Released by the UK Department of Health.
“Arrangements for Health Emergency Preparedness, Resilience and Response from April 2013“.
The Health and Social Care Act will strengthen arrangements for emergency preparedness, resilience and response (EPRR) with the changes coming into effect in April 2013.
This document describes the principles that will underpin EPRR, and sets out the roles and functions of the Secretary of State for Health, the Department of Health, the NHS Commissioning Board, Public Health England and Directors of Public Health working in local authorities. It also describes how EPRR services will be delivered at all levels, how this will align with wider multi agency civil resilience, and the steps being taken to implement the new approach.
In the same way that all survival ‘kits’ have the same basic components, which we add to when expecting to face specific dangers, all survival plans should have the same basic priorities that are elaborated on to face individual needs or scenarios.
These needs/scenarios take into account things like:
- Location. Whether you are based in a city or rural environment and where you expect to be if the SHTF (work or home)
- Personal abilities. Survival experience and personal survival development as well as injuries/illnesses that might hamper your survival plan.
- The nature of the emergency or disaster you face. Obviously, a local riot presents significantly different dangers than a flood or fire.
There are others, but you get the idea. Any survival guide worth its salt (and I like to think we’re getting there) will recommend the same seven basics that need to be assessed before an emergency and followed during the emergency, obviously changing the order of necessity according to the nature of the moment. So, without further ado…
Tools. Invest in a good knife and keep it handy. This is pretty much Rule Number One of survival and if you haven’t done so already then it should be at the top of your To Do list. Of course, we’re talking here about preparing for and coping during immediate and unexpected emergencies and disasters, so an exhaustive tool list/kit is unnecessary. If you keep a tool kit in the car, that’s wise. If you have an extensive tool kit at home, great. What you need in the heat of the moment is a surprisingly small number of items.
Your knife. A first aid kit – well stocked but not full of things you are unsure how to use. A length of rope will help you out in countless scenarios. Sanitation and personal hygiene items, even just a toothbrush and some toilet paper (shell out on the luxury stuff, you’ll be thankful of it) and a small towel or wet wipes to keep yourself clean. Lastly, a multitool is almost without exception a wise investment, the exception being when you buy a sub-standard multitool. With multitools, you generally get what you pay for, so shell out as well after doing your research. Remember, you might well be gambling your safety and the safety of your family on the effectiveness of these tools.
Travel. Travel only really comes into play in a Bug Out scenario, and in the middle of a large scale problem such as a terrorist attack, virus pandemic or just civil unrest it is probably wise to not travel unless absolutely necessary in any case.
If the necessity does arise to travel however, it is essential to plan your route meticulously beforehand. If you are deserting a city, you will not be the only one and major roads will become congested within minutes if they are not nose-to-tail already (I’m looking at you London!). Pay attention to news reports closely as accidents will be on the rise and there will be less emergency services available to attend them. Also, the local traffic Police may have opened specific routes for people leaving the city and closed others. It might be worth researching your local Council’s Emergency Evacuation Plan when you have a quiet moment. Most Councils have drafted one but they are commonly quite vague as emergencies are all different.
If you are travelling through unfamiliar terrain and break down or come off the road. Stay with your car and treat it as a normal accident. Panic is your enemy, especially if you are ‘escaping’ something. Your vehicle is your best shelter, protection and HQ. You are more likely to be found by the emergency services if you are with your car, and as long as the engine is still operational, you have a radio for updates on the current emergency status.
Look into the idling time of your vehicle while stationary and with a full tank. That way, you can estimate quite accurately how long you can keep the radio/heater/light on if you are waiting by the side of the road for rescue. Keep a mobile phone charger, preferably battery operated, in the boot alongside your Travel Emergency Kit (that is totally there right?) to ensure you can contact help if you need to.
