How to behave during shelling
If your home is located in an area of regular armed conflict, you need to strengthen the windows (for example, with adhesive film) – this will help avoid the scattering of broken glass. If possible, close the windows, for example, with sandbags or solid furniture.
How to act in case of fire
Shelling, debris from downed missiles and shaheds, direct hits – all of this increases the risk of fires in the houses of Ukrainians.
To minimize the risk of fire during an alert, it is worth turning off all gas taps and turning off the electricity before going to a shelter or bomb shelter. This will help reduce the damage caused by falling debris.
If you are trapped in a building on fire, follow these rules:
Don’t panic! Only by controlling yourself can you save your life.
Call the rescuers (101) and medics (103) if you have the ability to do so.
If possible, turn off the electricity in the house (apartment), especially if electrical appliances or wiring are on fire.
If possible, try to extinguish the fire with a fire extinguisher, thick cloth, or other available means. Act only if you have the appropriate skills!
If the fire is directly in the room where you are, do not rush to open the windows, as the air will intensify the fire.
Before leaving the room, protect exposed areas of the body and respiratory organs with a thick cloth (preferably soaked in water). Cover your nose and mouth with a wet piece of cloth. This will help reduce the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
Wear clothes that do not contain synthetic materials, as they will melt and stick to your skin.
If you are not alone in the house, try to evacuate children, the elderly, and people with disabilities first. Remember: frightened children often hide under the bed, in the closet, or in nooks and crannies.
Never give children or people with disabilities your respiratory protection equipment, because if you lose consciousness, no one will help them immediately. It is better to prepare separate respiratory protection for them in advance.
If possible, take an emergency backpack with you
Remember where the exit is located and head towards it. In an area of heavy smoke, get down as low as possible or crawl. This way, you are less likely to get poisoned with smoke. Walk along the left or right wall to the exit: this way you will reach the exit and not get confused.
At a closed door, gently touch it with the back of your hand.
- If the door is not hot, open it slowly so that fresh air does not cause a sudden flare-up.
- If the door is hot, do not open it because the smoke and flames will not allow you to exit. In this case
- Block all gaps with a cloth.
- If there are no other options to go outside, the fire is spreading quickly and the situation is critical, open or break a window and call for help.
- In an apartment block, if the way down is blocked, go to the roof or use a fire escape. Do not use the elevator.
- When you get out, inform the rescuers about those who remained in the building, about explosive objects (gas cylinders) that may be there.
If your clothes caught fire:
- fall to the ground and roll to extinguish the fire
- Do not run: this will make the fire grow bigger
If the clothes of a person next to you caught fire:
- Push the person to the ground
- Throw a large piece of cloth (coat, raincoat, towel) over the person. Without access to oxygen, the flame will go out. You can also extinguish flames on clothing with sand, earth, or snow.
- Leave the head open so that the person does not suffocate from combustion products
Immediately after leaving the premises, you need to assess your condition and the condition of the people around you. You can tell if a person has been poisoned by carbon monoxide by the following signs:
- red color of the face;
If these signs are present, the person should be taken out into the fresh air immediately and an ambulance should be called (103).
In case a person has received burns in a fire, first aid should be provided:
- Sit or lay the victim down.
- Pour plenty of water over the burns (15 minutes or more, avoid hypothermia).
- If possible, remove rings, watches, belts, and shoes from the affected areas before swelling occurs.
- Remove clothing that is almost burnt or smoldering only if it is not stuck to the affected areas. Anything that is stuck should not be touched under any circumstances!
- Protect burns by covering them with a clean, lint-free cloth.
- Call an ambulance (103).
- Do not apply any creams, oils, or butters to the burns and do not puncture the blisters.
- Give the victim plenty of water and do not allow him or her to move until the doctors arrive.
If the fire in the building where you are staying is small, you can try to extinguish it yourself with a fire extinguisher before the rescuers arrive.
How to choose a fire extinguisher
The types of fire extinguishers are determined by the class of fire they can extinguish. There are the following classes of fires:
- Solid combustible materials, e.g. wood, paper, fabric.
- Liquid and solid substances that melt.
- Gaseous substances.
- Metals and their alloys.
- Combustion of appliances up to 1000 W.
- Plant and animal oils, fats.
