Civil Defense Concept

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

The government of Germany has recently admonished its citizens to store food and water, and other provisions, including money, at home – enough for at least ten days – in case of an emergency situation.

food stored in cellarLots of jokes have been made about this, as in hamster purchases, and also lots of fear is going about as some wonder whether a war between NATO and the Russian Federation could be imminent, instigated by NATO. But there are many threats today, including cyber attacks on critical infrastructure, that would leave the unprepared in the dark, hungry and thirsty and without energy for cooking and heating and also without money.

There was a time – yes, I know, much of it during the Cold War, but also well, well before that – where having provisions at home was common sense in case of disasters, power outrages, or other eventualities.

Civil defense, in a time not so long ago, also did not just concentrate on the eventuality of war. It also dealt with catastrophes of other kinds, and for that very reason the sirens hat were still being used – and tested regularly, and are again today – in places such as Germany – did and do not just have the air raid sound and that for the all clear but also had one tone for catastrophe and that could be anything from storm surges to large dangerous forest fires (and everything else, for that matter).

In days past the supply chain of stores was a different one than today and stocks were held in a different way and not just be called in and delivered on the just in time principle. Nevertheless people canned and preserved food stuff, buying produce when in season, and laying it up for when not, or in case of emergencies when they could not get to the shops or when the shops could not get supplies in.

In addition to that people also stocked up on other things of daily use and for said emergencies. Toilet paper, batteries, flashlights, etc., were stocked, as was lamp oil (and oil lamps were in strategic stores at the home), candles, matches, and much more.

While it may be somewhat worrying as to why, suddenly, the advice again in Germany, and some other countries – for Switzerland and Czechoslovakia (yes, I still call it thus) also appear to have issued similar advice to its citizens – to store food, water and other necessary supplies, in general it is rather a case of common sense.

I would even suggest to go further than that and follow, to a degree, if one can, what the Mormons do, and that is to have more or less a year's supply of food and other essentials at home, even though, in the case of Germany (and some other countries) the word is five days of water and ten days of food. And it does not have to cost the earth. Buying a couple of tins of this and that and dried foods when one does one's ordinary shopping and storing this in the right manner already gets one to this state without much investment.

On top of that I would suggest to grow as much of one's own food as possible – and this can be done, to an extent, even in small spaces and using containers. The system of allotment gardens and, and we need more of those and the ones I will mention next, community gardens is a further means to do this if one does not have the space in one's own garden (or it one has not got one at all). And any surplus produce should be canned.

Not so long ago canning was even practiced by people in towns and cities, even apartment dwellers in that they would buy produce in season and in bulk – it used to be cheapest then – and can as much of it as possible for use during winter, hard times, or in times of crisis.

Such a store of emergency supplies should also include a means of cooking without utilities, such as a spirit stove, pressure stove or similar. First Aid supplies and necessary medication as well, obviously and some means of communication should also be included.

Means of communication in this instance does not mean cellphones. They may or more than likely may not work in a crisis situation, and that not only because of the battery life and the possibly lack of charging those batteries but because, primarily, because the networks may be down and/or destroyed.

While amateur radio is an option only if you happen to have a license there are means of radio communications, though the distances covered are shorter, even if you lack this license and thus some of those should be included in your emergency store. CB Radio and PMR sets are viable options. The PMR radios, in the US referred to as FRS, have but a short range but are great for communication a such a level while CB Radio, especially helped along with what, under normal circumstances would be illegal, a radio power amplifier.

The latter, much like amateur radio, however, requires a lot more by way of electrical power and also a decent antenna setup. The small PMR walkie-talkies don't but then they don't have the range and, again, there could be a problem with keeping batteries charged, as many do have a special kind of battery set, though in many that can be replaced by ordinary AAA-batteries. It's all horses for courses, as they say.

The entire idea of having supplies to hand in case of any kind of crisis is not a bad one at all – in fact it is a good one – even though in the current world climate – and I am not referring to the weather kind of climate – the advice is a tad worrying in the “do they know something they are not telling us” department.

© 2016