HOW TO SURVIVE WAR
|Remember that small
not a carefully planned or predictable activity. More importantly, land
mines, shells, stray bullets and booby traps have no political
or mercy. Keep the following in mind.
- Contact people who
or are currently in the hot zone. Do not trust the representations of
or government contacts. Check it out yourself.
- Avoid politics, do
the beliefs of your host, be firm but not belligerent about getting
you need. Talking politics with soldiers is like reading Playboy with
Pope. It kills time, but is probably not a rewarding pastime.
- Do not engage in
intrigue or meetings
that are not in public view. They still shoot spies. Do accept any
for dinner, tea or social activities. Getting to know your hosts is
Do not gossip or lie.
- Travel only under
of the controlling party. In many cases you will need multiple
from officers, politicians and the regional commander.
- Remember that a
letter of safe passage
from a freedom group presented to an army check point could be your
warrant. Understand and learn the zones of control and protocol for
sides during active hostilities.
- Carry plenty of
articles, letters of recommendation and character references. It may
keep you out of jail, but it may delay your captors long enough to
- Bring photographs of
friends, house, dog or car. Carry articles you have written or ones
mention you. A photo ID is important, but even a high school yearbook
provide more proof.
- Check in with the
intelligence, local businessmen and bartenders. Do not misrepresent
exaggerate or tell white lies. Keep your story simple and
- Dress and act
quietly engaging, affable and listen a lot. Your actions will indicate
your intentions as the locals weigh their interest in helping you. It
take a few days for the locals to check you out before they offer any
- Remember that it is
for noncombatants to be wandering around areas of conflict. If you are
traveling make sure you have the name of a person that you wish to see,
an end destination and a reason for passing through.
- Understand where the
are, the general rules of engagement, meet with journalists and
(usually found at the hotel bar) to understand the local threats.
- Carry a lot of money
hidden in various
places, be ready to leave or evacuate at any time. This means traveling
very light. Choose a place to sleep that would be survivable in case of
a rocket or shell attack.
- Visit with the local
UN, Embassy and other relief workers to understand the situation. They
are an excellent source of health information and may be your only
- If warranted buy and
wear an armored
vest or flak jacket . Carry your blood type and critical info (name,
phone, local contact, allergies,) on a laminated card or written on
vest. Wear a Medic-Alert bracelet.
- Carry a first aid
kit with syringes,
antibiotics, IV needles, anesthetics and pain killers as well as the
medication. It might be wise to use auto inject syringes. Discuss any
with your doctor in advance.
- Understand and learn
range and consequences of guns, land mines, mortars, snipers and other
machines of war.
- Get life and health
(and KRE if
relevant) insurance and don't lie. Tell them the specific country you
be traveling to. Also check with the emergency evacuation services to
if they can go into a war zone to pull you out.
- Carry a military
style medical manual
to aid in treating field wounds. Take a first aid class and understand
the effects and treatment of bullet wounds and other major trauma.