The question how do I prepare my family isn't a difficult one, but it requires some forethought and some consistency. Don't hide the fact that you carry a gun from your family, especially if you have kids. When my baby was a toddler I started teaching her about firearms safety (in addition to our own family practices, I used the NRA's Eddie Eagle rules: Stop, Don't Touch, Leave the Area, Tell an Adult, and talking to her about why Mommy carries a gun, both on and off duty. When she became old enough, we (her stepdad, Dave Smith and I) taught her how a firearm works and how to shoot. All four kids in our blended family know how to properly handle various firearms for both hunting and personal protection, and as a mom, I feel pretty good about that. The kids also know how to respond in an off duty critical incident; they know when to take commands, when to get out of the way, and how to help me if I need it. I believe we are a safer family because of my continued commitment to carrying a firearm, now as a retired peace officer.
The decision to carry an off duty firearm is a very personal one, but I believe that as law enforcement officers we all have a moral obligation to be ready to react swiftly and properly to the violence that may happen in our community. Stay safe.