A Military Wife’s Perspective on Preparedness, by Laura M.

I take a different approach, but one that may prove useful for other ladies. My husband is military, so that would make me the military spouse. However, I can tell you from experience that there SHOULD be a survival guide to being a military spouse. Now, I don’t plan on making this some betty home maker guide; Because in my opinion there is so many other survival aspects that us ladies should be aware of when our husbands are away. Unfortunately, we are not aware of these survival tactics until some misfortune is staring us in the face and we are left to handle it by ourselves.

First off ladies, you should ALWAYS make sure you have a survival travel pack in your vehicle. (Mind you it doesn’t need to be a pack so to speak, just a tidy area with survival things handy.) In this “pack” there should be jumper cables, fluids for your car, a jug of water, road flares, a jack, tire rod, first aid kit, fix a flat, MREs (or some sort of compact food, protein bars are nice to.) A knife/and or multi tool, a fire starter (rather it be a good name brand lighter, matches, or an actual fire starter), tinder shavings, rope, extra set of clothes and shoes, and an emergency radio/flashlight (I, personally have a 2-in-1) with extra batteries. I also HIGHLY recommend a book called,“SAS Survival Guide Handbook”, They sell this in a pocket size version which you can easily put in that survival pack. This book not only shows you what plants to eat, but which one too not eat. It has great first aid advice, talks of poisonous animals, insects,etc….it truly is an all-around lifesaving book. (You can purchase it on Amazon for about $8.)

Since, I am on the subject of jacks and tire rods; one should become familiar with how to use these tools. (Have your husband show you before he leaves and YouTube is great as well.) You should also know how to change your own oil/fluids, jump your battery, and you should become familiar with your engine. I recommend a short mechanical course on the weekends, or again YouTube can be useful or Google. When packing MREs or food related items, keep track of your expiration dates, and make sure there is enough for each person (in my case I have two children.) The same goes for the water. I keep bottled water in my car; The jug of water is good in case your vehicle over heats or you just need extra water.  When it comes to the knife, learn how to sharpen your knife and learn its different uses. (Same with the multi-tool.) Also, make sure to Google and/or YouTube ropes and knots…it may make a real difference on day. For the clothes/shoes make sure you change them out with the season. If its winter you will need good insulated boots and wool socks, gloves, hat and long johns. (Remember Wool is the better choice as cotton will keep you cold and wet.)

Since I have mentioned water, I want to take a minute to go over some important factors on water. We all know its vitally important, more so than food. If you ever get in a situation where you are out of water and need to find more water then follow some of this advice. First off, NEVER, drink unsterilized water. If you are prepared for an emergency (such as your survival pack in the car.) you should have your jug that had your water, tinder shavings and fire starter. You can collect the water and boil it before you drink it. Un-boiled water can have dangerous pathogens in it. If you are in a cold climate and think you’re going to eat snow…DON’T! Eating snow can bring down your core body temperature. Again, you can boil the snow down to water…kills pathogens and in turn heats up the water. If this sounds like too much work you can buy filtrated straws that will filter the water your ingesting.(Make sure to buy one for each person or even two for each person, as the straws only filter about 20 gallons of water and you never know how long it will take to get rescued.)

And with water is food. Now, I will touch base with you on food preservation and proper storage. Canning food is a rather simple task and it can not only be useful, but even lifesaving in case of an emergency.  I will start by informing you of the importance of proper canning, to help prevent illness due to improper storage. Fresh foods, like those out of your garden, consist of a high percentage of water.
The high percentage of water in most fresh foods makes them VERY perishable. They spoil or lose their quality for several reasons:

  • growth of undesirable microorganisms-bacteria, molds, and yeasts,
  • activity of food enzymes,
  • reactions with oxygen,
  • Moisture loss.

Microorganisms live and multiply quickly on the surfaces of fresh food and on the inside of bruised, insect-damaged, and diseased food. Oxygen and enzymes are present throughout fresh food tissues.
Proper canning practices include:

  • carefully selecting and washing fresh food,
  • peeling some fresh foods,
  • hot packing many foods,
  • adding acids (lemon juice or vinegar) to some foods,
  • using acceptable jars and self-sealing lids,
  • Processing jars in a boiling-water or pressure canner for the correct period of time.

Collectively, these practices remove oxygen; destroy enzymes; prevent the growth of undesirable bacteria, yeasts, and molds; and help form a high vacuum in jars. You can purchase a good vacuum for roughly $100-$200 to make sure a tight seal forms, which will keep liquid in and air and microorganisms out.
The “canning” world is full of excitement, and great potential in all aspects of daily living. I would HIGHLY suggest one par take in this living experience; And even pass it on to children and grandchildren.  Its can save money, and is can be a healthy way of eating.

Another, more far out idea is if your stranded outside, one can eat off the land (plants, insects, Etc.). (Remember that awesome book; I said to buy off Amazon? “SAS Survival Handbook”…yes that $8 book MIGHT help save your life.)

I would also like to touch on the importance of taking a defensive driving course. Being military you never know where you will be and each place has different climates (I went from Florida to Alaska, and learning to drive on ice has been a challenge)

Next, I want to talk with you about protection. When our husbands are home, we rely on them to protect the home front. However, when they are way it is OUR job to protect and defend our home front.  I want to advise you to take a shooting class. Research guns, their specific uses (as each gun has a different use/specs) then take a safety course and learn how to properly defend yourself, family and home.  I would also recommend getting a carry permit if your state allows it. Again research the gun, and your state laws. If you do not like guns, learn to self-defend with a knife or even take a self-defense course.

I also want to stress the importance of Always being familiar with your surroundings. It is one of the most lifesaving things a person can do. Research your surroundings, take trips and learn it like the back of your hand.  When or if you work, learn to take different ways home. You never know if you have a stalker and this way you keep people guessing which way you might go.  This also comes into play within your home. If a stranger is to break into your home…DO NOT, I REPEAT…DO NOT go an try to find the intruder…remain calm, and quiet. You know your home better than they do. Lay low and wait for them to come to you and then take action.

As for more home front survival; learn and familiarize yourself with the more laid back task such as: power tools, fire extinguishers, and your breaker box.  If a fire breaks out, you need to have an escape plan and know how to use that fire extinguisher. If you need to fix something you will need to learn how to properly and safely use the power tools. The breaker box is great to be familiar with as you never know when you might trip a breaker.

I know this is not your everyday…stuck out in the wild survival things. However, Ever since my husband has joined the Military, I have come across a lot of women who truly have no idea what to do in case of an emergency or they depend on others to save them.  Even if I only reach out to one person, maybe that one person will survive, become stronger and pass along this vital information to another.  I hope you all have enjoyed my brief ideas and knowledge and happy, safe living to you all.

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