There are four types of fire extinguishers for extinguishing fires of different classes:
- Powder (can be used to extinguish everything except the sixth type of fire).
- Water-foam is used for fires of the first and second class. It cannot be used to extinguish electrical appliances.
- Carbon dioxide is suitable for the second and fifth types of fires. Warm gloves should be worn when using it, as it reduces the temperature up to -70 degrees.
- A water extinguisher is used to extinguish fires of the first class. Do not use it to extinguish electrical appliances.
Which fire extinguisher to choose for your home?
The best option for apartments and private houses is a powder fire extinguisher. It extinguishes most types of fires, including electrical appliances. However, in enclosed spaces, it is necessary to protect the respiratory organs due to the fine composition of the extinguisher.
You can also use a carbon dioxide extinguisher. It extinguishes fires in household appliances and electrical wiring well. In addition, it does not damage things and furniture too much. The most important advantage is that it quickly eliminates the flame due to its strong cooling effect. However, this type of fire extinguisher is not effective during smoldering. And if carpets, furniture, or clothes catch fire, its effect will not be enough.
The material was created in cooperation with the Main Directorate of the State Emergency Service of Ukraine in Kyiv
Behavior rules in the combat area
In times of crisis, many factors will act against you, including emotions. Therefore, remember that you need to stay organized and focused at a critical moment and don’t react to possible provocations. Your safety will depend on it.
We advise you to listen to the following tips:
Always carry your ID with you. Keep money and documents in different places: you will have more chances to keep them.
Keep a record of blood type and possible health problems (such as drug allergies, chronic illnesses) in a pocket of your clothes.
Try to stay away from home and work as little as possible, reduce the number of trips for no good reason, avoid crowded places.
If possible, avoid demonstrating patriotic symbols, which may provoke an aggressor.
Remember shelters closest to your home, work, or places you often visit.
Don’t share your plans with people with questionable reputations or strangers.
Do not argue with strangers to avoid possible provocations.
Avoid columns of equipment and do not stand near military vehicles.
Do not take photos or videos in the presence of people in military uniform, do not try to record their actions, even if you think they are illegal.
Do not watch the course of hostilities; hide as soon as you hear the shots.
Do not carry weapons, do not show the military anything that may even resemble a weapon in shape.
Do not pick up abandoned weapons or ammunition.
Do not touch explosive or just suspicious objects, do not try to disassemble them or move them to another place: even ordinary household items can be mined. Instead, immediately notify the territorial bodies of the SES and the Ministry of Internal Affairs by calling 101 and 102.
Do not wear army uniforms, camouflage, or chevron clothing. Choose clothes of dark colors that do not attract attention. Avoid any symbols, as they can cause an unpredictable reaction.
What can’t be transported on a train during a martial law
Ukrzaliznytsia strictly protects the safety of passengers, and therefore passport control of travelers operates at the stations of the country during martial law. In addition, at the main railway stations of Kyiv, Kharkiv and Dnipro, an enhanced check was organized, similar to the one that takes place at airports. It includes the following technical means:
- metal detector frames
- X-ray unit
- manual metal detectors
It’s forbidden to bring to the station or take on the train:
- firearms, ammunition, grenades or special equipment, if you’re not in the military or if these weapons are not registered;
- cold weapons without a permit for them, except for kitchen, sports or hunting knives;
- drugs, psychotropic substances and poisonous substances;
- self-igniting substances (white phosphorous or phosphorus and siliceous hydrogen);
- flammable substances, for example, gasoline or acetone;
- radioactive substances;
- gas cylinders that were in use.
If you notice prohibited items in a carriage neighbor, inform an employee of Ukrzaliznytsia or call the law enforcement officers. An employee of Ukrzaliznytsia is obliged to inform the police about the presence of prohibited items.
The police will conduct an inspection, the violator may face a fine or criminal punishment.
How to dress for the street in the condition of street lights blackouts
Due to russian shelling of energy infrastructure facilities, an emergency shutdown of street lighting is possible, or a planned one – in order to save electricity. Because of this, drivers can’t always clearly see pedestrians on the street. So we advise you to pay attention to the selection of clothes in the dark time of day.