Communication. This aspect of survival has various parts, especially in the initial stages of dealing with an emergency or disaster. First of all, if you are separate from your family when disaster strikes (at work, at the shops. An EMP strike could happen any moment) what method will you use to contact them? With the power down, mobile (cell) phone towers will not operate meaning your fully charged iPhone 4s is as much use to contact your family as a bowl of wet sand. Standing, network telephones might work as the networks to some extent power themselves, but how long will they work for, and do you know the numbers you need to call? It could be a good idea to start writing these contacts down in a ‘little black book’ instead of just relying on your smart phone. Also, look into ways of charging your phone from batteries in case the mobile network does happen to survive, but the power does not.
You will also want to stay informed of what has happened, is happening and is likely to happen soon. For this it is wise to invest in a small, battery powered AM/FM radio and spare batteries, or for the more hardcore amongst you, a ham radio kit – also battery powered. There are £Pound£ Shops dotted all over the country that sell battery packs at ten for £1 so load up. In the more rural areas you could even invest in a map and compass, but in most of the UK you are never too far away from a town as to get hopelessly lost.
Shelter. In the aftermath of a full scale natural disaster like the Haiti quake or the Fukashima disaster, it is exposure to the elements that becomes the next major danger. This is also true of hurricanes and flooding, where people’s homes are literally blown or washed away before their eyes. People living in areas that have those elements to face however usually have a plan for finding local shelter, or plans are in place to shelter the victims in sports stadiums or schools.
In the UK, we only rarely have to deal with extremes of weather but they do happen. More common for us are unexpected snow storms and persistent heavy rain leading to localised flooding. The question of shelter comes into play when you are preparing your Bug In – Bug Out plan. It is rare that you will need a bug out plan in the UK unless facing the actual destruction of your house from fire, but it is still an essential part of Prepping and as soon as you leave your home, shelter becomes an issue. Can you go to friends or relatives? Do you need to camp and if so where can you go?
Also, consider what ‘shelter’ means. It means you’ll need clothing and equipment and you might need them in the blink of an eye, without a chance to dash ’round the house gathering them from wash baskets and attic spaces. If camping is a viable option in your bug out plan then where is your tent, can you assemble it correctly and are all the pieces in the bag? What will you wear? If you could be out for one or several nights you will need warm clothing, blankets, sturdy gloves, maybe even a ground sheet. Can you carry them all between your family or will sacrifices have to be made (of equipment, not family members!)
Heat. The majority of houses these days are not built with working fireplaces and rely entirely on electricity for heating. Before you say “Mwa ha ha ha haaa you fool! This place is heated by gas!”, what sparks the little pilot light? In some climates, heat can be as little as wearing a jumper to bed. In the UK and Scotland however temperatures can plummet overnight, and are rarely tropical during the day so a plan to heat your home is relevant. If you are planning to, or have to Bug Out, you should supply yourself with a fire-kit and know how to use it properly.
At home, learn how to start a fire and keep everything handy that you’ll need in case you have to do so. Teach your kids fire safety and keep in mind where your designated fire area will be. It is unwise to have a fire inside but if that is inescapable, keep it small and everything you need to extinguish it close to hand and keep it ventilated. Never use charcoal to heat indoors unless you have a purpose built charcoal burner, and even then do not try to cook on it. Inside, camping gas lamps (normally fuelled with paraffin) and camping gas stoves (pressurised gas or Methylated Spirits) can heat a room if all the doors and windows are closed – but again, remember ventilation and do not leave an open flame unsupervised.
Important: Methane gas is a by-product of the incomplete combustion of fuel. A build up of this, even from a small paraffin lamp can be fatal in a small, sealed environment. Even if you have to compensate a little heat, keep a flow of air through your shelter.
Keep a supply of warm clothing, hats and gloves around, and there are products around that can keep your hands warm if things are getting a little tough.
Food. In the UK it is unlikely, very unlikely, that you will die of starvation in the event of a natural disaster, but if the power goes out you will not be able to feed yourself in the normal ways nor will their be any refrigeration until the power comes back. A good supply of canned foods, high energy/dense nutrition bars and ready to eat (add hot water) are available at every supermarket and easy to use cooking components can be bought from every camping store. If you want to be ready for long term self sufficiency then there are other options such as portable cooking stoves, or you could just eat barbecue every day. Yeah, that sounds like Heaven, but how will you keep the meat fresh?
