Survival Scenario: Would You Risk Your Entire Family to Save One Person?

Survival ScenarioIt’s easy to think the entire family will be together when a disaster hits, but that’s not always the case. In most survival scenarios, logistics will be a challenge. Everyone, from big city dwellers to rural homesteaders, needs to figure out how to gather everyone in one spot.

That hinges on a family communications plan, but let’s take a look at a survival scenario that could actually happen. Living Ready posted this question to its Facebook page:

A natural disaster (like a flood or a fire) is only an hour from hitting your home. You decide to evacuate your family to safer territory, but one of the kids is at a friend’s house located more than an hour away. You know the friend’s family doesn’t practice preparedness and is in harm’s way. Do you evacuate the family you have with you knowing you’ll be completely safe from the disaster? Or do you risk driving through the disaster as it hits to pick up the kid at the friend’s house?

Basically, is it better to have a 100 percent chance of survival for most of your family, or a 50 percent chance of survival for all of your family? You could adjust that 50 percent to a different percentage if you wish, but the question is the essentially the same.

Your Responses to this Survival Scenario

The responses overwhelmingly endorsed splitting the family up, with one person going to collect the stray kid. That would require two vehicles and at least two drivers. Does this change your own family’s emergency plan?

Best two-way satellite radio

Most responses advocated splitting up and keeping in contact. If cell service goes down, as it often does during disasters, a two-way satellite communicator will be essential. Living Ready endorses the DeLorme inReach, available at the Living Ready Store.

“Realistically, the wife and son/daughter would evacuate to safety with a 2-way radio, and I would go after the kid with the other radio.” – Justin King

“No child of mine would be left behind. I would go get them, regardless of the cost.” – Karen Walker Grummer

“If you must, rescue the child, but don’t put the whole family in danger. Send as many of them on to safety as you can spare.” – Stephen Ledington

“Send the others to safety, and you are only risking yourself to rescue the kid.” – Laurie Blanchette

“Risk it all for my family.” – Janie Frieze

“I would go for the rescue of said kid BUT would also call and ask the people to meet me halfway with my child.” – Belinda Chedville Mason

“Number one, no way my child would be an hour away with someone that doesn’t understand preparedness. That said, I would send everyone else on and go retrieve them myself. But, who would sit there knowing disaster is an hour away? Even those not in sync with reality would see it coming.” – Chet Castor

“Depends on the topographical map between you and your missing kid and on weather or not those folks are willingly leaving or not.” – Nick Kearney

“My family’s plan is for mom and dad to go to our rally point while I move to extract my brother if he is unable to.” – Jesse VanderBie

“Easy. Split up. Send those I can to safety, and go get my child. No one gets left behind. Period.” – Jcharles Tower

“Split up, if there are two responsible adults or even one is an older teen. Send the family to safety while the adult goes after the remaining child. Keep in contact with each other via radio or text or what ever is available.” – Susan Anderson

What Would You Do in this Survival Scenario?

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4 thoughts on “Survival Scenario: Would You Risk Your Entire Family to Save One Person?

  1. DJnRF

    The first thing taught to all emergency responders is Do Not Make a Victim of Yourself. Rescue is not the same thing as Recovery! One cannot merely use their emotional feelings in an emergency. Knowledge gained by training, and experience must be used instead.

    I do realize the pressure upon a person when a loved one, or close family member is in jeopardy, but these are the emotions, and no common sense or logic is involved. A person needs the critical knowledge and training of how, and when to properly respond to such a situation. Proper planning in advance of what a person should do if in the situation such as a child so far away from his family. A child above the age of five can be taught to do what any adult can do in an emergency. I have trained Boy Scouts, and young military cadets who in such situations in training did better than their adult counterparts in the same situation. The whole problem with this training is that the trainer is usually an adult parent who still thinks of a child as not being any more capable of when they were the size of a football when they were born. They are given no credit for their gained knowledge or ability if properly trained.

    Even if the family where the child may be staying is not those who prepare for much of any catastrophic situation, there is no reason you should not give them specific, advanced plans on what you want of them for your child in such a situation. Acquire the proper knowledge and training for such situations, train your family, and instruct others who may be involved on what you want done should such a situation occur.

    I had a friend here that was a Sgt of police in the department. He had been in
    his job over twenty years. One weekend he, his brother, and his nephew went
    on a fishing weekend at a nearby lake. It was early Spring in very nice weather.
    While out on the lake on Saturday the sun disappeared, and high winds began to blow with a coming storm. The temperature dropped from the mid-sixties to
    the mid-forties in just a few minutes. Due to wave action on the lake they were returning to the shore and their camp. Somehow, about 30 feet from shore the boat overturned. All went in the water. When the 17 year old nephew did not immediately surface, both my friend, and his brother began to search for him.
    The water temperature was still in the upper 30’s from the winter. With the only thinking of saving the boy, all three drowned. It was found that the boy had gotten tangled in some weeds underwater to drown. Both my friend and his brother drowned due to the cold water causing Hypothermia. As a fact, the cold water caused the condition very fast so that neither man could even control their own bodies to swim to shore. Emotions caused their deaths, and a recovery of all rather than a rescue. With proper knowledge, and training these men could have saved themselves, called for extra help, and possibly even saved the boy. Such a death of a youngster can usually be reversed. The cold on a youth can
    shut down the body, but allow for it to be restored while an adult does not have that chance. Both Cecil, and his brother made victims of themselves, and made it impossible to save the boy.

    Learn, and train before any emergency. Remember, it is not what you have in your prepared supplies that will cause you to survive anything. It is what you know. What you have can just make your survival easier. If you do not have the proper knowledge, training, and ability, Do Not use your emotions to make a victim of yourself as well. You will only make many others have to work to recover your bodies.

      1. DJnRF

        Ben, I can’t remember the exact year, but probably
        around 1975. The police sergeant was Cecil Sandifer
        of the Peoria, IL police department. Some research
        can probably bring it up. My information on the fact
        of the weather causing hypothermia came from my
        own area of training in medical and survival, plus the
        confirmation of the coroner of that county. I have
        studied all areas of all emergency services, medical
        and survival for many years. Only since 95 have I
        worked in the lecturing, teaching end writing end.

        1. Ben SobieckBen Sobieck Post author

          If you have any other insights to share with readers, I’d like to hear them. Shoot me an e-mail at with an article submission. Living Ready is all about sharing important information, because a critical tip could save someone’s life.