Let’s face it, there are a million things you can worry about when your significant other is in the military. Among the biggest of those worries: deployment. As it gets closer, “sub-worries” pop up, like what if my car doesn’t start one morning? Or what if the washer breaks? The answer to most of these is that you learn, or you call someone.
But one thing that few of us really understand the gravity of until it’s here, is being alone. And with that comes safety concerns, from someone breaking in, to slipping and falling. As much as our loved one will constantly worry about this, we have to be the ones that take precautionary steps towards ensuring that we stay as safe as possible.
Always be aware of your surroundings, at home, in the parking lot, etc. If you feel uncomfortable, go to an area where there are more people. In situations where I’m walking alone and I feel uneasy, I take out my phone and call a friend. I tell them where I am, and stay on with them until I reach a better area. Some may say that this actual distracts you from what’s going on, but if someone is going to approach you with bad intentions, you’ve just told another person exactly where you are, and they’re going to know if you suddenly hang up.
Make Pre-Cautionary Decisions
If you feel uncomfortable climbing a ladder and changing out a light bulb, chances are you shouldn’t be doing it. Don’t do anything that could end in you getting seriously injured, especially when you’re home alone. Atleast wait until you have a friend over, or maybe someone who can help you change the light bulb. Sometimes the worst part of being alone is accepting that you have to rely on people here and there.
Open Door? Turn Around
I know you’ve probably heard this 100 times, but if you come home and it seems like something has been tampered with, leave! If there’s a hole in your screen or your door is wide open, than its pretty clear that someone either tried to get in or they did, and they may still be in there. Based on what you believe has occurred, you can come back with a police officer or a friend, and make sure everything is safe. Many people think that the police wouldn’t want to waste their time, but they would much rather know that you’re safe and not walking into a bad situation, than have something happen to you.
Sadly, people looking to break in are not always at random. Sometimes they pay attention to who goes in and out, and if they notice for a few weeks in a row that’s it’s just you, they may think it’s a better opportunity. I don’t want to instill paranoia in anyone, that’s certainly not my goal here. But it all has to be addressed. If someone breaks into your home while you’re inside, you find the nearest door/window, and you exit. Simple as that. I know it’s really scary to think about, but you have to have a plan.
Leave The Light On
Of course this is so that you can make sure everything is as it should be, but also so that you don’t trip and fall. I’m terrible with walking up my own front steps, especially if I’m carrying anything. So I make sure I atleast have my front light on. You can also leave a small lamp on inside so that it’s not pitch black when you open the door. If you have more than one car at home, leaving an inside light on can also deter people from breaking in if they believe someone may be inside.
Various states have different laws as far as protecting yourself goes, but it can be as simple as carrying pepper spray. Have it on your keys or somewhere close so you can quickly grab it. Mine really just serves as a comfort for me, because knowing that I could if I had to makes a big difference. And it’s a hell of a lot better than wishing I had had something.
If it’s freezing rain or snowing like crazy and you’re not comfortable driving: don’t. Whatever you were headed to can wait, whether it’s work or the grocery store. I had quite a few situations like this while Kyle was gone, and given that my work knew the situation, they understood. It’s really not worth the risk.
Trust Your Instincts
Always always always. If something doesn’t seem right, make a proactive decision right then and there for yourself. We have instincts based on previous experiences, and we have human instincts. Both can make the hair on the back of your neck stand up. Don’t convince yourself that you “must be crazy” just because something doesn’t seem right. Regardless of how silly it may seem, do what’s best for you.
I know it’s intense, but I wanted to be brutally honest. We all hear the horror stories that happen when people get too lax about their surroundings. The best thing you can do is just be prepared for any situation and trust what your body feels. Chances are, we will never have to deal with these situations. But it’s way better to be prepared for nothing that unprepared for the worst.
Have you had any alarming situations during a deployment? What are your tips for staying safe?