A while ago someone asked if I could offer any advice on how to survive a war. I figured why not, and have been writing this on and off whenever I had time. So here yo go. I hope you never need this.
Nobody can tell you how to survive as war is chaotic and unpredictable and I sure hope you will never have to experience it as I have, but I can tell you what came in very handy during the 4 years of war through which I've been. To make matters worse, I was in an occupied city, fully surrounded by the enemy and on rare occasions, a corridor would open up and people could escape. I have been in countless situations where I escaped death thanks to nothing but luck (or god if you're a believer) which I could have avoided had I been wiser.
Anyways, here are some general tips that could hopefully prolong your life should you ever find yourself in a war as a civilian.
Curiousity kills. When you hear an explosion, do not go out to investigate. Do not even try to take a peak. Shrapnels kill and standing near doors and windows is not where you should be. Ever. Many people have lost their lives by not staying put and going out or just by trying to take a peak.
Avoid groups and especially avoid being in a group on open space. I survived a mortar shell explosion which was specifically targeting us because we were in a group of 10 or so people, eating apples out in the open, midday, near a UN base which was the safest place to be (towards the end of the war) and one woman was killed on the spot. I took cover behind one of the trees when I heard the mortar being fired somewhere in the distance. Avoid groups.
Get rid of things that burn easy. Incindiery ammo and hot shrapnels will set your place on fire, and if this happens, your instinct will be to try and put the fire out. Only do so if the fire is immediate danger to you.
Barricade your doors and windows. You want as few openings as possible. Filling up bags with dirt is probably the easiest way. We used potato bags and bags were scarce in general, so owning 50 or more sandbags can come in very handy should you ever find yourself in a war situation.
Food and water is #1 thing to keep in mind. There will be no electricity for years (4 years in my case) and no running water. Stock up on canned food and water. How much is enough? Think years worth of food. Food that does not spoil for years and which does not need to be refridgerated. You may need to fetch the water from a nearby well or river. Get water containers and make sure they are not white. Get them in dark green or black. White can be seen from a far and snipers will notice you a lot easier if you carry a 20L bright white water container and move slow... Also, never go to fetch the water in daylight. After midnight or before sunrise is your best bet. Stock up on water desinfection chemicals. You may have to drink water from a poluted source for years.
Cigarettes are priceless. Tobacco too. Stock up on that even if you don't smoke. You can always exchange cigarettes for anything. I have seen people collect cigarette butts and recover leftover tobacco from those and roll it out and smoke. I have seen people smoke toilet paper, coal+wood dust, tea... You'd be surprised just how valuable tobacco can be in a war. Stock up on tobacco seeds as well. You can always grow your own tobacco and trade the dried leaves.
Stock up on oil. Vegetable oil but also oil in general. Vegetable oil can be used as fuel in diesel cars and its value can be insane. Vegetable oil can be used to make light candles (with shoelaces) and while we're at it, stock up on this. Your shoelaces will thank you.
Light bulbs, flashlights and rechargeable batteries. All kinds of rechargeable batteries. Tiny, medium, large... one car battery can provide enough energy to listen to the news on radio (once a day) for months. Get a charging device. I used a bicycle and windshield motor from a damaged car to generate electricity, but solar cells or more efficient mechanical generators will make your life easier.
Amateur radios. The only way to send out a message or receive one in an occupied city, was via radio. 1 or 2 radio amateurs kept the hope for hundreds of families and if there was one thing I wish I had - it would be amateur radio scanner and a good antenna. Get two, just in case, and stock up on electrical components such as capacitors and fuses.
Soap. My mom used ashes from the fireplace to wash our clothes. Stock up on soap. Forget shampoos and other fancy stuff. Hard soap is your friend and it lasts forever.
Medicine. Antibiotics. Painkillers. Sedatives. Surgical equipment. You may have to remove a bullet and stitch someone up.
Tools - shovels, wire, nails, screws. You may have to construct a floating river electricity generator using parts from a washing mashine. Here is one on display: http://sssdzb.com.ba/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/3.jpgJPG
Thats it for now. I'm on the road again but I'll try to update this if I remember something or if you ask for more specifics.