In the midst of a SHTF scenario, being a single woman, or being without your partner, can feel very vulnerable and daunting, but it does not have to be. And, do not feel like you need a man to survive a disaster or the Zombie Apocalypse, because with some basic knowledge and a disaster survival kit, you, your pets, and any others you are the caregiver for can be ready. There are certain things that set us women apart from our male counterparts. We are generally more likely to be the caregiver of children and elderly family members, we have monthly requirements that we need to think about, and especially in time of a SHTF scenario, we need to be particularly diligent about our situational awareness when it comes to sexual violence. Unfortunately, during times of SHTF, women are also more susceptible to being taken advantage of.
Knowledge is our first line of defense. A few summers ago, I went out to my best friend’s family’s farm for some fishing and shooting. Her husband had to run into town for more bait and while he was gone, I caught my first fish of the day. Neither of us knew how to take the fish off the hook. Doh! Needless to say, I lost that fish and my supper! We were both pretty ashamed of ourselves. My friend said, “we aren’t very good outdoorswomen.” Lesson number one: learn basic survival skills.
- How to bait a hook, then catch, scale, and clean a fish
- How to operate a pistol, a rifle, and a shotgun
- How to hunt—even small critters—and clean, skin, and dress said critters
- How to set up a primitive, basic camp; start a fire and build a shelter
To be honest with you, cleaning a fish or skinning a squirrel sounds pretty gross to me, but when it comes down to your survival, eating trumps squeamish.
Don’t be afraid to sign up for a wilderness or survival class. You can find classes all over the country. A simple Web search will pull up plenty. If you do not have the cash for a course, then read everything you can about survival and wilderness skills. Also, ask someone! Each of your friends has different skills, ask them to teach you. I learn by doing, so I normally ask someone to show me and then we work on the task together until I feel comfortable doing it all by myself. This has worked for me being able to build a fire, change a tire, change the fluids in my car, and do minor home repair stuff, using hammers, nails, and screw drivers.
Pets, Kids, and the Elderly
A good idea is to have some form of identification ready for them to wear; either an armband or a name badge on a lanyard around their neck. Plenty of formula and a few cloth diapers if you have an infant. Microchip your pets, so if they get lost or picked up, you will be able to recover them once the situation calms down. As of June 6, 2011, according to FEMA, 282 pets were reunited with their owners after the massive tornado that hit Joplin, Missouri on May 22, 2011.
Make sure to have extra medications for everyone, including over-the-counter drugs, such as aspirin, tummy medicine, and allergy medicine.
Something you also need to think about if you have kids, is some form of entertainment; pack their mobile game system, coloring and activity books, cards, and other small, non-electronic games.
To be even more independent and helpful during the crisis, you can take a basic first aid and CPR class.
Have a bug out bag ready to go with essentials you may need if you have to leave your house. You can also keep another bug-out-bag in your vehicle. (Click here to read about building a bug-out bag.) If you are not able to leave your house, make sure you have extra food and a way to store water in the house. A good rule of thumb is to have three to seven days worth of food and water always available.
I find that having an alternative power source is extremely important. You will need a way to recharge your cell phone. Last winter, we had a week’s worth of ice and snow, and one of my friends was without power for four days. Being completely unprepared, she ran out of juice for her phone. This is a very dangerous situation. Her neighbors had all evacuated their houses and she had no way to call 911 or even phone a friend for moral support. Speaking of moral support, ban together with other single girlfriends and make a plan to help each other out.
In summary, here is a short list of things specific to a woman’s bug out bag:
- Personal hygiene items
- Baby formula
- Cloth or disposable diapers
- Hair ties or ponytail holders, a headband, or bandana
- Moisturizer/lotion with SPF, and chap stick
- Baby wipes or handi-wipes
- Extra underwear and comfortable sports bra
- Comfortable sneakers or hiking boots (not your flip-flops!)
Preparing now may save your life later. What will you put in your bug out bag?”