10 Smart Survival Strategies for the Woman Living Alone

Avatar for Gaye Levy Gaye Levy  |  Updated: September 1, 2022
10 Smart Survival Strategies for the Woman Living Alone

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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.

Also Read: Survival Tips

10 Smart Survival Strategies for the Woman Living Alone | Backdoor Survival

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.

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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!
Gaye

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Bargain Bin:  Below you will find links to the items mentioned in and related to today’s article.

Police Strength SABRE RED Pepper Spray:  This one happens to be pink but you can also get it in black or red here.  This is the #1 seller with over a thousand positive reviews.

VIPERTEK 38,000,000 V Heavy Duty Stun Gun, Rechargeable with LED Tactical Flashlight:  This highly rated stun gun really packs a punch.  Apparently just test firing this unit into the air may be enough to stop an attacker. It makes noise and is also a flashlight.  Okay, it is the flashlight part that attracted me!

Slime Quick Spare Tire Inflator:  All spare tire fix-its are not created equal.  Or so I learned.  Apparently some types coat the inside of the tire with some sort of goo that eliminates the tire from being repaired the proper way.  So, after consulting with the Subaru dealer and reading a lot of review, this is what I settled on.  Truly, you should always have a can of this or something similar in your car.

Door Bar Pro Steel Door Security Bar: For extra security, consider a heavy duty security bar across you door.  This one is easy to install and has a lifetime warranty.

Dorcy LED Wireless Motion Sensor Flood Lite: This light is awesome. I use mine downstairs as well as on my stairway and when I get up in the middle of the night, they come on automatically. They are quite unobtrusive and give off a ton of light.  Runs for a year on 3 D size batteries.

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Windstorm Safety Whistle:  When being heard is a matter of safety or even life and death, you want a whistle that is not only loud but can be heard for a long distance.  This particular whistle is not the cheapest one out there but I have proven to myself that this particular whistle can be heard a long distance away and above howling wind and other competing sounds.

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27 Responses to “10 Smart Survival Strategies for the Woman Living Alone”

  1. I have bought some emergency food for storage. My thoughts are where is best to hide this food in case the SHTF.

    • I too am a widow living alone….. for about 9 years I have been collecting things for survival. One thing I bought is a fire pit, and some instant fire (non toxic) can be burned in the house, for emergency cooking.
      I live on a fixed income and find it very hard to afford the food, although I have maybe a year stored, but would be in trouble if an emergency truly occured.
      It is not easy being a women alone…… I live at the end of a lane in the country on acreage, one mile from town… I feel secure but my closest neighbor is an 82 year old widow…..
      I have no family, and no close friends and find it hard in my town to make close friends…..Or any friends at all…. and I am well aware that I must keep my survival practices to my self……
      My husband was an attorney, so everyone thinks I am made of money….
      With illnesses, this is far from the truth. I have made it known I do not keep cash in the house, nor do I have pin numbers…… I am just existing right now, I want to live!!!!!!!!

    • I too live in the country but have a hubby and daughter/son in law close. they use to laugh at me for prepping, no more. they all help. I wished we knew more close to us that want/need help. I hope you find someone to trust, just sorry you aren’t need us.

  2. Love this! I am a woman who WANTS to be alone, and I love living alone! So when a guy came to my door and asked if I wanted to learn more about karate I figure it was a sign. (I never would’ve tried it otherwise!) Now I’m an orange belt and am hoping that if someone tried to attack me then my training would kick in. Peace of mind at the very least. And I have lived through a disaster here in Christchurch, NZ so I’m aware what I need to prep. Keep up the good work Gaye!

  3. I was surprised- it actually was a well thought out article. I can’t even tell you how many of the daytime talk shows geared toward women have had stupid or even dangerous tips. Sadly I also see women who are in the same boat I am- trying to find like minded people. It’s funny- we are more “connected” than ever via smart phones, tablets, and computers… and some how it doesn’t do any good. No worries- Keep calm and prep on 🙂

  4. I am very impressed with the security film from 3M that you put on your windows. I had to bring my house up to code with this product and even if you have several panes of glass on your window, it still acts as a security on the inside pane if someone wants to break the window glass. In a riotous situation people will want to break windows. It is inexpensive if you do it yourself. I found it on amazon and if someone try’s to break the window with a baseball bat they can’t. Well worth the time, effort, and money. We are putting them on all of our windows, even up stairs.

  5. My efforts to establish a “prepper pod” with other single women has been a failure. Please advise me how to find “givers” with skills and resources instead of just “takers” with which to network. I have tried to discreetly recruit friends, neighbors, and co-workers but they have apparently just been passing out my phone number to widows wanting to be “taken care of” in an emergency situation.

  6. Gaye, living alone for for so many years, I’ve gotten everything you listed down to a science (more like a highly intuitiveness!!!). The only thing I couldn’t control is #6 as I was in a small small town and everybody knew who, what, where, and with whom any one was coexisting with. They knew I was alone, and I’m sure it was for that reason I developed the other areas so quickly. I could probably write a book for women who live alone, but I haven’t the time. I loved the article!!!

  7. In a worst cace try to dress and act in a way that will not call atention to the faft you are a woman. Where loose fitting mens close. cut your hair short,get some dirt under your fingernails

  8. My dogs always know when someone is outside before I do, even if it’s at a neighbors’ house. Thanks for all the good tips.

  9. I find that the hardest thing about prepping as a single woman is not having anyone to discuss things with, share ideas, etc. I have tried joining several different prepping groups, but none have lasted. I know there are also couples in which one partner preps and the other doesn’t, so I don’t think I’m alone in this feeling! But I will not change who I am because I can’t find likeminded friends. Just keep on doing the stuff!

    • I’m not sure which state you live in, but there is an organization called the National Ladies Homestead Gathering (www.ladieshomesteadgathering.org), which is an organization just for women. The meetings are generally very organized and while not all topics relate to ‘prepping’, there is alot of overlap with homesteading.

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