Without fail, if something is going to go wrong it will happen while your spouse is on deployment. It is the Murphy’s Law of the military and many military spouses say you haven’t been through a deployment until something has gone wrong.
Here are 6 emergency situations military spouses may face during a deployment and how to get through them.
No matter where you are stationed, there is always a possibility of a natural disaster. This could include flooding, hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, mud slides, tsunami and more.
What plans do you have in place in case of a natural disaster while your spouse is on deployment?
Before deployment, create a disaster kit together. This should include 1 gallon of water per person per day for 3 days, a 3-day supply of nonperishable food, a battery powered radio and spare batteries, flashlights, a first aid kit and cellphone chargers.
If you are required to evacuate, having a plan is extremely helpful. Before deployment, make sure your spouse provides an emergency contact list for you. This should have contact information for his or her command as well as the key spouse such as the ombudsman. Know who you should contact first in an emergency. Plan where you will go if you need to evacuate and bring your emergency contact list with you.
Fire and Loss of Home
Losing your home to a fire would be devastating.
One thing on my husband’s to-do list before deployment is to change the smoke detector batteries.
Sit down with your family and determine what you will do in case of a fire. Everyone needs to get out of the house and have a designated meeting area. Choose an area far enough away from the house, such as the mailbox or the street light across the street.
After you’ve ensured everyone is safe and have called emergency services, you will want to contact your spouse’s command. They can notify your husband or wife about the situation and provide support.
Call your family and friends to let them know you are OK and find a place for your family to go. You’ll want to contact your insurance company and have your house evaluated quickly so repairs can be made.
The Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society can help with replacing items lost to the fire as well as with grants or interest-free loans for home repairs.
I had a gas leak while my husband was on deployment. If your house runs on gas make sure you have carbon monoxide detectors.
If you smell gas or your CO detectors go off, get out of the house immediately. Call 911 and the gas company.
Contact the command to let them know so they can alert your spouse as well. If you or your children feel sick at all, go to the emergency room. Gas poisoning symptoms present like the flu. You may need to find a place to stay that night as well.
Serious Illness or Pregnancy Complication
When a serious illness strikes an immediate family member during deployment, the possibility of going home to help is there. Immediate family includes:
- spouse’s parents
If you are having a pregnancy complication that puts your life or the child’s life in danger, you can seek help this way as well. First contact the service member’s command to let them know what is going on and ask about having your spouse sent home.
You can also contact the American Red Cross Hero Care Center either by phone at 1-877-272-7337 or online.
Serious Accident and Hospitalization
If you or your family members are in a serious accident make sure you contact the command to let them know. They will get word to the service member and he or she may be able to come home.
It is important to have a plan in place in case something happens to you. Before your spouse left for deployment, they likely made a will.
- Do you have a living will?
- Who will take your children immediately if you are seriously injured in an accident?
Make an appointment or stop by the legal assistance office at your military installation. They can provide a will worksheet for you to fill out to begin the process of creating a will. It answers many common questions people have about wills.
Once you have completed it, a lawyer needs to review it and make it legal. If you have children, in the will you can designate who they go to if you are unable to care for them. Before you designate a person or family, make sure you discuss it with them.
Consider who will take your children immediately if you are sent to the hospital unexpectedly. Ask a local friend if they would be willing to look after your children short term.
Death in the Family
If someone in the service member’s immediate family passes away during deployment, his or her command and the Red Cross may be able to get them home. Discuss with your spouse before deployment what your family wants to do in such a situation.
- Will the service member be able to or want to come home for the funeral?
- Who will take your children and how will you get to the service?
Disaster can strike at any time, but for some reason it tends to happen when a loved one is on deployment. Having a plan in place for each of these instances can save you time and grief.
Don’t wait until it’s too late.
Talk with your spouse, family and friends and determine which path you will take if an emergency arises while your spouse is on deployment.