rt. In our daily routine it seems natural to us that we can obtain water, electricity and food at any time and anywhere. We know that this has not always been the case, but 70 years of growing prosperity make an emergency situation seem almost unrealistic. However, there are many signs that make rethinking seem sensible today (e.g. epidemics, blackout).
Various institutions in the country are permanently and sometimes professionally engaged in making specific preparations for various crisis situations. Swiss civil protection enjoys a good international reputation. We notice little of this when we are not directly involved. In recent years, for example, civil defence and rescue organisations have been reorganised in order to be able to react more adequately. Nationwide exercises are regularly held on various scenarios (e.g. the 2019 GNU19 overall emergency exercise).
But how can everyone prepare specifically for a situation of crisis situation today?
Before individual precautions are listed, we call our present living environment into consciousness: In recent decades, major upheavals have changed Europe and thus also Switzerland (mechanisation, digitisation, industrialised agriculture, mobility, centralisation, etc.). Our supply of essential goods and the facilities that contribute to it are functioning virtually smoothly, giving us a high standard of living.
Our supply takes place “just in time”. The producer has no large stocks the products are in trucks, railway wagons, ships or airplanes on their way to the consumer. Agriculture has also changed; it is now highly specialised and mechanised to remain competitive. The diversified farm with cows, chickens, pigs, grain cultivation, some vegetables and fruit is almost only found in children’s books, even if many regret it. In most cases, our water supply runs via larger interconnected systems with countless pumps and sewage treatment plants.
Large streams of people move across the country every day. Many of them regularly change continent. The traffic of the SBB (Swiss federal railways), aviation, shipping and motorised traffic is managed and regulated electronically. Shops, hospitals and commercial enterprises also benefit from innovative software solutions that control and monitor small and large systems, thus relieving us of a lot of work.
All our communication is now based on electronic equipment and enables completely different work and behaviour processes. The world has changed rapidly. But it has become much more sensitive to disruption. A few recent blackouts have reminded us of this.
Everyone can take some precautions in their personal household and in their environment, which are relatively easy to manage and which can help over the initial period of an emergency. “Classic”, and expressed in modern terms, “basic”, is the emergency supply that our grandparents already knew.
The Federal Office for National Economic Supply (Bundesamt für wirtschaftliche Landesversorgung BWL) recommends an emergency supply with sufficient food for one week and water for 3 days:
Of course, a larger supply can also be stocked, but you should be able to handle it so that the goods do not spoil. You can also find more informative guidelines on the website of the BWL.
Anyone who wants to be prepared for various crisis situations should inform themselves via the Federal Office for Civil Protection FOCP (www.babs.admin.ch). Via the app or the homepage www.alertswiss.ch the user is guided to personally think about possible crisis situations in advance. In addition, he can participate in an alarm chain.
In principle, however, alerts in Switzerland are carried out by siren and radio. This is because smartphones or the telephone networks fail in the event of a major power interruption.
In order to be prepared for the various crisis situations, should they occur on a larger scale, it is advisable to get to know our Swiss security system and to know how and where one can make a personal contribution. Information about this will be provided in a further article. •
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