Your Better Half: A Force Multiplier, by J.L.H.

It’s no secret the majority of survivalists are males.  If your better half is just as prepared for emergencies as you, or you are a female survivalist who is reading this article, then congratulations!  But what about others who have a wife or significant other who goes about their daily life in ignorant bliss; unaware of the dangers surrounding us in today’s world, and how to prepare for and handle them?  I am sure you all love your spouses, and when disaster strikes, you’re going to look after them.  However, wouldn’t they (and you) be better off if they were assets during an emergency rather than dead weight?

All the preparations you’ve made to keep your family and home safe isn’t going to amount to squat if your wife is clueless and you are away on a business trip, or trapped in your office, with no way to get home (transportation suspended) and no way to get in touch with your loved one (phone lines down).

Preparing your better half is the most important thing you can do.  Do you have a gun at home?  It might as well be an expensive paperweight if she doesn’t know how to use it; or worse, if she doesn’t know the combination of the safe where it is stored.  I know women who don’t even know where the circuit breaker is in their home, much less what it does.  If they cannot handle that, how are they going to defend and provide for themselves and your children in the hours, days, or weeks it takes you to get home from wherever you may be?

I’m currently in Afghanistan and my wife and our infant son are in a third-world country in Southeast Asia.  Were something to happen, such as the civil unrest that occurred there two years ago, she will have to take care of herself, as well as our infant son, on her own.  The chance of me getting to her anytime soon is slim.  At best, I am a convoy, a helicopter flight, and two plane flights away.  I tell you this so you realize this problem is real and you need to take it seriously, just as you would your other preparations.

How many hours a day are you away from home?  If you have a full time job, then it’s at least 25% of every weekday.  Now, I have friends who are willing to wager hard earned money at casinos where they don’t have nearly that high of a percentage to win.  Yet, many survivalists are willing to take much lower odds, and wager something more important that money, that an emergency will always occur when they and all their family members are sitting in their house, which is just nonsense.  Add in the time it takes you to commute to and from work, as well as the time you spend away from home doing other things (shopping, visiting friends, going to sporting events, et cetera), and the percentage is significantly increased.  A disaster waits for nobody, and the chance of one occurring when you’re away from your home is quite high.

Now that you recognize the importance of your better half becoming an active part of your survival plan, you need to start bringing her into the fold.  This is a task not to be taken lightly.  If I approached my wife and told her the world, as we know it, is going to end, she would look at me like I’ve lost my marbles and would cease listening to anything I subsequently say.  Therefore, you need to broach this topic with your better half gradually.

The majority of you all reading this did not attain all your survival equipment, rations, skills, and knowledge in a single day.  And while time is of the essence, it’s best if you don’t expect your better half to acquire everything in a single day either.  For me, I started small.

My first order of business was instilling in her the desire to be prepared for the unexpected.  Remember; start small.  For example, I purchased rain ponchos when it was sunny.  Sure, this isn’t exactly a must-have item, but it’s one I like because it serves the dual purpose of keeping me dry during a rain storm, as well as a first aid item for a sucking chest wound.  Purchasing the ponchos when they weren’t needed gave me a chance to talk with her about the ease of buying them now rather than after it starts raining.  This way I was able to gradually accustom her to the strategy as opposed to starting out by purchasing a bomb shelter.

When my wife and I went out one night a few days later it looked as though rain was forth coming, so I slipped the ponchos I’d previously purchased into my cargo pocket.  Sure enough, later that night it started pouring down rain, as it is prone to do in tropical climates.  Everyone around us, including my wife, immediately ducked into a convenience store to purchase ponchos.  Thankfully, they were sold out.  Reaching into my cargo pocket, smiling, I presented her with a poncho, which allowed me to demonstrate to her why it’s a good idea to stock up on handy items when they’re not necessarily needed right at that moment.

Gradually, my wife began to see the importance of such acts, and I’m afraid I’ve created a monster.  Now it’s her who is in charge of our supplies.  She took over that job without giving me a choice in the matter.  And why not?  She loves to shop, so it’s an enjoyable activity for her.  We have since reached our goal of having 2 months worth of necessities (diapers, food, water, you name it).  When I was in charge of our stash, we only had 2 weeks worth.  Who’s better at that job?  I know when to bow to superiority.  She still has room for improvement when it comes to rotating the stashed items to ensure they stay as fresh as possible, but she’ll get there.

Moving on, let’s hit on self-defense in the home.  Have you taught your wife to handle a firearm?  I have not because it is extremely difficult to obtain one in the country we live in, not to mention tremendously expensive.  However, she can recognize daily household items can be used as weapons.  I know this because every once in a while she will pick up a common item around the house and threaten me with it.  For example, she’ll grab scissors and declare, “I cut you!”  Sometimes I believe she’ll do it.  Of course, she’s only mimicking what I’ve taught her gradually over time.  It has turned into a fun game of finding the most non-threatening item in the home and using it as a weapon.

What about surviving natural disasters?  Where we live, flooding is a regular occurrence.  Therefore, my wife has learned how to fill sandbags, and can do so with the best of ‘em.  Does she like doing it?  No.  But she knows the chances of her having to fill sandbags when I’m not there is high.  In addition, when we move to the east coast of the U.S. next year, you can bet your generator my wife will know how to install plywood over our windows in case I’m away during a hurricane.  She’ll have help from my relatives because it’s a two-person job, but that’s not the point.  She will understand the letter and number code I mark each pre-cut piece of plywood with, so she’ll know which piece goes on which window.  Time is of the essence in an emergency, and neither she, nor my other family members, can afford to waste time trying to figure out which piece goes where.

What would your wife or significant other do during an emergency during an emergency?  No, I’ve not mis-spoken.  What I’m referring to is if your child stopped breathing during a natural disaster when medical personnel weren’t readily available.  Does your wife know first aid?  Is she CPR certified?  With a one-year-old son at home, you can rest assured one of the first things I did was have my wife take a CPR course.  I have extensive training in first aid.  In addition, I am CPR, AED, and First Responder certified.  However, none of that is going to do me a bit of good if I’m unconscious with only a non-trained wife to take care of me.  My wife immediately recognized the importance of such training and has since learned a vast amount of information on the subject.  It’s another area she excels at and I am confident in her abilities.

I’m not saying your better half needs to be equally as good as you are in every aspect of survival, as different people bring different skill sets to the table.  However, she should be proficient.  And you might as well get off your macho high horse now because believe it or not, she will excel in areas you don’t.  My wife and I are a team…not a survival expert and the beneficiary of a survival expert.  I cannot begin to tell you all how comforting it is to know my wife can handle whatever is thrown her way to keep herself and our son safe when I’m not there.  And when I am there, I know I’m not in it alone.  Taking care of every aspect of three people’s lives (me, my wife, and our son) would be stressful during the best of times.  Doing so during an emergency would likely turn me into a two-pack-a-day smoker.

It’s my hope you all will take heed in what I’ve written, bring your wife or significant other into the fold, and become a team to be reckoned with when things go bad.  After all, your better half will most likely turn out to be the best piece of survival gear you’ve ever invested in.