’s house that they would go to. You need to have numbers to notify people and give them a list of contacts so they can also contact you in the event that something happens so they can contact you.
5.       Talk to the Kids, Together.
Have a family meeting and talk to the kids and explain why the plan is being made. If your side of the family already has an emergency plan in place (as they should), then the kids are already be aware of the purpose. However, they also need to know what to do if they are away from your house and what you would do also. This is simply a sit down to reassure them that everything will be alright and that you are working as a team to make sure no matter which home they are at, they remain safe.
When having this meeting, also make sure that you are providing the other party with all the information also. That way if you have the children and something were to happen, they are aware of your plan as well.

If the other parent or guardian is open to it, you may also use this opportunity to talk with them about having everyday carry bags (EDC) bags ready for each person as a precaution. (If they are not interested in this, just make one yourself and send along with them when they go for their visit)  A good article I found on this topic was from momwithaprep.com called: For the Kids: Teaching Our Kids about EDC (Everday Carry). She provides different ideas for items that kids should carry, based on their age group. Since we have teens, some of the items she suggested for this age group includes: a wallet for emergency money (I would also mention to carry one for I.d. purposes), a comb, keys, compass, flashlight, pocket knife, multi-tool, lighter, cell phone, and bandana.
I also wanted to mention something about the I.d. in case you are not aware. In our state, the age requirement for anyone to get an I.d. is one week old. Shocking isn’t it? I called to ask as our 'soon to be 15 year old' was curious, and they said that young children get them and even babies as small as a week old and they are good for 4 years. This is a great idea because then you have all their information in one spot and you have their finger prints in the system incase god forbid anything ever happen. If you choose to get your young child an i.d., please remember to update them yearly though so it has a current picture.
Jane from Momwithaprep.com also suggested implementing the I.C.E system within your family. The I.C.E system is the in case of emergency system. Make a print out of emergency contacts and medical information such as blood type, allergies, conditions and medications. I would suggest typing it out and making it the size of an i.d. so that it fits in a wallet, and laminating it. Also remember to place I.C.E contact numbers in your and your child’s phone and place the abbreviation I.C.E before the name of the contact. Remember, the I.C.E. contacts should be parents, grandparents, guardians, or anyone who has the right to make medical decisions on behalf of the child. Then if something were to happen, other people such as police or paramedics can find these immediately !
How ever you chose to start the conversation is up to you. Just remember to do it !


Please share any questions, comments, or suggestions you might add to this discussion.

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