The main question about food preparation, as I see it, is how reliant you wish to be on the State and Local Government to provide for you. The basis of Prepping is self reliance after all, so the goal should be for there to be no reason for you to need to go with your begging bowl to the bread line, undermining all your preparation. As a bare minimum plan to have enough meals available to fulfil your families calorific intake comfortably for at least two weeks, more if you live in a rural area with little chance of immediate help, and more depending on how long you want to stay self sufficient.
Water. In a large scale emergency such as an EMP Strike or city-wide blackout, not only the lights will go out. In all cities and towns the water is pumped to residents by electric pumps that will automatically give out – without back up – when the power goes down. In fact, to try and stall or prevent a blackout the water might be switched off prematurely.
Therefore, the reserves of water for both drinking and sanitation that you have available at ‘go time’ will be all you have until the power is restored. Fine, this might be the very next day. But it could be a week, or even two if the country is hit by an EMP. A person at rest loses between two and two and a half litres of water (or two to two and a half ‘quarts’ for our Americousins) a day. Some of this is in urination, some in sweat and some via Insensible Perspiration – keeping skin supple and eyes bright. This needs to be replaced to prevent dehydration, which leads to tiredness and sickness and prevents you being an effective team member.
Most, if not all, the people I know or ask do not drink that amount of water every day. It’s seen as something only gym-goers do. But we are always conscious that we have water available if we need it, you just turn on the tap (putting aside for the moment any concerns about Sodium Fluoride). In a survival situation, when we can’t be sure when the taps will work again, we need to do everything we can to promote and sustain our good health for the duration. If you are staying put, or ‘bugging in’, you need to be sure you have at least 2 Litres of fresh water per person per day available just for drinking. If you are expecting hot weather or strenuous activity, double it. If you are leaving your location, ‘bugging out’, then plan to carry a gallon per person, and have a plan to get more as an immediate goal.
The Almighty CONCLUSION.
These basics are the first things that need to be considered when establishing a Preparedness Plan but other things need to be taken into consideration, regarding where you live and your particular circumstances. For instance, local Emergency Planning might affect your personal plan, or what changes if your lights go out in the middle of winter instead of Spring?
For now though; go buy a knife, stock up on food and start some fires! What could be simpler?
All law is complicated, but UK knife law is not only complicated, but misleading. It is also subject to change, at any moment, for almost any reason. Due to the rising statistics of knife crime in the United Kingdom (at the hands of people that are not law abiding in the first place), our Government has made it very difficult to own or use a knife in any circumstance whatsoever.
It’s not their fault. Successive UK Governments have failed to impress us on so many levels that they routinely make knee jerk reactions to solve a ‘current’ problem or please a single issue group, and end up upsetting the entire population into the bargain. Sometimes, I think it would be better if they were corrupt, because they’re just… inept, and that’s not a good look.
“It is an offence for any person, without lawful authority or good reason, to have with him in a public place, any article which has a blade or is sharply pointed except for a folding pocket-knife which has a cutting edge to its blade not exceeding 3 inches.” Criminal Justice Act 1988 Section 139. Read the whole thing here.
Here, the phrase “lawful authority” refers mainly to the Emergency Services, and if you are a member of them then you already know the rules. However, “good reason” is used to denote civilians that use a bladed tool or knife in the course of their business; for example carpenters or chefs. This rule also covers religious / ceremonial costume such as the Scottish ‘sgian dubh’, a knife worn on the calf.
Also, the term “public place” is duplicitous. Of course, your town’s local High Street is a public place, but the term also refers to “private” places that the public can access. Even a “private” campsite that members of the public have arranged access to is recognised as a Public Place once the public arrive. You could still own and use a knife there, but you fall under the “good reason” clause. Just, “dude, we’re camping here” won’t cut it (excuse the pun).
Read it again: “…except for a folding pocket-knife which has a cutting edge to its blade not exceeding 3 inches.”
