Scenario: Do you leave your kids to look for your spouse?


Scenario’s are valuable tools to get you thinking about possibilities and corresponding decisions/actions BEFORE being confronted with an actual situation. By reviewing and processing a scenario over and over again in your head the ability to process a real event becomes much less stressful. Less stress = a better chance of making the right decisions.

For this scenario:

An EMP hits, you work with some local neighbors to lookout for each other but you really don’t know them well. Your spouse was at work when the EMP hit and they work 10-12 miles away. You have 3 small children. It has been 2 days and your spouse has still not come home. Do you leave your children with your neighbors to look for your spouse? Do you stay with your children and hope and wait your spouse shows up? Or do you take your children with you and go look for your spouse?


What would you do?



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22 thoughts on “Scenario: Do you leave your kids to look for your spouse?”

  1. Ah, perhaps the wife is at the BOL? I think my wife would want me to stay with the kids no matter what. Taking them with me on a search for her would/could put them in danger and also it would/could mean that if/when we got back home all out preps might be gone. I guess this this a good discussion to have with the spouse now. I would want the wife to come look for me. Parting thought, both of us at work, both set out for kids at school. Get to school and no kids?! Now what?

    • I am a CERT member and also a director at one of the largest school districts in California. Plans to contain and care for the children for a couple days have already been put in place. I would suggest you rendezvous with your better half and figure out a game plan once you know the two of you are safe. Maybe after gathering supplies, the two of you both set out to school with those provisions to take care the kids when you get to them.


  2. This is one of those before you need it type things. We make sure were friends with her neighbors know who they are so that in a time of need like this we know who we can count on. I also belong to an organization of men who share similar beliefs and a couple of them live in my neighborhood. I would trust them with the keys to the castle, the arsenal, the kids and even the wife and I know they would expect the same from me. I would’ve left days ago to go find the wife and drop the kids off at one of their places assuming they had not already dropped their kids off at my place to go look for theirs. In a real disaster we will not be the islands we think we will. We will need to align ourselves with others in order to minimize the catastrophes we face.


    • GOOD point johne….”we will not be the island we think we will.” That really jumped off the page reading it a second time. Just when i think i have it all lined up in my mind, once again i am reminded that the situation has so many more facets than i can see….Thanks.

  3. Ideally you would already have this worked out before it happened, but as you have not you’re screwed there is no right answer this scenario I would suggest that you stayed with your kids as your neighbors are not prepared, I mean, yes in a (perfect world, the neighbors are prepared) good luck with that wishful thinking, it’s kinda like a big party, if you go looking for someone who is looking for you at the same time, it’s improbable That you will find them, and if you do finally find them you use much more time and energy than you needed to do so, so if you have had the talks, plans for emergencies with your loved ones, then you will already know the proper course to follow, I’m sure you woudnt want your wife searching the streets for you with your children at risk, now is the time to put that into perspective, especially when we as preppers know, the worse may have already came to past, what good would come from you and your children parrishing in the same chaotic flames? It’s very easy for me to say this I know, Will I have the fortitude to do what I know this is the question ? And for this rourke, I can not help you.

  4. Spouse is on her own! She’s an adult. You got the little ones you can’t leave motherless AND fatherless. I’d expect her to hold the fort down and protect the wee ones while I do the adult thing and make it back. Thats why we train, we drill, we have EDC and bugout/bughome bags in our cars/trucks, and have routes predesignated. Chances are if it gets so bad that she can’t get home, then she’s either hurt too badly to travel or she’s dead…in which case the odds of me rescuing her just went down the tubes and now I’ve risked leaving little to fend for themselves. Its a hard truth, but the brutal honest truth.

    • Yep….the hard brutal truths will abound. Not being experienced in this area,I wondered if my gut reaction to the question would align with those of you here that i respect and trust. So far the response has been pretty much what i expected and thought myself. Am looking forward to the flood of comments that are still to come.
      Yes, for the most part, anyone as an adult is on their own. Not that our hearts would vote that way but the truth is not easy. Compromising what you HAVE for what you want…risky at best. That said, then i think of our grown children that know our home in a rural area is their’s when push comes to more than shove.(In their 30’s, none of them or their spouses want to admit that we are heading for a crisis. We have had THE “conversation” though, they know what is expected if they come….bring anything that would contribute to the group….water,food,gear and especially the mindset and hard work ethic we made sure to instill in them.) SO, how extremely difficult will waiting for them and the grandchildren they would bring be ? I don’t think i can imagine but know it would test any resolve i THINK i have. Our lives would instantly be changed. A NEW NORMAL physically and especially mentally/emotionally will be necessary………

      • Each situation will affect our choices as well as our faith. For many of us THAT is the central issue and strength of our life here. God has”hardwired”us to survive….while we are here that is what we do and where our focus is. The bigger picture includes what comes next though and i truely believe if we KNEW just what that was, we would all be jumping off of bridges. This life seems to be the BIG picture when our eternal life really is the biggest part of our picture….just sayin…..

