This site will carry ideas on how to care for a family when support systems have failed. This became necessary during the winter of 1997-1998 in Syracuse, New York and sorrounding areas, when an ice storm left multiple thousands of households without electricity for weeks.
An added note for the spring of 2003...
The American Red Cross has advised everyone to put a survival kit together. This is apparently because of the September 11th disaster, and the fact that it may happen again.
On the government's page for survival they advise:
"Terrorism forces us to make a choice. Don't be Afraid... Be Ready."