28th June 2022 and there is grim news in the papers and on the news websites. Increasingly the media are referring to the outbreak of World War 3 as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The UK Chief of General Staff of the Army has describe this time as the UK’s “1937 Moment”. That’s a reference to the British armed forces needing to be equipped, trained and ready to fight in order to prevent the war which started years ago in the Crimea spreading across Europe due to Russian aggression and policy of occupation of other sovereign states.
The war in Ukraine does seem somewhat remote to people, at least it did, until prices started to skyrocket here in the UK. The vicious price increases we’re seeing across the board for food and fuel have hit households hard. I myself am only eating a meal once a day now in order to save money and thank God for the recent warm weather so I don’t have to pay to heat my own home. The fat cat politicians as usual have their snouts in the trough. There not feeling the squeeze with their subsidised bars and restaurants within the precincts of Parliament and their overly generous allowances. The shareholders of arms manufacturers must surely being doing very nicely as well. After all they had to find a market for their killing machines after the fall of Iraq and Afghanistan. It is us, the ordinary people who, as is normally the case, shoulder the burden. The Government can always find money for war, but when the people need help, the cupboard is usually bare.
So we must take life in hand ourselves and start preparing for the worst, whilst hoping for the best.
Don’t panic Mr Mainwearing, don’t panic!Cpl Jones – Dad’s Army
We don’t have to sit and take it
If war is coming, and let’s all hope it isn’t, we have to make every penny we spend count now and think about mid to long term goals. In short that means sacrificing many of the things we may take for granted in the short term. It also means we have to go right back to the basics. The Government won’t tell you to do this as they’re more concerned about the ‘economy stalling’ than whether you can pay your bills and keep a roof over your head.
What Type of War?
The first thing we need to consider is what form any war would take. Unlike others, who spend thousands of pounds on respirators and chemical, biological and radiation suits, I’ve long since maintained that if the war is nuclear based, then perhaps the kindest solution is not to survive it. If not caught in the initial blast wave and vapourised, radiation sickness is a long and painful death. Even if you manage to avoid that, what type of world would be left after such an event? Long term survival will not be as easy as all those darkly post-apolitical films that Hollywood churns out.
If the war went nuclear, I’d hope to be killed in the first blast wave from a missile as I think that would be the most humane way to go. It may be a fatalistic view, but I think ultimately it is realistic and is the main reason I don’t concern myself with surviving nuclear war.
Conventional War (Air)
Whether being attacked by fighter jets, bombers or missiles, an air based war is probably one of the scariest to try and survive in my book. In recent days in Ukraine we have seen the devastation that can be caused by a single missile strike on a shopping centre. In the age of hypersonic missiles you simply wouldn’t hear it coming and would have no chance to take evasive action, so it remains down to luck whether you become a casualty or not.
Action Point 1 – Learn First Aid
With air strikes carried out by aircraft, possibly with the exception of very high altitude bombing, you would be able to hear the aircraft coming. Perhaps you’d have reduced time when a fast jet is flying a low level to carry out a strafing run, but at least some advanced warning. Whether that would be enough time to allow you to take cover is debatable but at least you’d have some sort of chance.
Action Point 2 – Harden Your Home / Reduce Risk From Shattering Windows
Ultimately, there is little you can do to protect the structure of your home or workplace from a direct hit. Think about what you can do though. Preventing the glass in windows from shattering by using film on the glass panes. What smaller areas within your home could be toughened up to provide somewhere to hide and avoid the blast wave of the explosions? Whilst munitions have significantly moved on since World War 2, many a life was saved back then by hiding under a sturdy kitchen or dining room table.
With our modern gas distribution grids the risk of secondary explosions and fire would be present. What could you put in place to fight small fires? Decide in advance what criteria you would use to determine whether to try and tackle a fire or simply turn and run elsewhere for safety? Where is it you would run to? A neighbour? A friend? A relative’s place?
Action Point 3 – Define Evacuation Locations and how to get there.
Conventional War (Ground)
Unless we see some sort of “Red Dawn” parachute based invasion, I think the likelihood of a ground war in the UK is remote. However, I do think it would be one of the most difficult for any invading force to win. Once the boots of foreign armed forces are on UK soil, I’d expect the network of Army Reserve bases to be activated if they hadn’t already. Whether people take the stance to fight and make any invading force earn every street is a decision they must make for themselves. One thing is for sure, the public in general will be out-gunned unless firearms laws are changed in the face of a national emergency. So I suspect most people will simply acquiesce. How they get through any occupation will depend on what action they have taken beforehand. Once boots are on the ground, it’s too late.
So, think of what you really need. Not what you want. What you need. It comes down to the basics:
Action Point 4 – Learn how to collect and purify rainwater
There are a number of ways of collecting rainwater and then subsequently purifying it. How many do you know? How many can you implement quickly with things you have lying around your home, garden or garage? Clean drinking water is absolutely essential to life, so you should make this a high priority task.
Next comes food. OK, tinned food isn’t always as tasty as fresh food and for most would not be their first choice, but in terms of long-term storage during a war, it is probably one of the best storage solutions we have. The down-side is tinned goods are heavy to move, especially if you don’t have motorised transport. Don’t forget sources of hydration such as the juice in tins of tinned fruit. I’ve seen people pour that away before without even thinking. Dried and dehydrated foodstuffs require clean water to be consumed. They’re not a bad second option if you have access to water, but I’d put them second to tinned goods. Again, you have to make your own decisions to fit your circumstances.
Ultimately, any food you do store needs to be kept securely. Don’t put all your stores in one place and don’t put them all in the kitchen cupboards. That would be the first place any raiders would look. Be opportunistic about where you hide your food cache.
Action Point 5 – Securely store long-life foodstuffs
Everyone’s circumstances are different, so you’ll need to consider your own position carefully. You can’t really get advice from others on what you should do specifically because only you can judge what will protect and preserve the welfare of you and yours.