Surviving in a war zone – more ‘lessons learned’

I always pay attention to accounts from those who’ve survived natural or man-made disasters.  Not only do they hold valuable lessons for those who haven’t experienced such situations, but they also reinforce the reality that much of what we hold dear is frippery, of little or no real importance.  They expose our ‘consumer lifestyle’ for the thin veneer that it is.  When push comes to shove, only the essentials count.

In these pages we’ve spoken about lessons learned after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita;  the blog ‘Surviving in Argentina‘ by FerFal, who experienced the economic collapse there and shared the lessons he learned;  and the account of ‘Selco’ during the Bosnian War, among other survival-related ‘lessons learned’.  Now comes another account, this one from Gaza during the Israeli invasion of that territory during 2014.  The author is clearly pro-Palestinian and anti-Israel;  but whether we agree with his stance or not, it should not prevent us learning from his experience.  Here’s an excerpt.

Anticipate and don’t hesitate. Don’t wait for it to happen, and head out of your house in the daylight to stock the basics. Make a plan and a list of everything you need and make sure to calculate the distance between the places and the time you will need. You are not going on a fun ride. Make sure all the places are nearby and easy to reach without wasting too much time. You will need a good amount of clean water because no one knows how long it will last.

Stock up on bread and canned food, they last longer than fresh food. Do not go out at night, unless it’s an emergency. Make a list of all numbers you will need in urgent times like numbers of hospitals, doctors, family members, friends, pharmacies and such.

Stocking up on medicine is more crucial than stocking up on food. Don’t only get medicine that you take or your family takes, make sure you stock up on emergency medicine, such as a first aid kit, bandages, plasters, medical cleansing alcohol, burn soothing creams, anesthetics, dehydration solutions, painkillers and anything else you might think you will need during days of war. Remember, during war, anything can happen, so it’s important to be vigilant.

Earplugs, earplugs, earplugs. Especially for those who have issues because the sound of the blasts might cause infection, pain and/or damage to the ears.

There’s more at the link.  Interesting and recommended reading.

I must admit, I hadn’t thought about the need for earplugs for everyone, even though I use them when I nap during the day.  On the basis of personal experience, I agree that when explosions are crashing all around, earplugs might be as much of an aid to sanity as they are to preserve hearing! It just goes to show – there’s always another lesson to be learned, if you keep your eyes and ears and mind open.



  1. Earplugs are cheap when bought in bulk. Look at Industrial Supply Stores. Cheaper there than at shooter's shops, and the same or better quality. I think, the last time I bought earplugs, I paid 5 cents a pair for a box of 1000 sets.

  2. Apparently it's pretty much a given that a soldier going to war will come back with hearing damage.

  3. I must disagree with this: "Stock up on bread … they last longer than fresh food." Bread turns to assorted molds in only a week.
    If you want to stock starches, buy airtight sealed packages of rice/beans that've been sterilized by radiation – that will last for years.

  4. When dealing with explosions and large caliber gun fire (tanks, artillery, etc), hearing protection muffs are much better than just earplugs because they protect from the pressure wave and not just the sound level itself.
    When I've worked with the military, or just done alot of personal shooting in a day, I find I am less tired and more alert afterwards if I use muffs, or even better both together (dual hearing protection).

  5. As Jonathan recommends, muffs!

    Any time I shoot around objects that can reflect sound from the muzzle flash, I use both plugs and muffs. This would be flat surfaces, for the most part. Even just a roof over a shooting bench can increase the noise, especially if there are multiple shooters on the line. Particularly annoying are dividers between lanes, as the sound waves bounce back and forth between them, especially indoors, with essentially four surfaces around your head.

    I wish the indoor ranges would add some baffling or absorbing materials to them, or just change them to nets. They certainly aren't armored, so the only real benefit would be to stop brass from hitting your neighbors. Might stop chunks of exploding guns, perhaps, but the only time I've been hit is from a ricochet off a target holder a couple lanes over from me (from a .22LR and a new shooter).

  6. I've read Selco's stuff and it is very interesting. I hadn't thought of the earplugs, and having been in a war zone, I should have. People whose experience with explosions is limited to TV and movies have no idea just how loud they can be.

  7. Unfortunately if you take prescription medication it's extremely difficult to obtain any to keep ahead or stockpile. It'd be nice if your doc would or could write you a prescription for a 6 month or year's supply and you could just rotate it through with your regular meds but he can't do that. Even if you wanted to pay cash out of pocket and avoid insurance he can't do it. In fact, with many meds you can't even fill a prescription a day or two early. The only options are bad ones. You can forego the occasional dose and put it into a medication reserve. The other option is black/grey market with all the legal and personal risks that entails. Plus if you ever get caught with extra meds there will be legal repercussions as well.

    Back when America was sane and free one could walk into your local pharmacy and walk out with any pharmaceutical you desired without prescription or government involvement. Heck, if you didn't want to go to the local druggist any pharmaceutical was available via mail order. Sent away your order and a few weeks later the mailman delivered your liver pills, cocaine, laxative, vitamins or opium right to your doorstep. This country must've been really something to see back when it was truly free. I wish I could've seen it.

    Bottom line is that in the event of any sort of serious disruption, civil or natural,
    those who need prescription medications to live are going to be some of the first to die in the aftermath. If you suffer from a chronic pain condition you'll either die from withdrawal or be in agonizing pain until you die from the stress of the pain itself or from your own hand. But hey at least you'll die knowing some miserable junkie scumbag somewhere might have had a marginally more difficult time getting high at some point.

  8. Duke, as with anything it's situational. You've gotta know the resources that your area provides. In Gaza I suspect that sealed, sterilized grains and legumes are a lot more expensive and harder to come by than rice and beans. It's also a cultural issue, when a Palestinian says "bread" they're likely talking about a pita-type thing which, if not stored in a moist environment like a plastic bag, can last a heckuva long time.

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