        • Good points Joyce. Every scenario has its own risks inherently built in. Take the kids with you to find a “possibility” and you’ve just exposed them to risks that you can’t foresee. You have to weigh each out. I personally would not take the kids and go in search. As an individual who loves his wife with every fiber of my soul, I wouldn’t attempt a rescue mission UNLESS I was able to create a risk free environment for the kids wherein they’d be okay should I not return and they were rendered orphans. I do not see a scenario in which that would occur. I would pray and fast do everything in my reasonable power to get her home, but again, should roles be reversed, I’d have my wife stay with the kids. We have had that talk and that is our determination based on both of our mutual feelings.

          • SterlingSilver….i agree….good to know there are people like you out there dealing with the imperfect possibilities well. Hope to do half as well. Rourke….appreciate where you are pushing us to go, thanks.

          • SterlingSilver…you have the correct approach. My wife would literally skin me if I left the kids. Besides, here are some what ifs.
            a. You leave the kids with a neighbor to go to your wife’s place of work. She isn’t there. Now what?
            b. Something happens to you on the way to wife’s place of work. You don’t know where your wife is, and she doesn’t know where you are. Plus, now you either can’t get back home, or it is going to take an extended period of time to get back home. Again, now what?
            c. Wife gets home while you’re out hunting her. Is this panic time?

            You need to have all this worked out before time. SterlingSilver is correct. Stay put.

  5. You take the kids with you, and go find your wife.

    You leave a note (and I would spray paint it also on a wall or sidewalk) with instructions for her in case she comes home while you are en route.

    Some couples with young children have put car seats on bicycles to push them, if on foot. Adult tricycles could carry all three. Or you modify a wheelbarrow, take their car seats of of the car and put them on boards.

    You adapt, improvise, and overcome by getting you kids on something with wheels you can push.

    And you do it after Day 1, not Day 3.

    You only leave your kids with family, and then only if you trust them.

    Hopefully you have several established routes for her to get home, and you check all of them.


    • Thanks for the thoughts Colt. I would struggle to take small children on a trip to…..nowhere. Not knowing where she might be could lead to a search covering many miles, interviewing people – and encountering much danger.

  6. It is totally situationally dependent. One can generate all sorts of scenarios, each with optimal and sub-optimal responses. Depends upon the maturity of the kiddos, locations of the spouses, ad naseum. Less mature kiddos of course need increased hands on parenting.

    Me, I’m glad I have mature offspring with good coping skills. Then one worries about grandchildren, etc. etc.


  7. Ten miles away might as well be the moon. With no comms how exactly are you supposed to “look for” your spouse? If they were able they would have made the 10 mile hike on day + one, or day + two at the latest, when people were in a daze and it might still be semi-safe to travel. If they are not able either they are dead or were pushed off course. Other than the fact that their are likely scores of routes they could have taken the most likely reason they have not arrived is that they are injured (or dead), and if injured and some good Samaritan is caring for them then who know how far afield they may have taken them for care. Assuming you have a rally point(s), keep to the plan and pray. It’s far easier for two people to find an agreed upon static place than for two mobile individuals to randomly bump into each other!

    This post demonstrates the need to talk about these scenarios with loved ones and work out a good plan…then stick to it!

  8. I would have agreed with Colt 25 years ago when my kids were small and we lived in a very rural area. I’m not sure what I’d do now with young children. If they were old enough to walk, I’d probably take them with me, but if they were smaller than that I’d probably just stay home and expect our missing adults to find their own way. I would never leave children with non-relatives in these circumstances. Our current plan is for each person to head home and then stay there. There’s no doubt in my mind, though, that the kids would come looking for me after the first day.

  9. If after our families established time interval, I have had no communication from my wife using 2,10,2 rule (every two hours, listen for 10 minutes, on channel two of our HAM’s). After that, leave a message in the communication tube (Which also has an extra radio and batteries), kit up, and go find her. If the situation is bad enough that she cannot get home to us then she is in trouble and will need help. We are stronger together than we are apart, and families are the most important thing in the world (Families First). There would be exceptions to this if she has traveled a long distance for something, but then we have plans for that.

    Short version is that if “IT” has happened then my kids are in danger no matter where they are, and no one will go the distances I would to protect them.

  10. Exc thoughts and I was happy to see so many
    new names !!! I would stay with the children and pray hard . Hopefully this couple would have made a previous agreement as to where a
    common place or phone message could have been
    sent. May everyone have a safe and Blessed Thanksgiving. Arlene


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