Poland’s government has issued a guide advising the public on how to be prepared for and act during crises, including a potential war and foreign occupation. The booklet includes information on how to cope when under various kinds of attack and what to pack when forced to flee or take shelter.
“The ability to cope in situations of threat is an important element of building a resilient society, which translates directly to the resilience of the state,” Damian Duda, the head of the Government Security Centre’s (RCB) information policy department, told Rzeczpospolita.
Umiejętność radzenia sobie w sytuacjach zagrożenia jest niezwykle istotnym elementem budowania odpornego społeczeństwa.
„Bądź gotowy” to ostatni materiał, który został przygotowany przez @RCB_RP.
— Rządowe Centrum Bezpieczeństwa (@RCB_RP) April 5, 2022
The 36-page guide, which is available online on the RCB website, contains practical advice on disinformation, the air-raid siren system, taking shelter and evacuation, and hostage situations, as well as how to act in case of occupation, gunfire, explosions, and chemical, biological or nuclear attacks.
If you see soldiers who do not appear to belong to the Polish army or allied forces in your area, for example, you should stay calm and keep out of their way where possible, as well as avoid looking at military vehicles, taking photographs, or arguing with the troops.
In such situations, the guide also advises stocking up on water, counsels against going out after dark, and suggests wearing clothes in “neutral colours without symbols or emblems” and finding companions.
People can consume food they already have at home or given out by humanitarian organisations, but also remember that “even if the local shop has been destroyed, you can find food there”, says the guide.
The illustrated booklet also gives practical information on how to cope without electricity and administer first aid, and provides checklists for packing an emergency bag as well as important telephone numbers.
The guide is intended to “explain in a simple way how to prepare to act in a crisis situation – what to do to avoid a threat while it is happening”, said Duda. “There might be different causes for crisis situations – it could be an accident or emergency in an industrial plant using dangerous substances in the technological process, for example”.
It has arrived. The pamphlet being sent out to all Swedish households. “IF CRISIS OR WAR COMES” “Important information to the citizens of Sweden”. pic.twitter.com/U1MNmu6XEV
— Mia Stålnacke (@AngryTheInch) May 29, 2018
The publication resembles similar guides issued by other countries, because advice on how to act in crisis situations is often universal, reports Rzeczpospolita. Sweden, for example, produced a booklet in 2018 in response to Russia’s aggressive conduct, sending it to all households in the country.
“We checked the Scandinavian and American models, but we also had a guide published in Ukraine a week before the escalation, and that was closest to our realities,” Duda confirmed.
The RCB is a government agency tasked with dealing with crisis management and monitoring threats to security. It is most familiar to residents of Poland as a result of the text message warnings it sends warning of expected severe weather events.
Main image credit: RCB (screenshot)
Ben Koschalka is a translator and the assistant editor at Notes from Poland. Originally from Britain, he has lived in Kraków since 2005.