Written by 11:54 am Emergency, Family

Staying Alive Without Compromising Your Integrity: Ethics in Family Emergency Preparedness


In the midst of emergencies, families often find themselves facing challenging ethical decisions. Indeed, anyone who has ever watched a zombie movie or TV show knows that much of the plot of these shows is driven by the moral and ethical quandaries that arise when one is in a survival scenario.

Balancing the need for survival with maintaining strong moral principles can be a daunting task. You don’t want to live through the worst of a survival scenario only to have compromised your integrity – something that you will have to live with for the rest of your life. 

Like any other aspect of survivalism, you need to start preparing for tough ethical and moral decisions during an emergency or disaster today, rather than trying to figure it out on the fly. 

Prioritizing Safety Without Compromising Integrity


Emergency situations may demand quick decisions to ensure the safety of your family. It’s crucial to prioritize safety without compromising your core values. Establishing clear ethical guidelines with your family members is necessary so that everyone knows what to do when a tough decision needs to be made. Ensure everyone in your family and party understands the importance of maintaining integrity even in challenging circumstances.

Ethical Dilemma 1: Fair Distribution of Resources

Scarcity of resources is always a quandary. Fortunately, however, modern industrial capitalism has basically solved the thornier aspects of this by making goods traded openly on a free market. However, in a survival scenario, you can’t count on the latest delivery at the supermarket. 

The scarcity of resources during emergencies may require families to make tough choices about the distribution of essential supplies. Before disaster strikes, establish a fair and transparent system for allocating resources, considering the needs of each family member. Emphasize the importance of sharing resources and working together as a unit.

Ethical Dilemma 2: Helping Others in Need:

Going back to talking about zombie movies, everyone has seen at least one episode where a party helps a stranger and it turns out to be a terrible decision. So how do you know when it’s right and, perhaps more importantly, safe to help others who need your assistance?

Of course, your primary focus is on your own family. Still, discuss with your family the values of compassion and community support and how those apply to survival or disaster scenarios. Establish guidelines in advance for helping others while ensuring the safety and well-being of your family. You should feel absolutely no guilt about that being your top priority. 

Ethical Dilemma 3: Ensuring the Well-Being of Vulnerable Family Members:


It’s just a simple fact: Every group has people who are more vulnerable than others. In a family situation, you’re likely to have children, including younger children. You might also have elderly relatives or even those with special needs to consider when making tough choices. Hashing out these tough choices in advance is better than figuring it out on the fly.  Develop specific plans and protocols to address the unique requirements of these individuals, emphasizing the importance of their safety and care in the context of the larger group.

Preparing for Ethical Challenges in Advance

There are a number of ethical dilemmas that can arise in the context of running a group that transcends specific ethical issues. Considering these higher-level dilemmas in advance is another prudent way to ensure you are ready to deal with them when the time comes. The decisions group leaders make will have long-term consequences, significantly impacting the well-being of all family members as well as the functioning of the unit both during and after any disasters. 

Families with strong moral, spiritual, or religious beliefs may find solace and guidance in their principles during challenging times. Discussing ethical questions related to survival with a spiritual leader in advance can be a useful way to prepare yourself to make decisions you can live with. 

In times of crisis, maintaining ethical standards becomes even more critical. By proactively addressing potential ethical challenges, fostering open communication, and grounding decisions in a shared value system, families can navigate emergencies while upholding their moral principles. Remember, ethical preparedness is as vital as physical preparedness in building a resilient and united family.

Have you given any thought to ethics during a bugout or emergency situation? How did you prepare yourself for them before they became a reality? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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Tags: , , , Last modified: December 5, 2023