Tensions often grow between countries to the extent when things come to a boil and bring nations on the brink of war. Of course, no sensible person wants war, but in case it has to happen, you need to know how to be prepared for it. Mass Media student Anchal Sujanti spoke to PR guru Dale Bhagwagar to find out how people could prepare and survive war from home. Here is a summary from her conversation with the public relations expert.
During a war, everything becomes expensive. Retailers might want to take undue advantage of such a situation. After a point, shops near you could close down as well. Black markets may thrive. So you need to stock up on food with longer shelf life — items such as wheat flour, rice, pulses, cooking oils, frozen foods, packed instant noodles, jams, honey, sugar, tea, coffee, biscuits, snacks, energy bars, corn flakes, oats, dry fruits — stuff that could not only feed you and your family, but also maintain energy levels.
Not to forget, lots and lots of drinking water to keep you hydrated. There are high chances of electricity cuts during war, and these can quickly lead to water shortages. Also remember vehicle fuel and cooking gas supplies.
Filling up the fuel tank could be a good idea, in case you need to make any emergency trips. Keeping some raw vegetables and fresh fruits in your initial stock can help, in case of lack of cooking gas supply. Some with a wider vision, may stock up immunity boosters and anti-septic naturals like turmeric, garlic and ginger.
A helping hand
In a crisis, life is more difficult if you try and survive alone. But if you have the support of your family members, close friends and trusted neighbours, you could share resources, which could make things easier. Plus, caring communities can also be of great moral support and reduce fear. Help the injured. Don’t forget that you too could be in their place and would want others to help you. Children too need to be explained rules and the importance of discipline in the event of any possible mishap.
Find sources of correct information
During a war, it is vital to find authentic news from the right sources. In such situations, the government normally sets up websites and helplines which could keep you aware of developments. In case your phone, cable TV and internet networks are down, you could tune in to the radio to get authentic news updates. Whatever be the case, beware of fake news and false propaganda, whether it is through the internet or through rumours. When in doubt, cross check and double check.
Keep these basic tools ready
At such times, the administration generally switches off electricity at nights and instructs people to keep lights off, so that enemy planes cannot easily spot places to target and bomb. You might be instructed to draw curtains and use very dim lights when necessary. In such circumstances, you will need a decent torch and a good stock of candles.
Also, batteries to keep your phones, radios and laptops charged and running for news flow and to react on emergencies. Whichever gadgets require USB charging, keep them fully charged in advance.
Your building society should also ensure that your building has all the firefighting equipment like fire extinguishers in a working condition. For worse situations, face masks could also be kept in handy, in case a fire breaks out in the building. Mind you, in such situations, many collapse due to the smoke first.
Decide on your personal shelter space
During the World Wars, there used to be huge bunkers and shelters, where people could go and hide during bombing air-raids. But in today’s time and age, we do not have such bunkers in cities. Neither does the government have means to build shelters for a large population at short notice. So the best place where one can be safe is probably their own house.
Every house has a place where you can hide a bit, in case of a bombing. When war breaks out, your family immediately needs to decide on nooks and corners inside your house where you can take shelter, in case you spot any enemy planes approaching. You need to plan in advance and designate places you would want to duck in, whether it is a wardrobe enclosure, bathroom, or under tables or beds.
This is mainly done to safeguard yourself from any debris that may fall from the ceiling or any portion of your house which may collapse with the impact of a bombing. Make sure you do not designate such spaces in the kitchen or near glass windows or mirrors. You need to make a Plan A, Plan B and even Plan C, because in a deep crisis situation, you will not have time to understand what would happen at the next moment. It is important to understand that wars are not fought in the conventional way anymore and weapons of mass destruction are more and more powerful now.
Don’t forget cash
One of the most important things you would need is cash. If nearby banks are closed, you would need cash in hand to buy whatever available goods you can. So, withdraw and keep a decent amount of cash at home, which can come of help to survive the war period. Also, be prepared to barter stuff with your friends and neighbours.
Do you have your medical supplies?
Also make sure that you have a proper first aid kit, along with all the basic medical supplies you might need — like paracetamol tablets, adhesive bandages, sterile gauze pads, cotton bandages, topical antiseptic liquid etc — and also your daily medicinal, vitamin or protein requirements, if any. Though it may sound trivial, you could also pay some attention on stocking up personal hygiene items like soap, toothpaste, health oils and other bathroom essentials.
Keep calm, smile and survive
Last but not the least, you need to remember that when you panic, you tend to make wrong decisions. In a crisis, stress management is crucial. When the situation gets aggravated to such a great level, people can snap often and tempers can flow. So one needs to pay a lot of attention to keep the mind calm.
This can be done through listening to music, watching movies (if you have the means), reading inspiring books, watching motivational videos and keeping yourself busy with some entertainment to reduce stress throughout the day. Meditation could also help.
Since one can’t stay indoors all day, you would also need to find a safe space to move around and exercise, as movement is crucial to a healthy mind and body. Maybe a corridor, your building lobby or even the basement. Of course, a little bit of sunlight could be a bonus.
Remember that war can bring untold disasters like black-outs, riots, societal corruption, martial law, and even biological, chemical and nuclear events. The key is to be mentally as well as physically prepared for any situation that is thrown upon you. These points will definitely go a long way in helping you and your family survive. Take care, stay prepared, protect yourself and keep smiling. Rock on.