Choose clothes of light color: this way you are easier to notice on the road. People in black are almost invisible when there are no street lights. You don’t have to wear all white. Half of your clothes (jacket or pants) should be light
Buy reflective clothing items. It can be a bracelet, arm or backpack band, sticker or vest. You can buy a sticker or a ribbon on your arm for 50 hryvnias. Vests – 100-300 hryvnias. So the driver will definitely notice you. According to statistics, reflectors reduce the risk of being hit by a car by six times. For comparison, the driver can see a pedestrian in dark clothes 18 meters away, in white clothes – 55 meters, and a pedestrian with reflective elements – 130 meters away.
Please note that from year 2021, clause 4.4 of the Road Traffic Rules is in effect, which states that in the dark and in conditions of insufficient visibility, pedestrians moving on the roadway or on the side of the road must use reflectors.
After you take care of yourself and your family members – take care of your pets. Buy them a collar that glows or clothes with reflective elements.
How to wear reflective elements?
- They should be placed at the level of the driver’s vision;
- The more reflectors, the better. Wear at least one reflector on each side (left and right legs or arms). Hang reflectors on both sides of a backpack or bag. This way the driver will see you no matter from which direction he is driving.
- The most visible elements are with a size of more than 15 sq. cm.
- Reflective elements are better visible on moving parts of the body (forearms, wrists, lower legs, ankles);
- The most visible color of the reflector is yellow:
- Special attention to children. There should be a lot of reflective elements on their clothes. Place them at the level of the child’s head, body and hands – due to their smaller height, children are less visible on the roads.
- Replace old reflectors with new ones from time to time. Compare them with new ones. Hang both reflectors at eye level in a dark room and point a flashlight at them from a distance of four meters. If the old reflector emits less light, it is time to replace it.
What to do if you fall under the rubble of the house
If a collapse of a destroyed building happens and you are under it, then know that, most likely, rescuers are already on their way to the place. It happens that they can’t get to the place quickly in case that this is being prevented by hostilities.
To help yourself until the experts arrive, follow this plan:
- Call for help! Inform where you are and what happened to you. If you are heard, wait while the blockage is being dismantled.
- If no one hears you: try to free your arms and legs without sharp movements.
- Assess the situation: can you see what has fallen on you, or are you able to disassemble the blockage?
- If so, cautiously begin to disassemble it. At the same time try not to touch what holds everything.
- If you are not sure of your abilities, wait for help!
- Try to continue to announce yourself: call, shout, knock on the pipes loudly.
- If still no one heard you, continue trying to clear the blockage.
- After release, examine yourself and provide self-help: stop the bleeding, fixate the broken limb.
Disability as a result of war: how to formalize it
Combat operations and rocket attacks can not only take the lives of the military, but also seriously injure them. Civilians can also become disabled as a result of Russian aggression.
In the case of disability due to injury, contusion, or mutilation, Ukrainians can receive the status of a person with a disability as a result of war. It is given to:
- military personnel of the Armed Forces of Ukraine (volunteer formations of territorial communities), the National Guard, security service, police and other law enforcement agencies and departments;
- employees of enterprises involved in the defense of the country;
- regular military volunteers as part of volunteer formations;
- irregular military volunteers in volunteer formations;
- volunteers who have received a disability in the areas of hostilities;
- people involved in confidential cooperation with Ukrainian intelligence in the occupied territories and combat zones
The disability group is determined by the Medical and Social Expert Commission (MSEC). It determines the cause and time of the disability, the percentage of disability, and whether there is a need for prosthetics. It also determines whether individual rehabilitation is required and whether there are medical indications for the right to receive special motor vehicles.
In order for a special commission (MSEC) to review the case of a military, it is necessary:
After inpatient treatment in a healthcare facility, take
- a certificate from the military medical commission;
- discharge epicrisis (a brief doctor’s report on the course of the disease);
- certificate of illness.
At the medical center of the military unit, take a referral to the commission (MSEC). The term of service must be indicated there. Important! If the military unit does not issue this document, you should write a report to the commander of the military unit with a request to issue it. Or contact the Territorial Center for Recruitment and Social Support.
At a district hospital or local military hospital, contact a specialized doctor (traumatologist, neurologist, etc.) with a request to convene a commission (MSEC).
Get a referral from the military unit.
