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Feeling Safe During a Deployment

05 August 2016

Deployments suck. Plain and simple. There is so much to prepare for, before hand, so much to take on alone during, and your spouse is probably stuck in a tent or trailer with it's A/C unit that has been in-op since the last deployment cycle, near the latrines. Only eating sub-par chow, stuck in an unfamiliar location, working and worrying about their families. Despite the planing, the POAs, and having all of your financial ducks in a row, not a lot of families talk about security until after their spouse is gone. As dependents (and I use this word lightly, because we are anything but) we know the rules when it comes to making sure deployment locations, dates, and activities are not to be talked about for the safety of our spouses, fighting the good fight. But do we ever think of what to do before deployments to keep ourselves safe? Well, fear not, folks! Because we will talk about it here! A while back, I asked fellow spouses, "What helps you feel safe during a deployment? What measures do you take to insure your family's safety?" I got quite a few answers! Very good answers! So we will discuss all of the following answers here, today! The most popular answer, is owning a firearm. I've owned a few, and they give me a small piece of mind, that if the need would arise, I would be able to defend my family. Here are some tips if you plan on using a gun as a way of protection.
This is a Smith and Wesson M&P 15-22. I owned one. Easy to use, comfortable to shoot, and It looks scary! Photo credit to Smith and Wesson
  • GUN SAFETY GUN SAFETY GUN SAFETY!!!! I can not emphasize this enough!! Make sure your guns are locked away, or have a trigger lock, and keep out of reach of children. Make sure you can properly load, unload, clean and operate. Educate yourself before going out and buying one! Take a safety course. A gun will do you no good if you don't know how to operate it! Which brings me to my next point. . 
  • Get yourself comfortable with your gun. Take it to a range, shoot off some rounds with an instructor. Make sure you feel fully comfortable and capable of using your gun. 
  • Know your laws! Especially if you plan on Conceal Carry. Laws vary from state to state. Some states allow open carry. Be sure to do your research. 
  • Educate your children on guns. You can explain what they do and that they can seriously harm themselves or others if mishandled, or even take them with you to a range and learn to fire. This will give a kid a good idea of how powerful and dangerous a gun could be. If you do not feel comfortable with your child handling a gun, don't take them to a gun range. But they need to have the conversation with you in the event that they see a gun. They need to walk away, and get an adult.
Another answer was dogs. Dogs can be a great early warning system! (My corgi normally alerts me to anyone who is walking in our stairwell, or the front of the building, or a man jogging from a mile away. . . .What can I say? She is crazy.) While some dogs are great for protecting the home, they shouldn't be solely relied on. While a dog's bark can deter potential home invaders, some will not be frightened by a barking dog. Especially one like mine who only barks because she wants attention and swears no one loves her. . . Anyways, dogs do tend to give people a piece of mind when alone. And some dogs will protect their families at any cost. But if a home invader plans on doing harm, your dog, as well as you, could be at risk if you don't have a plan. So. . . .
My coffee cup is empty. :(
HAVE A PLAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Whether you plan on staying close to home, or traveling, always have a plan. Have your emergency contacts, emergency location, etc, easily accessible to you and family member or friends that are near by. In case of fire or weather emergencies, have a plan. Find a safe place in your home, or multiple exits and meeting locations. Always let your family and friends know where you are going, for how long, and when you plan on getting back. That way, if something does happen, they will be able to send help to you if the need arises. Make sure you come up with a plan, with your spouse, before a deployment! Staying with family during a deployment.  This is something that I have seen a lot of spouses do.  It is great, because you are familiar with your surroundings, plus when you are around people you are familiar with you and love you, that alone provides a sense of security. If it makes you feel safe, do it!!! Don't worry about what all of the other "competition spouses," who brag about doing everything themselves, say. It's not their decision to make, and they sould probably mind their own.  You do, you!!
A lot of different companies out there. Do some comparison shopping!
One answer that I am surprised that no one provided, is a Home Alarm System. There are so many out there on the market, with so many choices on instillation. There are Alarm companies such as Vivint or ADT, that come and install systems. They have great equipment, and their alarms are loud enough to wake the neighbors, and deter a suspect or at least, awaken the snoring, sleeping, beast (myself) to be able to take appropriate safety measures. The down side to that, is you cannot take the system with you when you move, although, most companies will give you discounts if you do move, equipment will have to be replaced and you may end up forking out more money. So if you rent a home, this wouldn't be ideal, unless the home you rent already has a system. You would have to pay an activation fee, and then pay your regular monthly payments to have the company monitor your home, and normally, that comes with a two to four year contract. And then if you don't like the company, you are stuck. As someone who had this kind of security system as a home owner, it was nice, however, we had so many problems with the company, and we were stuck in our contract. Even when we PCS'd, it was such a hassle to get our service halted.     And then, there are companies like SimpliSafe, which are essentially DIY instillation with no wires, no landline required, works off of cellular signals, offers a money back guarantee, no contracts, and like other security systems, saves you money on home and renters insurance. Not to mention, since it's a wireless security system, you can take your system anywhere with you when you move! The only downside, is having to pay money upfront for equipment, but honestly, it will save you money in the long run. And once you buy the equipment, it's yours! When you buy the equipment, you have 60 days to decide if you love it, and if not, you get 100% money back, and they pay for your shipping. With so many package options, it's easy to find what suits you! If I weren't in Germany, this would be the route I would take. Hell, I'm half tempted to strip the security system in the house we own and replace it with this! But alas, I am here. Make sure you shop around, get customer reviews, look at BBB ratings, and as always, make a plan. Stay safe out there, my fellow spousal superheros! Until next time. . . .
(P.S. A special thanks goes out to SimpliSafe for encouraging this type of conversation and helping military families! What are some of your own stories or tips? Feel free to join in!)          

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