Welcome to the Coast Guard family!! NOW what?
So you and your family are part of the Coast Guard. Great! Welcome! We are so glad you are here!! ……… Now what? This is exactly the question I asked and most have thought. If not? That’s ok.. because we all start somewhere.
We are currently stationed on a cutter, with DH (Dear Husband) going underway (for those of you that don’t know what that is.. picture middle of the ocean – doing awesome things the Coast Guard is known for). It can be a nerve racking experience for the Significant other. Where are they? Do I have what I need? What about my kids? What if something happens? Just thinking about these can cause a large amount of anxiety (just blow into a paper bag a few times, I swear it helps!). But a few spouses have chimed in on how to be prepared. These tips will also help you even IF your spouse isn’t currently being sent underway. Try to be always ready, but then don’t stress about what you can’t control.
These are the absolute basics. Because each of us live in different areas, jobs, families, etc. the other resources may not apply to you.. but these sure do!
Emergency Contacts for IMPORTANT information – to me this the #1. The who’s who in your life gets to have your most important information. Have an envelope with the below information and a house key. Since we live in an area that we don’t have family, I gave one to my friend. And the same copy to my Sister-in-law. Include:
Protocols for school age/daycare kids
Other emergency contacts
Where are important documents
Car Seats, Spare Keys
For your help, I included a template for you here.
Find your ombudsman
They are your go to for emergency situations in getting a hold of the boat/command. They also help you if YOU need help. Don’t know where to go? Ask your significant others and ask other spouses, they will help you get plugged in. Also, if in doubt head to the Coast Guard Ombudsman page found here(select “Contact your Ombudsman bottom right”) . It is imperative for the basics. We will talk about all the other fun stuff in getting plugged into your Coast Guard Family in a later post.
Find a buddy
I cannot stress this enough. Feeling lonely? Quiet at night when the teams are sent out on late calls, or long underway? Your lifeline is a buddy, not only for emergency situations, but also for your sanity! They can help you vent since they are going through it too. And if they do not hear from you daily (even just a quick text) they can start sounding the alarms for you. This sounds a bit cautionary… but who doesn’t love someone having your back!
USCG HSWL app – Download this app via Apple or Android. Per the USCG website here, it provides “information on work-life programs, as well as other individual and family support programs such as medical services, chaplain services, housing, legal assistance, and, morale, well-being, and recreation (MWR) services.” Have a question or need support? Here is a tool to help you get started!
Now.. these four items are definitely basic. But getting yourself set up and piece of mind will help you focus on your day to day and be flexible with the world around you.