The purpose of Poetslife is to promote the art and discipline of American Tactical Civil Defense for families and small businesses and to contribute practical American civil defense preparedness guidance for all Americans through my articles in the The American Civil Defense Association (TACDA.ORG) Journal of Civil Defense and leadership as the volunteer Vice President of TACDA.


Children and Civil Defense

Find a few simple necessary civil defense supplies (like potassium iodate)  at the American Civil Defense store here.
Read how civil defense still has supporters here.
We teach children from when they can begin to understand subjects to help them have a long, healthy, and prosperous life. Yet the subject of civil defense, essential to those goals, is completely neglected by public, private and home schools every day.
This article will seek to help fill that gap for parents (and grandparents) in some of the core areas of civil defense so you may teach your children and grandchildren those skills.
Greater exploration of the topics of civil defense may be explored by visiting the websites or reading the books suggested here.

Brief Definition of Civil Defense

Civil defense as used here includes all the tasks taken to ensure the safety of citizens from attack (chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear) as well as from the negative impacts of natural disasters.
At the very core of civil defense is the protection of children. In the United States, it is mostly done by unpaid volunteers in support of front-line emergency personnel with oversight by the government.
For background, see the Wold War Museum and the Titan Missile Museum websites.

Civil Defense History: WWII to Today

Civil defense for children has been practiced from the beginning of time, but here we will briefly analyze civil defense from the end of World War II until today. I will then offer several ways to help children with various aspects of good civil defense planning, supplies, and tactics.
From the end of World War II through the 1950’s and 1960’s, the emphasis was on training children on how to “duck and cover” or find shelter from incoming nuclear weapons.
There was also an emphasis on building shelters, often in the basement or backyard. Fallout shelters were built because nuclear war at the time were a good possibility and they were one way to reduce the loss of life should the unthinkable happen.
For the Duck and Cover film that was widely shown to children in the 1950’s and 1960’s, see: For fallout shelter videos, see: History Brief: For Family Fallout Shelters, see the History Brief at:
Today there are many YouTube videos mocking these videos, viewing them as laughable because the nuclear war they prepared for never happened or the shelters and supplies gathered were never going to save anyone.
I disagree.
Given the international tensions at the time and how close we came to nuclear war (I know a Marine who was in Guantanamo Bay and another who was in Florida ready to deploy during the Cuban Missile Crisis…both assure me we were one call away from a nuclear war at that time), those preparations were prudent.
Moreover, preparing to live by preparing to deal with known contingencies (civil defense) has been essential to human survival for thousands of years.
And before laughing too hard, consider that citizens then knew the threats and took measures to prepare to meet and overcome them. How many citizens can say the same today? Witness the panic buying as hurricane Florence approaches.

The Elite Engage in Civil Defense….So Should You

As proof, the Carnegie Corporation just gave a huge sum of money ($500,000) to a junior professor named Alex Wellerstein at the Stevens Institute of Technology to “reinvent” civil defense ( (
His Secrecy Blog ( explores, in a highly cerebral and academic way, the history, reality, threat, potential use, impact and survival possibility of nukes.
Professor Wellerstein also created the NUKEMAP to see if you are in the blast zone should nuclear weapons rain down on your domicile. and the NUKEMAP.
I actually entered my address in the NUKEMAP years ago to make sure my family would be outside the blast zones of Baltimore and Washington, DC. when I moved to Mt. Airy, MD.
Not sure you can get more elite than the Carnegie Foundation. If they are spending large sums of money to analyze and promote (reinvent) civil defense, why not average Americans?
Moreover, the elites have built, and are building, multiple civil defense communities to ensure they survive a nuclear exchange. See here , and here 
And the elite of the elite, Silicon Valley billionaires, have their survival communities ready, and if this is not a contemporary civil defense project, I don’t know what is. Oh, maybe this.
On the natural disaster side, enter #naturaldisaster in an Instagram or Twitter search engine. You will be able to view thousands of videos of natural disasters.
They happen somewhere on the earth every hour. You only know of the ones that affect you directly or that the media chooses to report, but they occur continuously on this dynamic, living, erupting planet.
So, natural disasters happen. Nuclear war has happened and will likely happen again.
Let’s prepare. And live. And triumph. And be great at it!
Here are a few ways you can prepare yourself, your children and grandchildren in civil defense.
Check out Subterropolis. What is Subterropolis? And more. And one more.
And you don’t have to have hundreds of thousands in funding from the Carnegie Foundation to do so.
Just use your family budget in a wise and prudent way.
Ways to do so are below.

Planning for Civil Defense for Children

Kylene and Jonathan Jones, in Provident Prepper: Common Sense Guide to Emergency Preparedness, Self-Reliance and Provident Living, have written a book that comprehensively  deals with civil defense.
For example, Chapter 2 called, Preparing Children to Thrive in a Disaster, present in Plain English the best things you can do for your children, and their practical steps in this civil defense guide book will assist you.
Chapter 4, Family Emergency Plan: We Can Make It Together, details how to create a family emergency plan. They are clear about what I've observed for years: this is a parental responsibility that will pay off when the event happens, and it is a thankless task like many thankless parental tasks.

The Civil Defense Community

Michael Mabee, who wrote The Civil Defense Book: Emergency Preparedness for a Rural or Suburban Community, takes a community civil defense approach. Children are part of a family, but they are also a part of a community. He argues, insightfully, that if the community civil defense is strong, there is a far greater chance children will survive and prosper. The book examines how communities can prepare for and respond to nuclear, terrorist, hurricane, electromagnetic pulse (EMP), power outages, cyberattacks and other natural and man-made threats.