After the commission (MSEC) reviews your case and determines your disability group, you should receive a certificate in three copies. This certificate is the basis for the one-time financial assistance and other social benefits.
To obtain an “Identity card of a person with a disability as a result of war” you need to
- with a certificate from the Commission (MSEC), contact the social protection authority at the place of registration;
- write an application.
For civilians who became disabled as a result of hostilities, the legislation is in the process of being regulated. Currently, the Ministry of Health states that people who have been disabled by explosives, ammunition and military weapons have the right to choose one of the causes of disability:
- “A person with a disability due to war” – this reason is determined on the basis of the conclusion of an interdepartmental commission working under the Ministry of Veterans
- “Injured as a result of explosive objects” – this reason is established by a special commission (MSEC) on the basis of an extract from the Unified Register of Pre-trial Investigations on the opening of criminal proceedings regarding the fact of such an injury.
To obtain the status of a person with a disability, a civilian needs to:
Take a referral from the medical advisory commission at the institution where the person is undergoing diagnosis, treatment or rehabilitation.
Apply to the medical and social expert commission (MSEC) at the address of the actual place of residence with the following documents:
- passport and its copy;
- medical record of an ambulatory patient;
- employment record book and a copy of it.
What does the status of “Persons with disabilities as a result of war” give?
Once a person has received the relevant status, he or she can use the benefits defined in Law No. 3551 “On the Status of War Veterans and Guarantees of Their Social Protection.” For example:
- the right to receive medicines for free;
- priority dental prosthetics;
- free annual sanatorium and resort treatment;
- discounts on housing and utility bills;
- free transportation by public transport;
- priority service in ambulatory healthcare facilities;
- the right to an annual medical examination;
- financial assistance – pension/monthly lifetime allowance/state social assistance.
The material was created together with the Human Rights Center for Military Personnel “Pryncyp”
How to fixate and refund property losses during wartime
According to KSE calculations, since the beginning of russia’s military aggression in Ukraine at least 129.9 thousand residential buildings, 2217 educational institutions, and 903 medical institutions have been damaged, destroyed or captured.
After Ukraine’s victory, russia will be obliged to pay reparations to restore damaged infrastructure, as well as lost and destroyed property. We offer you a number of recommendations on how to fixate losses and what to do to receive compensation.
1) Ensure the proof of your rights to lost or damaged property
Keep documents on property rights, a technical passport, as well as an extract from the State Register of Property Rights to Real Estate (you can do this from the register website, as well as from the Diya portal). If possible make copies and pictures of them and save them on your phone, or even better, upload them to cloud storage.
2) Fixate the fact of damage or destruction on the spot
In case of fire or emergency condition:
call the employees of the State Emergency Service to eliminate the consequences and draw up the appropriate act; don’t forget to get a copy of this act;
apply to the relevant district state administration with a statement about drawing up a report of housing inspection or – try to draw up a report of destruction yourself;
be sure to take photos and videos of the destruction;
involve neighbors and witnesses of the destruction (fire, shelling, etc.), record their written explanations;
if available, save articles, photos and videos from the media about these events.
if you are in the territory of active hostilities, or if the work of State Emergency Service in your area is complicated, you can independently compile a description of the damage, involving neighbors and witnesses, and record them with the help of photo and video recording.
3) Submit a crime report to law enforcement agencies.
Provide all collected evidence of destruction of property and be sure to obtain an extract from the Unified Register of Pretrial Investigations regarding this application.
4) Save the collected data
Upload a copy of all collected documents, testimonies, photos and video materials to the cloud storage to avoid their loss.
5) Report lost or damaged housing to the Government.
There are three ways:
Remotely through the “Diya” application.
In person at the Center for Provision of Administrative Services (CSC) regardless of your place of residence or stay
In person at a notary regardless of your place of residence or stay
How to do it?
In “Diya” it is the simplest.
In the application, select the menu “Services”, “damaged property” and “get started”.
If the data about your housing is in the electronic register, they will be loaded automatically, if not, manually enter the type, area and address of the housing.
Choose the condition of your property. For example, there is damage, but not critical, or the house is completely destroyed.
Indicate whether your property belongs to cultural heritage sites and how many people lived there.