The exception was included (Section 139) because it was recognised that some knifes are carried just for general use and not for overtly criminal reasons. When written, it was a ‘common sense’ rule. Nowadays, in the age of PC and litigation, the concept of common sense has to be defended. Now, even a locking blade knife of under 3″ can be regarded as an offensive weapon if it is carried for that reason. It is up to you, the defendant, to prove that you were carrying the blade for a “good reason” and you may be sure that you are guilty until proven innocent.
As you can see, it is very easy to fall foul of the knife law in the UK. You could be alone on a private campsite, forgotten knife in your pocket from a day cutting wild flowers, and you can be arrested and charged for carrying an offensive , bladed weapon in public without good reason. That’s a minimum five years in prison.
“I have many faults, but I am a man of ruthless honesty”. This is my often used disclaimer for when I am about to offer advice or opinion when I might not be the best man for the job.
Discipline is something I personally have always lacked. From a young age I rebelled, messed around and got in trouble with the law. Alongside this I ‘experimented’ widely with various substances and with zealous dedication to my science. I like to think those times are all behind me now though. I’m in no way perfect, but I am improving. Mostly, I owe my improvement to my Preparation.
This, I think, is one of the exemplary characteristics of Preppers worldwide; in the face of TEOTWAWKI (glossary) we go against the grain and prepare to face it down like men. When it does come down and people are running wild in the streets, looting and killing, it is the Preppers that will stand proud among men. It is the Prepared that will retain their dignity in the face of insurmountable odds.
In these troubled times when a man can’t get a job, when war is on the horizon and when people are so tense you can feel the anger on the high street, it can be hard to find a reason to get out of bed. Every time I open my eyes I seem to receive a Bill for something or other. Gas, Electricity, TV Licence, Council Tax, my nightschool classes, my (cell) phone, water rates, credit card bill the list goes onandonandon and on and on.
Seven UK water firms have stated that due to two successive unnaturally dry winters, hosepipe bans would be implemented across the UK alongside water restrictions because of low stores in reservoirs and aquifers.
The companies bringing in the bans and restrictions – to officially begin as of the 5th April – are: Southern Water, South East Water, Thames Water, Anglian Water, Sutton and East Surrey, Veolia Central and Veolia South East. Collectively they service the majority of households in the south of England.
Unless there is a turn in the weather, bringing harsh rains in the next few weeks, the drought could spread as far north as Yorkshire and as far west as Hampshire/Wiltshire. The Environment Agency, the body that released the report, says that a drought would affect agriculture, pushing up the price of field-grown crops such as potatoes and vegetables.
But don’t worry. The Olympic Games will not be affected in any way. ಠ_ಠ
Neither will the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.
Meanwhile, for the rest of us, the restrictions could come into place as soon as the end of March. These would include bans on non-essential water use such as lawn maintenance and car washing.
The National Farmers Union has said that the restrictions would have a great impact on pastoral farming as well as arable, and has asked for restrictions to be lighter to protect their industry, having already reduced the area of land they have collectively planted by 20%.
In response the Environment Agency has issued advice to the farmers about water conservation. IMHO that is a bit of a cheeky thumb-of -the-nose, but who am I judge? The advice includes such obvious gems as:
- Farmers should attempt to improve their water efficiency now and set up groups to share what reserves are around.
- They should fill up their reserves before the bans and restrictions come into place.
- A fast-track system is being put into place for farmers to get water quickly when reserves are high.
If the unusually warm weather continues we could even see more extreme measures coming into play such as water actually being turned off in residential areas and public standpipes being brought in, like the 1976 droughts. Now, far be it from me to be suspicious of local councils, and by extension the government, meddling in peoples lives (I leave the half-paranoid conspiracy theorising for my own blog sevenjames.com) but if government is involved it is usually not in everyone’s best interests. For example: either the water could be heavily fluoridated or medicated – some government agencies have advocated adding Lithium to water in a crisis (and even when things are fine) to keep populations calm. Alternatively, a more sinister move would be to require people to accept vaccinations before getting their quota of water. They’ll say it’s to protect us from the nasty agents in the water itself, but in reality vaccines are designed to do almost nothing except overload our own, near perfect, defence mechanisms.
But I’m getting off topic. Pray for rain folks. Thanks for reading.
