Most preparedness information out there seems to assume that everyone is part of a family with a mom, a dad, three kids, and a dog. Or, if not that, an extended family that includes brothers, uncles, and a grand-pappy. Somehow, the picture presented always includes a man.
The truth is, that is not always the case; there are a lot of women alone out there who are also preparing, and it often seems like they are left out of the equations.
There are all sorts of reasons that a woman might be living alone. She may have just left the nest and is out there joining the adult world with her first job and apartment. She may be divorced or widowed. She may not have children, or those children may be off raising families of their own. Whatever the case, family-based preparedness suggestions don’t always apply to the woman living alone.
Because of that, I felt it long overdue to step up and address specific survival strategies for the woman living alone. Not that these tips are only for women. Many of them are important for any person who wishes to be prepared, and especially for the female prepper that is living alone.
10 Survival Strategies for the Woman (or Man) Living Alone
1. Be extra vigilant with home security. As they say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Make sure that you have motion-sensor lights at all of the entrances to your home and property. Get a dog. It does not have to be a big dog; my little Yorkie is a great early warning system!. Install high quality locks and be sure you have a fortified door frame. You can read more home security tips here.
2. Learn to use a weapon. If you decide to purchase a firearm, get some instruction and go to the range frequently to optimize your skills. If you aren’t comfortable with guns, your weapon of choice can be something else; just make sure you have a way to defend yourself. Consider pepper spray or a stun gun such as this one that doubles as a flashlight). Heck, even a can of wasp spray has a long range and can do some very painful damage.
3. Take a women’s self-defense class. Classes geared specifically towards women are the best if you need a crash course. Of course, if you’re already a black belt in martial arts, all the better! If you can find a recurring class that lets you spar with a bigger “attacker” this will help the moves become more natural for you.
4. Learn to use tools. Being able to repair things yourself is a big part of being self-reliant. Practice makes perfect. Home Depot and other home improvement centers offer workshops each weekend that teach customers how to make something. It is a great way to get your feet wet. Also, if something in your home breaks and is in need of repair, search YouTube for some related repair videos and give it a shot yourself. If you do have to call a repair person, hang out and watch, and don’t be afraid to ask questions.
5. Be careful what you say. Obviously your closest neighbors will be aware that you live alone. But when you’re out and about, don’t broadcast it. Many a stalker first became interested in a victim in the most innocuous of settings. Court records have shown that some stalkers were repairmen, pizza delivery guys, and mechanics who realized that the woman they became obsessed with lived alone. As well, in the event of an emergency, you do not want people to remember that you mentioned having a year’s supply of food in the basement. You don’t want to be a target.
6. Don’t make it obvious your house belongs to a woman alone. While you shouldn’t need to be afraid to be feminine, you might want to tone down the pink girlie stuff in the front yard. You can also purchase a large pair of used men’s work boots at the Goodwill, get them dirty, and leave them beside the door as though someone just took them off to go inside. And for heaven’s sakes, don’t get those stick figure families for the back window of your vehicle to represent you and several pets. Be discreet.
7. Learn to change a tire. If you don’t already know how to do this, be sure that you know how to change your own tire. A flat is one of the most common vehicular issues that will leave you stranded. My friend Daisy from The Organic Prepper wouldn’t allow her daughters to drive the car alone until they could change the tire in the driveway using the factory jack. Many women have felt scared and vulnerable on the side of the road while waiting for AAA to come and change their tire for them. It also would not hurt to have a can of “fix a flat tire” stuff. Using that, you can make a temporary repair and get on your way quickly.
8. Be prepared to hunker down. Should a disaster or civil unrest occur, one of the most dangerous things you can do is set out on foot. If at all possible, you’ll be safer if you stay put. Have the supplies you need in place so that you can stay home and wait out the chaos.
9. Avoid attracting attention to your home during an emergency. Your goal is to avoid attracting attention to your home, so no matter how well-prepared you are, don’t be the only house on the street with lights blazing from the windows. Invest in some blackout curtains and even consider lining your windows with heavy black garbage bags and duct tape to keep light from escaping.
10. Plan to fortify your home if complete chaos erupts. In advance of something happening, plan how you will fortify your house. Consider a professional-grade bar for the doors, some decorative grillwork for lower story windows and sidelights, or even some plywood that is pre-drilled and cut to fit windows and sliding glass doors so you can cover them if it’s a major hullabaloo.
The Final Word
I hope you will take this list and use it to formulate your plan for staying safe during an emergency. While you may not be as strong and scary looking as a 250 pound hunk of macho, you can still defend yourself and what is yours will some advanced planning and training.
Do not be discouraged if you aren’t part of a large family or group. For you, it is still very important to prepare and perhaps even more so. Go ahead and adapt the preparedness information that’s out there to fit your personal situation, and be the hero of your story, not the damsel who needs to be rescued!
Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!