I am watching footage of how Russians are bombarding, shelling, and seizing Ukrainian cities. What should I do if this happens to us? Do not panic. Yes, itʼs hard, but these rules of surviving would help

Dmytro Rayevskyi
Yevhen Spirin
I am watching footage of how Russians are bombarding, shelling, and seizing Ukrainian cities. What should I do if this happens to us? Do not panic. Yes, itʼs hard, but these rules of surviving would help

Karolina Uskakovych / «Бабель»

Following their invasion of Ukraine, the Russian army started to bombard and shell big cities of Ukraine, attempting to seize them, spread panic, and cause suffering to the civilian population. Chernihiv, Kharkiv, Mariupol, Sumy, and other cities are currently under heavy shelling. The situation is terrifying — however, panic is not an answer even in these circumstances. The knowledge of how to act will help more. "Babel" has compiled a list of practical recommendations on how to survive in the city that is being shelled, when water, electricity, and overall civil infrastructure might disappear.

Air raid siren! Panic! What to do?

Not to panic. Here is a simple list of actions:

  • Turn off electricity and electrical devices in your apartment or house, turn off gas and water supply;
  • Close the curtains;
  • Go to the nearest bomb shelter;
  • If the shelter is not available — find a spot at your place near the thick walls. Best if there are two more walls between you and the window. The first will take on the shock wave, and the second will protect from the fragments;
  • If possible, warn your neighbors.

What if the air raid siren catches me when I am outdoors? What if Iʼm walking and there is an explosion?!

  • Lie down on the ground, face down, cover the head with arms;
  • If there is a ditch or other trench-like spot — lie there;
  • If there is a fence nearby — lie under it as it might cover you from the fragments;
  • Donʼt get out of the shelter immediately after it is quiet. Wait for at least 5 minutes;
  • Donʼt go inside the damaged buildings;
  • Assist those who are wounded, if they are around you.

How do I help those who are wounded? I am not a doctor, and I canʼt do anything like that.

It is important to provide first aid before the doctor arrives. If you see a wounded person with an open wound, here is what you can do:

  • Rinse the wound with water, better if it is running water;
  • Squeeze the edges of the wound with your fingers;
  • Treat the wound with hydrogen peroxide (always better to have it with you);
  • Put a piece of bandage or sterile napkin on the wound and wrap it tightly using a bandage;
  • After doing all of the above, put something frozen on the wound, if you can.

What if I have to go through the fire after the shelling?

In this case, it is critical to protect the respiratory system, as people die more frequently not because of fire but because of carbon monoxide. It is necessary to cover the mouth and nose with a cloth, preferably moist. And move by crawling or leaning low because carbon monoxide always rises up.

What if there is a collapse in the house? How do I survive?

First, assess your condition. Figure out if your limbs are broken or not and whether you can free them from the rubble. Then assess the circumstances. If there is a need to dismantle the wreckage, figure out how it is held to make sure you donʼt touch, for example, a wall fragment that keeps the rubble together. Overall, it is best to call for help, use the phone if possible, knock the pipes and use other ways to let someone know you are under the rubble.

If possible, give yourself the first aid.

Okay, we figured out how to act under emergency cases. What if the city is seized? I am most worried about water. What should I do if there is no water?

Stock the water while you have it. Collect it in all containers available. You can also keep water in the bathtub, draining it when you need to use it. If there is no more water in the pipes, use the nearest pump rooms, wells, mine wells. Find out in advance where they are in the neighborhood. The city authorities might also organize the drinking water bottling stations, so stay tuned. In the most difficult most situation, you can melt the snow and drain the water from the pipes of the lower floors of high-rise buildings.

Important! You should boil pump rooms and wells water for at least 10 minutes. And it is better to keep water in closed containers. Use water from open freshwater sources only for technical needs, not drinking or cooking.

What about the electricity supply?

Unfortunately, you canʼt stock up on electricity. If you donʼt have it, only communal facilities can restore it. Nice if you have a generator and fuel for it. You should stock up on various batteries, power banks, and other external sources if possible.

Important! Loss of electricity supply will lead to the shutdown of the boilers, so it will be cold in the houses. Therefore, you need to think in advance about warm clothes, blankets, and other means of heating.

Indeed, it is quite chill now. What to do in order not to freeze at all?

Donʼt try to "warm-up" with alcohol, it only changes how you feel but does not really warm your body. Itʼs also better not to smoke tobacco for a while, as it narrows blood vessels. If possible, drink some warm tea or other warm liquids. Donʼt try to rub your feet and hands, as it does not truly help to warm up the body. Better do some basic physical exercise — like simple arms and legs moves. It is better to heat your limbs using a blanket.

It is best to prevent hypothermia in advance. If your feet or clothes get wet — change the clothes asap. Make sure your limbs, neck, and head are warmed. Scarf and mittens are always a good idea. Avoid drafts and use a blanket or mat when you sleep in the basement.

What if there is no gas? How do I cook?

A key recommendation is to cooperate with the neighbors. Not only for cooking food, but in general. In the cities under seizure people cooperate with each other to organize field kitchens, they exchange products, batteries, and fuel. If the public facilities canʼt help, only people can help each other. Communication also provided moral support through understanding you are not alone in the house, in the street, and in the city overall.

It is best to already start meeting neighbors and agree on the joint activities.

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