Indicate the date and nature of the damage, and include photos and videos if you have them. Leave your contact details.
A similar application with all personal data must be submitted in person to the National Register of Citizens of Ukraine or to a notary. With yourself you must have documents proving your identity, rights to the destroyed real estate, and evidence of destruction or damage that you have collected.
How to record car damage
The blast wave caused by an enemy missile strike or shell fragments can damage not only the houses of Ukrainians. Often, cars parked near a home are in the damage zone.
Ukraine currently has no mechanism for compensation for damaged or destroyed cars. However, the government is already developing one.
In addition, Ukraine can calculate the damage caused to the state and citizens and appeal to the International Court of Justice for reparations, which may also include the amount of damage to private individuals. In particular, for motor vehicles. Therefore, the most important thing now is to properly record the damage caused.
We offer the following algorithm in case your vehicle was damaged or destroyed by Russian shelling:
Record the fact of damage.
- Take as many photos and videos of the scene and the car as possible. Preferably, with reference to the area and buildings. So that the photo clearly shows the environment.
- Find at least two witnesses who will confirm in writing the fact of damage. Get their contact information so that you can reach them if necessary.
- Check the news regarding the incident and take screenshots or copy links to media reports.
- Contact the police. It is important that the police draw up a report on the inspection of the scene and enter information about the criminal offense into the Unified Register of Pre-trial Investigations.
If it is not possible to contact the police in person, it is worth sending them (by valuable mail with a description of the attachment and a notification of receipt of mail) a statement with attached evidence of the incident and copies of the identification document and vehicle registration certificate.
Determine the amount of damage.
- Order an auto-expertise. The expert will make a conclusion about the amount of damage.
- Gather all possible receipts and checks, acts of work performed, and other documents regarding the costs the owner of the vehicle incurred due to damage
Contact your insurance company (if the car is insured).
- Call and inform them about the situation.
- Review the terms of your insurance contract.
- Clarify whether compensation is possible under your contract in this situation. Some contracts contain a clause on the possibility of partial compensation in case of damage as a result of hostilities. Sometimes insurance companies offer to conclude an additional contract to the existing one for such a case. The maximum compensation price may not exceed 300 thousand hryvnias.
- Send the insurance company all the data you have collected: photos and videos, police report.
Important: partial compensation from the insurance company is not valid in the occupied territories and in places where active hostilities are ongoing. However, even in this case, you should definitely document all the facts of damage for the future.
How to help the Ukrainian army if you are in the war zone?
The best help for a civilian in a combat zone is not to interfere with the military’s professional performance.
Another way to help effectively is to train and become part of the army or territorial defense forces.
If you do not plan to join The Armed Forces of Ukraine or territorial defense, consider supporting volunteer organizations that help the army.
How to become a blood donor
Ukraine has built a system of planned donations to ensure a steady supply of blood and its components. Such stability is especially important in times of war. So, if you want to become a donor, approach this matter systematically, not emotionally.
First, check if you meet the requirements for donation:
a healthy person aged 18 years or older and weighing 50 kg or more without temporary (e.g., recent illness, medication, tattoo or vaccination) or absolute (cardiovascular disease, diabetes, etc.) contraindications.
The full list of contraindications can be found here:
Procedure for medical examination of blood donors and blood components
If so, choose a blood center or a specific recipient and schedule your donation for a day and time that is convenient for you. You must have your identity documents with you:
- Ukrainian citizens – passport and identification code;
- foreigners – a permanent residence permit.
You can donate whole blood or its individual components: platelets or plasma. In any case, blood donation involves two stages: a medical examination and the donation itself.
Since blood composition is influenced by factors such as nutrition, sleep, and water balance, it is worth preparing for the donation.
What not to do:
don’t take any medications (consult your doctor for exceptions) 3 days before the donation;
do not eat blueberries 3 days before the donation;
don’t eat smoked, spicy, savoury and fried foods, beets, sunflower seeds, snacks, sugary store-bought drinks, sausages, ketchup, mayonnaise and other store-bought sauces and marinades, do not drink alcohol 2 days before the donation;
don’t eat nuts, dates, bananas, pickles, don’t treat or have your teeth professionally cleaned the day before the donation;
don’t smoke at least two hours before and after the donation;
don’t drink coffee 4-5 hours before the donation.
sleep 7-8 hours the night before the donation;
2-3 hours before the donation, have a breakfast, for example, porridge or pasta cooked in water, you can also add steamed fish and boiled meat of lean varieties (some blood centers insist on refusing meat and fish on the eve of the donation — you should clarify this point at the planning stage);
Just before the donation, drink water, sweet tea or dried fruit compote.