A joint committee consisting of MP’s and Peers, the National Security Strategy -NSS – has released a report to Parliament stating that a partial or full collapse of the single European currency was ‘plausible’. A little non-committal you might think, but they are politicians after all. Claiming that anything is 100% is anathema to them.
In the event of the collapse of the single economy, of which England is not a part remember, it is expected that economic migration and social unrest will rise. This will leave the UK ‘unable to defend itself’ as the economic crisis would force cuts in defence budgets for our already overstretched and nearly crippled military.
The NSS praised the fact that the report was published alongside the Strategic Defence and Security Review, but criticised the lack of an overall plan. The SDSR, according to former Foreign Secretary and the committee chairman Margaret Beckett, is not realistic, does not tackle the big questions and does not guide the choices available.
The report also brought up the ‘special relationship’ between the UK and United States, or more accurately, the weakening relationship between the two. The US is going through remarkable political changes at the moment and is increasingly taking it’s eye off of the UK and Europe as a whole. In a future where we face an economic crisis, the report claimed that the UK would need to adopt a more ‘partnership-dependant’ role in world affairs.
What that means is probably the centralisation of power in Europe into a central European Government out of Brussels. (Seven)
A government spokesman stated that ministers remained vigilant and were aware of “the changing global environment” and threats to the UK’s security.
“A strategy for Britain’s long term security and prosperity is at the heart of the government’s approach to foreign policy”.
The current Terror Threat Level in the UK has been raised to Substantial by the UK Security Services and Home Office.
The UK Security Services, in particular MI5, are responsible for assessing the threat posed from terrorism within the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland. The current levels stand at Substantial in the UK, and Severe in N.Ireland.
The Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre (JTAC) is responsible for assessing the terror threat posed to the UK population, both home and abroad, from foreign bodies and terrorist groups.
The Times newspaper had two illuminating Opinion articles today (2.1.12). The first was written by Richard Ward, the chief executive of Lloyd’s of London, and titled ’That was the year that cost us $350 billion’, the second titled ’Tick the box marked Personal Responsibility’ and written by David Wighton. They both add to the points that Worst Case Scenario is concerned about and stands for. Here’s a summary: The italics are my additions.
(Richard Ward) 2011 will go down in our collective memory as one of almost permanent turmoil. Floods, earthquakes, nuclear accidents, riots, regime changes. All of these figured prominently in the headlines throughout the year, not to mention the still looming global economic crisis or the still reverberating echoes of previous disasters such as Haiti or New Orleans. 2011 has the dubious title of the highest monetary losses due to catastrophe in history: $350 billion – $350,000,000,000. Put it this way, at 28 I have not been alive even 1 billion seconds, and if I was to put a pound in a jar every second from the day of my birth to the day of my retirement at 75, my children would have to take on the responsibility to take it to a single billion. That’s a lot of money lost to catastrophe, a lot of it uninsured.
2011 rolled into town with the Queensland floods in Australia, killing 35 and turning 75% of QLD into a ‘no-mans land’. Only $2.5bn of the $7bn was insured. QLD then faced Cyclone Yasi while New Zealand had massive earthquakes to deal with in February. In fact the entire Pacific rim – dubbed the Ring of Fire – faced upheavals in 2011, most notably with the earthquake and tsunami off Fukashima leading to the disastrous explosions at the Fukashima nuclear plant that is still spilling radiation into the ocean and environment. Over the course of the year, 1,600 hurricanes and tornados raged across the United States, with Hurricane Irene crushing businesses across the states. Bringing the year to a close are the devastating floods in Thailand that have effectively closed the country for business and the tremors felt again in Christchurch, New Zealand. In all, 30,000 lives were lost in various disasters world wide.
Although few of these disasters affected the United Kingdom directly, who can forget the ’Arctic Blast’ that paralysed the Glasgow region of Scotland last year? Or the London riots and their spread across the country, fuelled by class rage and (probably) cheap spirits?
