Disaster Prep, UK Style

I see that the Brit authorities are suggesting that people carry backpacks with emergency supplies, Just In Case:

Police Scotland and Cambridgeshire Fire & Rescue both unwittingly drew scorn from Twitter users after posting images of the bags, similar to survival packs suggested by US Homeland Security around times of flooding or earthquakes.

Needless to say, the Brits are asking (with some justification):  in case of what?

But it was met with bemusement as some said the suggestion was more suitable for a country facing martial law or a nuclear apocalypse.

Alert Readers will note two glaring omissions:  knife, and ammo — oh wait, silly me, we’re talking about Britishland, where catastrophe will be met with pen and notepad.

Needless to say, it didn’t take long before alternatives were being offered:

Trying to find fault with this one… nope, sorry.  Read the article for the full flavor.


  1. When I worked in NYC I kept a go-bag (a cheap laptop bag I bought at a close-out store) under my desk just-in-case, the contents were based on my experiences of being in NYC both during 9/11 and the big East coast blackout. Bearing in mind I carried a backpack for commuting which always had a few useful items, water, band-aids, multi-tool, Advil, pen/paper etc, flashlight AND I always carried a pocketknife (well concealed, and cheap enough that I was OK tossing it if I had to, because it was enough to send me to prison in NYFC). the go-bag contained more water, another flashlight, a more comprehensive first-aid kit, Cliff bars, dust masks (there was an incredible amount of dust on 9/11) and a cheap claw hammer (also purchased at the close-out store).

    Claw hammer? Well, first, after 9/11 I read about some people who escaped the World Trade Center when the fire door was blocked by debris by using window-washing tools to break thru a wall to get into the stairway. I decided if I needed to break thru a wall, I wanted something better than improvised tools. Second, a determined person with a 16 oz claw hammer is most definitely neither unarmed nor defenseless, and there’s no law (yet) in NYFC about possession of a claw hammer.

    Oh, my EDC pocketknife is a Kershaw Skyline, illegal in NYC because it can be opened one-handed with a thumb stud (which makes it legally a switchblade). Of course, until recently ANY knife a cop could flip open, even once and with as many tries as it took, would get you arrested and the DA LOVED jailing people over Swiss Army knives. A judge recently ruled that there was a limit to a few attempts.

    Mark D

  2. It’s interesting how many comments are of the “we never have disasters in the UK” sort.

    An extended blackout (thanks, wind power!) would justify most of the things in that bag. If they lose power in the middle of a business day, a lot of people would be in deep trouble.

    Of course, being one of those Paranoid Americans, I have all of that trivial stuff ready to go, on the shelves in my kitchen (on the way out to the car/bicycle). I still dither about how much ammo to keep in the ammo bag, though. I’m getting old, and a 500 round box of 5.56 gets a bit hefty on a long walk.

  3. The suggestion to carry the go-kit whenever leaving the house was maybe a bit much (as opposed to Mark’s carrying some items in his commute bag from above), but to me the wankers in this article were all of the “prepare for what?” and “this is fear mongering!” twits.

    Hope all those ostriches die quickly to leave more supplies for the rest of us. Unfortunately those parasites will probably survive be the first ones to demand that those who prepared are “obligated to share”. I do believe Kim has some good posts on these subjects back in the day.

    First aid and survival kits in all family vehicles, more in the house. With some of the ‘Murican additions Kim suggested.

    When I was working I worked next to (and would have helped staff) the local Emergency Operations Center, so didn’t worry too much about work.

  4. Cirby,

    I find that distributing the weight of 5.56 in 20 rd magazines carried in the cloth bandoleers that the US .mil uses to issue ammo (on stripper clips) works well for me. (20×7= 140 rounds per bandoleer). Carry additional ammo on stripper clips in bandoleers. And of course the 30 round starter mag in the weapon.

    As I said, weight can be more easily distributed, you can share ammo (or at least the carrying of it) and, if need be, dump the weight in increments easier than if everything is boxed up in one container.

    Depends on the situation. When I was working, ) the initial mission was E&E the 5 miles of non-inner city urban/suburban territory with competent LE departments back to home. Since it was sneak ‘n’ peek, not shoot ‘n’ scoot I felt comfortable with 170 rounds in the immediate use storage. (plus handgun ammo, minimum 3 mags) YMMV.

    1. RandyGC:
      I don’t have a semi-auto long gun right now – I have multiple pistols and a bolt-action Mossberg MVP rifle in 5.56, which can take AR magazines. I’m really tempted to find a bayonet mount for it, just in case.

  5. > we’re talking about Britishland, where catastrophe will be met with pen and notepad.

    Dammit, man! You were only just over here.


    We British meet catastrophe with a cup of tea.

  6. Up here in the great white north all of our vehicles are prepped to withstand a week in harsh elements. The 2 keep points are, to not freeze to death, and have plenty of water. Guns and plenty of ammo is a given every day of the year. A couple knives on the person is standard all the time, same with a a small LED flashlight and a BIC lighter. These few things are basic common sense.

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