Preparing and Managing
Ensuring that your family successfully weathers a deployment begins when your service member is notified of an upcoming deployment. Couples can work together to decide how legal, financial, and emotional well-being can be sustained during the deployment to lead to a successful reunion at the end of the deployment. If you are a single parent or a service member who may have responsibilities of an aging parent, this is the time to identify a caregiver or trusted friend who is aware of the plans you have put in place.
It is important for the service member and family members to attend pre-deployment briefs offered by the service member's installation or unit. Pre-deployment briefs provide an overview of what to expect during the deployment, who to contact in case of an emergency, local resources for the family, checklists of how to prepare, and a network of people who will also have a loved one serving away from home. Pre-deployment briefs can be overwhelming with the vast amount of information provided; however, even seasoned spouses appreciate learning about the resources in their community and meeting other families who will share this journey.
An essential element of pre-deployment preparation is to take time to organize important military and family documents and provide these documents to your spouse, parent, or trusted friend who will handle your affairs while you are away. Thoughtful preparation will help your family at home handle unexpected challenges that may arise.
Encourage family members to create an emergency contact list and keep a copy of the list in their wallet and in a safe place in their home, such as the top of their refrigerator. The contact list should include both local contacts in your immediate area, maybe a neighbor or friend, as well as parents or other relatives who may live out of town. An emergency contact is a person who can assist your spouse or children in case of an emergency. He or she should be someone who knows your family and has agreed to provide assistance. Your emergency contact list should also contain contact information of key personnel who can provide referrals to resources to assist with your specific emergency. Key personnel include your family support contact (i.e. Family Readiness Officer, Ombudsman, Family Readiness Group leader, Key Volunteer, etc.)
For a comprehensive resource, check out the Department of Defense Pre-deployment Guide.
For step-by-step support, check out Plan My Deployment, a new online planning tool with checklists and helpful hints to assist with deployment or mobilization support.
Until military families are relieved of the weight of war, we hope you will continue to contribute to their wellbeing.
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