What must be examined by the individual that wants to plan ahead to survive catastrophe is that disasters are no longer a localised problem. Our increasing ‘global village’ and the push of world governments for yet more globalisation and the endless centralisation of power and resources means that if that a problem occurs in any area of supply or along supply routes, then we are in for trouble here as well. So far we have been lucky our greatest threats being only late product releases (cars for instance) and long waits for new or updated technology. However, it is not such a leap of the imagination to see similar delays, either accidental or malicious, for our essentials. Power, fuel and many food sources all come to the UK from overseas or are controlled by overseas companies. In a real crisis their responsibilities to the British public come very low on their list of priorities. Almost every shop on the High Street, excluding those that specifically selling ‘local goods’ rely on the international trade routes and logistic infrastructure, a web of variables that is only as strong as its weakest link.
2012 has begun with the threat of global recession, various military campaigns overseas, social unrest in Middle Eastern countries, concern over freak weather ruining crops, even radiation in space bringing our communication systems to a grinding halt. Businesses can hope for the best, but should plan for the worst. So should we all.
(David Wighton) Don’t we just love it when we read of somebody buggering up a simple task because they followed the rules rather than follow their initiative. People driving into lakes at the behest of their sat-nav or charging into a fight for deals at the start of the January sales, just because the goods are slightly cheaper? What of common sense we cry! Surely we wouldn’t ever do such a thing ourselves!
But we do, often. So many important and intelligent people that run and rule our world so commonly follow the rules of their profession, abandoning their reason in the process, and end up either making utter fools of themselves or making seriously destructive decisions. For example look at the stance taken by the majority of the worlds banks in the run up to the economic collapse of 2008. When all of the signs pointed towards what would become the crash, the banks instead of protecting their capital and their investors, ran full pelt at the crisis as if daring it to meet them in battle. Their risk management systems told them it was all going to be fine, so even though the facts told them otherwise and the wealth of experience in the financial industry said otherwise, they went with the data. They lost. The reverberations are still felt today, four years later.
In the UK we have become increasingly subservient to ’box-ticking’ culture, the absurd but all pervasive Standards That Must Be Met. Under the Labour rule our national and local government/councils became obsessed with targets, figures, regulations and standards. This damaged catastrophically the way that people related to their public figures. We soon became certain that our local council and local services – Police, Fire & Rescue etc – didn’t care about us, only about filling their quotas. Alternatively, they wanted to help us but were paralysed by regulations, health and ’bloody’ safety and the fear of being sued in a liability culture.
Eventually this became normalised, everybody was ticking boxes at work, metaphorically ticking boxes in their private lives (with no small assistance from lifestyle magazines) and had become used to the clerical box ticking of their services. We began to believe that if the boxes were ticked, all would be well. We would be safe, things could carry on and most of all, we wouldn’t be blamed if it all went wrong.
David Wighton then starts talking about banks and performance targets. It’s good reading but irrelevant to my points here. Follow the link to the original story at the end of this article.
It cannot be argued that a sense of regulation and the expectation of targets met is a help to our public and private sector industries. Without them there would be nothing to stop these industries slipping into corruption or ineffectiveness. However, this regulation should not come at the price of, or become more important than human personal responsibility.
Instead of living in the delusory state that tells us that ‘all will be well’ as long as the boxes are ticked, we need to re-establish our own sense of personal responsibility and take back our sense of moulding our own destiny. In the event of an actual crisis the massive majority of people will automatically have to depend on the government to drag them out of it. All of a sudden the government will be under a deluge of people that have become so dependent on their ministrations and handouts that they cannot survive without it, even when there isn’t an emergency to face! There is no way in the world that the UK government, who have proved laughably ineffective in various crises before, will be able to cope. Instead, martial law will be implemented, riots will erupt and people will die.
Do you want to be in the middle of that? You want to be another member of the starving, begging masses crying out to their hapless government for help? Or do you want to be strong in the face of adversity, prepared for what is coming, and a responsible member of a troubled society? I think I know the answer.
It doesn’t mean protesting, demonstrating and chanting that ‘they must do more’. It means that the time has come to take responsibility for your own safety. It is time to sacrifice a little in order to gain a lot in the future. It is time to man up and be ready.