I note with interest that Germany has announced a new civil defense plan.
Germany will introduce its first civil defence strategy since the end of the Cold War, calling on the population to stockpile enough food and water for several days, according to a report Sunday.
The plan, which makes civilian backing of troops a priority while boosting the resilience of buildings and increasing capacity in the healthcare system, is due to be adopted by the government Wednesday, according to the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) daily.
Contacted by AFP, an interior ministry spokesman confirmed that the cabinet was due to adopt a civil defence strategy but declined details about the concept or comment on the newspaper report.
The strategy noted that “an attack on German territory requiring conventional defence is unlikely,” but said the country should be “sufficiently prepared in case of an existence-threatening development in the future that cannot be ruled out,” according to the 69-page strategy quoted by the FAZ ..
“The population will be encouraged to stockpile food for ten days,” it said, adding that five days’ worth of water — at an estimated two litres per person per day — should also be set aside.
There’s more at the link.
So-called ‘civil defense‘ is a field of particular interest to me, because (among many other things) I was once a part-time, volunteer Civil Defense Sector Officer for a large section of the central business district of a major South African city. The field has changed its focus over the past few decades. In my active days in the field, we trained to mitigate the effects of military or terrorist attacks. Nowadays, as Wikipedia points out, “the focus of civil defense has largely shifted from military attack to emergencies and disasters in general”.
I was particularly interested to see the German plan’s suggestion that civilians stockpile food for ten days, and water for five. In the USA, FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) recommends at least a three-day supply of food and water. On the other hand, other agencies of US government appear to be on a different page. As Survival Blog has pointed out:
No matter what topic the training session concerns, every DHS [Department of Homeland Security] sponsored course I have attended over the past few years never fails to branch off into warnings about potential domestic terrorists in the community. While this may sound like a valid officer and community safety issue, you may be disturbed to learn how our Federal government describes a typical domestic terrorist … Based on the training I have attended, here are characteristics that qualify:
Expressions of libertarian philosophies (statements, bumper stickers)
Second Amendment-oriented views (NRA or gun club membership, holding a CCW permit)
Self-sufficiency (stockpiling food, ammo, hand tools, medical supplies)
Fear of economic collapse (buying gold and barter items)
Religious views concerning the book of Revelation (apocalypse, anti-Christ)
Expressed fears of Big Brother or big government
Declarations of Constitutional rights and civil liberties
Belief in a New World Order conspiracy
A recent training session I attended encouraged law enforcement agencies to work with business owners to alert police when customers appear to be stockpiling items.
Again, more at the link. Of course, the DHS checklist implies that if you follow the FEMA checklist, you may be “all right” in the eyes of the latter department, but a “potential domestic terrorist” in the eyes of the former! Big Brother can be schizophrenic sometimes . . .
There’s a great deal to think about in terms of what to stockpile for emergencies. Some so-called “preppers” or “survivalists” take an extreme view, to the point of orienting their entire lives around such activities. Others, including myself, take a more pragmatic view. We prepare supplies for likely emergencies, plus a few additional items for unexpectedly long-duration crises. (Such a view is often forced upon us by economic necessity. I simply can’t afford either the goods or the storage space for a full year’s supply of food and water for my family, in the form of a balanced, tasty diet plus all the required accessories – cooking materials and fuel, alternative sanitation techniques and supplies, power generation, etc.) If you’d like an in-depth look at that sort of thing, here’s a handy article. I’ve covered several other aspects in my series of articles about emergency preparations, many of which are listed in the sidebar of this blog. For a real-world example of practical considerations during an emergency, see my article ‘Lessons learned from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005‘.
We’ve already seen that a major terrorist attack can shut down parts of a city (including access routes to and from it) for at least several hours, probably a day or two, perhaps even weeks before everything gets back to normal. Residents may not be allowed to enter or leave until the crisis is over. It’s a very good idea to have sufficient supplies on hand to cope with that – hence the German plan’s suggestion of a ten-day emergency supply of food. I think that’s an absolute minimum. I strongly recommend a thirty-day supply of food, and at least half that of water. (Remember that your hot water cylinder is a useful reserve supply in an emergency. Most models hold thirty to fifty gallons of potable water. Switch off the heating element, and use it sparingly. Unfortunately, tankless water heaters don’t offer that option.)
If you’re very short of funds and simply can’t afford to invest a lot in emergency preparations, and/or are very short of space to store supplies (such as in a small city apartment), there are still practical steps you can take. Consider stockpiling some emergency ration bars (I find these the best-tasting of those I’ve tested – they’re available in 1-day or 10-day packs) and a few dozen 20oz. or half-liter bottles of water (the smaller bottles are more easily stored in available nooks and crannies, and can be carried relatively easily if necessary, whereas bigger bottles might be too large and unwieldy). Such limited supplies aren’t ideal, but they’ll keep you alive for a week or two in an emergency until something better becomes available.