Civil Defense for Children — Medical

Good civil defense planning for children involves medical planning beyond just simple first aid kits and training. To understand just how much greater medical needs for children are in disasters, see: The Storm Doctor: Joplin Tornado ). You don’t ever want to be caught having your children looking at you plaintively with fear facing a major medical catastrophe and you don’t have the tools to handle it. Visit North American Rescue’s product with a mission website, especially for:
·  Trauma and First Aid Kits
·  Audio Bleeding Control Kits
·  Combat Application Tourniquets (CAT)
·  Burntec Burn Dressing
·  Bleeding Control Kits
·  Casualty Response Kits
·  Splinting and Immobilization Products
·  Medical and Surgical Products
·  Treatment Support and Accessories
They offer special forces-level medical products that will provide you with the equipment and tools you need to care for children in a civil defense emergency. See:

Civil Defense Supplies for Children

Because they are children, it will be mostly parents and adults gathering civil defense supplies. One option is the TACDA Store. For example, they sell Potassium Iodate (K103) to shield the thyroid and prevent it from absorbing radioactive iodine during a nuclear emergency. (Unfortunately, people in California during the Fukushima radioactive scare mostly bought knock-off pills that did not work.) Sanitation kits, personal hygiene and first aid kit, folding portable toilets, water filtration socks, Aquarain four filter systems, emergency food bars, privacy shelters, fire blankets and so many products offered there are of great civil defense for children.

Civil Defense — Children Need Clean Water

Water, of course, is essential to life and essential to children, especially for civil defense. Storing that water so that it is available when needed is even more essential. WaterBrick International offers a storage medium that is durable, clean, safe, portable and designed to be conveniently stacked.  Each has a handle for easy use and transport and a spigot for drinking and practicing good hygiene. They can be frozen to extend the life of food or medicine in an emergency, and you can drink the fresh water when they melt. WaterBricks can also be used to store food, to build furniture and shelter, and as sandbags.

Educating Children about Civil Defense

It is up to parents (and grandparents) to know civil defense and to educate their children. The media, government, and schools are not going to do it.
But you can.

Find Fun Events like a Civil Defense Expo

Remember to keep it fun. For example, practice an emergency evacuation as a game. For the wee ones, this will be easy. For the bigger ones, it is more of a challenge, but it can be done.
One great event to do with your children or grandchildren is to take them to a civil defense expo in your community.  It is usually called an Emergency Preparedness Expo. In Carroll County where I live, every September the Carroll County Department of Public Safety presents police and fire, emergency medical services, public safety electric companies, and standing emergency management (civil defense) displays. Many of the activities are directed at children. There are other such civil defense related activities (open house at a fire station (ours features toy trains at Christmas). Keep your eyes open and you will find such civil defense related events to which you can take your children or grandchildren. See:
Find the civil defense and emergency management apps that apply to your area. Our Department of Public Safety offers a Prepare Me Carroll app.
It enables residents to access emergency information, alerts and preparedness guidance on the go. Download the app to all your children’s phones and then make a game of guessing how to find information. Some of the items featured in this app include emergency alerts, local weather and power outages, storm related closures, social media, traffic updates, Emergency Management contact information, preparedness guidance and an interactive emergency kit checklist.
Use your imagination and keep it fun. They will learn how to use it as a game and know how to use it in an emergency.
For starters, read The Provident Prepper and the Civil Defense Book noted above. Both will provide practical steps to get your family ready for emergencies that are certain to happen.

Use the Internet

Use search engines on the Internet ( for search and for browsing are useful) to find additional civil defense resources and learning tools. Be aware that civil defense concepts, strategies, supplies and information may be found under emergency management, survival, prepping or other search terms more popular than civil defense.
YouTube has thousands of civil defense and emergency preparedness videos.
As with anything on the Internet, you must be careful to discern what is good material. For example, when I just searched under emergency preparedness, Keeping it Dutch in Pryor, OK has an instructional video on Hurricane Florence Category 4 Emergency Preparedness!?! How Do You Save the Farm Animals? ( 
There is much livestock in the areas Florence will strike. Here is a useful video for preparing.

Use the TACDA Website

The TACDA website ( has a very useful series of topics under the TACDA Academy tab. (Psychology of Civil Defense, Nuclear Weapons Effects, All Hazard Sheltering, Chemical/Biological Warfare, EMP (Electro-Magnetic Pulse) and Power Failure, Radiation, Natural Disasters, Food Storage, Water Purification, Sanitation, Cold Weather Survival, Evaluation and 72-Hour Kits, Communications, Alternative Energy and Fuel, Medical Preparedness, Triage and First Response, and Post Event Survival). All of these courses may be downloaded as a PDF so you may study them at your leisure.  

Why Civil Defense for Children Matters

Disasters and emergencies happen every day. They are especially hard on children.
As I write this, hurricane Florence is barreling toward the Southeast of the United States. A million parents have had to abandon their homes and drive hundreds of thousands of children great distances  to unfamiliar surroundings.
Ask yourself: Are you prepared to keep your children safe, fed, sheltered, healthy, and medically treated when the next Florence-like civil defense emergency strikes your family?
Start by using the information in this blog post and you will be.
Learn civil defense and teach it to your children.
For background, here is a good article about civil defense in Bismark, ND in 1961.
For an American view of the evacuation of hundreds of thousands of British children from London in 1939 (Civil Defense Measures for the Protection of Children: Report of Observations in Great Britain, February, 1941) see here.
The New Zealand Ministry of Civil Defense and Emergency Management has an excellent page about Prepared communities start with prepared kids.