Survival 101: How to protect your family during civil war
By Zoey Sky // May 05, 2023

Unlike natural disasters, which can happen without warning, a civil war won't occur without advance notice.

If you know the signs to watch out for, you can observe a build-up of tensions and hostilities before SHTF in your neighborhood. Be observant so you have enough time to get your preps and emergency plans in order. (h/t to

But even the most experienced prepper who is vigilant can still be taken by surprise once a civil war starts. To help you prepare for a civil war, here are some tips to follow:

Make sure your family is safe

When chaos starts and bullets start flying, your priority will be your security and safety. Once you are safe, you can then make sure that your family is safe and secure.

Before SHTF, finalize a contingency plan so that when disaster strikes, your family knows what to do even if everyone is separated and you have no way to communicate with each other.

Run drills and make sure all family members know what to do and where to go. Your plan will be foolproof if everyone follows it and no one deviates from it unless absolutely necessary.

For your plan to work, you should get constant updates on the whereabouts of each family member. While you don't have to monitor them 24/7, you should at least inform each other about your whereabouts every hour or so.

To avoid disturbing each other with constant calls, set up a family group chat where you can let everyone know where you are. When SHTF, you can quickly check your messages to confirm the whereabouts of your family members.

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Once you confirm their locations, you can easily estimate how long it will take them to get home based on the situation in your area.

Once your family is safe together, start securing other aspects of your situation, like your survival supplies, comms plan and bug-out or evacuation plan. (Related: Prepping tips: Scavenging in the city when SHTF.)

Secure and hide your food supply

When civil war breaks out, all factions fighting against each other will need more food, water, medical supplies and ammo. If they find out you are a prepper, they might target your home to steal your supplies.

Before things go south, plan ahead and secure food, water and other essential supplies. Keep them well hidden but still accessible. Don't tell anyone about your stockpile or armed groups will want to take them for their cause.

Keep your preps a secret by building or preparing a hidden room to bury caches. If this isn't possible, hide your supplies somewhere else, like your basement or a spare room at home.

Another option is to leave a decoy cache that is easy to find so anyone who decides to steal your stockpiles will have something to take. Hopefully, this should be enough and they don't look elsewhere.

At the start of a civil war, many items will be restricted or banned by governments or factions that have seized control over your area. Some examples are:

  • Alcohol
  • Fuel
  • Radios and other communications gear
  • Tactical gear
  • Various items used as ingredients for explosive or incendiary devices
  • Weapons and ammunition

Once you notice signs of impending chaos and civil war, conceal these items if you have them in your stockpile. Should you encounter soldiers going door to door, having these items in your possession could result in you being jailed, having your possessions taken or being executed on the spot.

Protect yourself by getting rid of these items or hiding them well to avoid any danger.

Comms security

During a civil war or armed conflict, radio communications, including amateur radio, are one of the first things that will become illegal.

In some cases, even possessing a shortwave receiver could be illegal. However, effective communication will be essential during a civil war so you need to learn how to use an amateur radio covertly.

Do your research and learn how to set up and use covert antennas. You also need to have a plan for how you will communicate with family and other prepping groups during the conflict.

Ask experienced preppers for tips on how to deal with direction-finding and jamming equipment. When SHTF, it won't take much for others to triangulate your position and find your location. Make sure your comms plan allows you to stay updated on the changing situation as civil war intensifies.

Your comms plan should also allow you to maintain effective two-way communication with other preppers. If the front lines of battle start moving too close, you can monitor your comms and bug out before the chaos reaches your location.

Listen to shortwave radio broadcasts to get a good overall picture of where the fighting is. Good comms will also help you find out where the safe zones are and monitor news from outside the country.

Fortify your home

When SHTF, you must be able to protect your family and property from those who wish to do you harm. This means getting firearms, learning how to use them and securing your property to keep out trespassers.

While setting up a seven-foot wall fence around your property may seem like a good idea, this can make your home a target for potential looters. Having a giant fence makes it harder for someone to trespass on your property, but it is also one of the most obvious signs that you have things worth stealing.

If you want to build a fence to protect your home and property, try to make it look as innocent as possible. Settle for a sturdy chain link or a tall wooden fence.

When SHTF, you can add barbed wire or spikes on the top to prevent trespassers from scaling the fence.

Alternatively, you can use your lawn to your advantage by landscaping defensively. This means planting shrubs and trees strategically to provide shade and give you more privacy.

Take note that people might use your plants to conceal themselves so you need to be smart with your landscaping. When planting hedges and trees, make sure they won’t block your view of potential intruders.

Choose defensive plants with a lot of protective thorns and prickles. These can help deal damage to anyone attempting to break into your home.

Here are some of the best defensive plants to grow around your property:

  • Bougainvillea
  • Century plant
  • Firethorn
  • Spanish bayonet
  • Tomato porcupine

Don't forget to improve your door security by installing sturdy deadbolt locks and using longer set screws for door hinges and strike plates. If possible, install door jammers so you can buy more time in case of an attempted break-in.

As for windows, you can secure them with security film. Plant cacti or thorny bushes beneath first-floor windows to keep out trespassers.

Finalize your bug-out plan

If it's too dangerous to stay at home, you may have no choice but to bug out during a civil war.

This may be your last resort if your home is located in the middle of two warring factions that show no sign of giving up their attacks.

Bugging out after a natural disaster is difficult, but during a war, it will be more complex. Before things go south, you may need several unique and independent routes and methods to escape the conflict as you bug out.

When drafting your plan, consider that you will probably not be able to use your preferred mode of transportation. This means if you plan to drive out of the danger zone, you should also have a plan B to get to your bug-out location.

The chances of civil war are exceptionally low and they don’t happen suddenly. This means you will have plenty of time to get your preps and plans ready before you find yourself in the middle of a warzone.

Before SHTF, take immediate action to increase your chance of surviving conflict.

Watch the video below for tips on how to prep your survival backpack.

This video is from the Cahlen channel on

More related stories:

Will there be a 2nd civil war in America? Growing calls for ‘civil war’ after FBI search.

Are we looking at another civil war?

Deep state plan revealed: Frame a civil war to justify UN troops to OCCUPY and DISARM America.

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