During the medical examination, you will be
- asked to fill out a donor questionnaire to check for any temporary or absolute contraindications, answer them frankly;
- examine the skin, visible mucous membranes, sclerae, accessible lymph nodes and abdominal organs;
- listen to the lungs, heart, measure blood pressure;
- determine the blood type and hemoglobin level, and may also check the level of ALT and bilirubin (indicators of liver function) and the presence of HIV/AIDS infection and Kell using the express method.
If everything is fine, you proceed to the final stage — blood sampling. It takes no more than 10 minutes and is absolutely safe. Only 2 items come into contact with the blood:
- a scarifier, which is a tool for piercing the finger;
- a hemacon needle, a special container that takes blood during the procedure.
They are disposable and sterile. By the way, the maximum capacity of hemacon is only 450 ml. An average adult male circulates about 5-6 liters of blood, and an average adult female circulates 4-5 liters.
After the procedure:
- rest for 15 minutes immediately after donating blood;
- In case you feel unwell, inform the staff;
- eat a light meal and drink sweet tea;
- don’t drive or ride a bicycle, scooter or motorcycle for 2 hours;
- don’t lift anything heavy with the hand from which the blood was taken for 2-3 hours;
- don’t drink alcoholic beverages for at least 8 hours;
- avoid intense physical activity for 12 hours after donation;
- eat frequently and regularly for two days after the procedure, limit the consumption of tea, coffee, dairy products, fiber foods, eggs and chocolate;
- add to your diet foods that are high in iron (meat, liver, fish, seafood, spinach, peas, broccoli, beans, etc.) and vitamin C (fresh greens and berries, citrus fruits, cabbage, tomatoes);
- drink plenty of liquid for two days.
If you plan to donate blood regularly, register for the reserve on the DonorUA platform or in the helsi.ua system. You no longer need to organize a donation on your own: just follow the notifications, and when the need for your blood arises, come to the already assigned center at the specified date and time.
Myths about blood donation or why being a “spontaneous” donor is not good
Massive waves of calls to donate blood for wounded soldiers or civilians are periodically raised on social media throughout Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Most often, this happens after media reports of massive rocket attacks or a difficult situation at the front.
One of the attributes of such a message is a comment like: “Spread this information, repost it, everyone should know about it!!!”. Such messages turn on the emotions of social media users and turn off their critical thinking. This creates panic and excessive excitement in regional blood centers, which leads to queues, overworked medical staff, and rejections of potential donors.
However, such reports often turn out to be fake. The blood donation system works better and more efficiently when donors come to blood centers on a regular basis, not just in the event of a major emergency or in response to individual media or social media reports. Because:
- Blood centers become overloaded
- People get a negative experience and never agree to become blood donors again
- “Spontaneous” donors often conceal risky behaviors (recent tattoos, unprotected sex, certain diseases, etc.). Although tests for key blood-borne infections are performed, there is a so-called “window” when the infection has entered your body and it is almost impossible to detect it in the laboratory.
In addition, all blood centers form a reserve for cases of massive blood demand. If this is not enough and something unpredictably large-scale has happened, it is worth checking whether there is a call for blood donation on the websites and pages of official sources: blood centers, the Ministry of Health, the Ukrainian Center for Transplant Coordination, DonorUA.
Signs that can be used to recognize fake calls for donation:
They contain emotional vocabulary and cause panic
Massively sent through social media
Official sources of information (the Ministry of Health, a specific hospital) don’t announce the need for blood
Important: The spread of fake messages about the need for donations doesn’t refute the need for donors in general, but only the rush demand at a particular moment. There is always a need for blood, especially in times of war. However, blood is a limited resource and can’t be stored for long. Donor blood should be collected on a regular basis in a normalized manner, then the initiative of citizens will have the maximum benefit.
*Based on a study by VoxCheck in cooperation with the USAID Health Care Reform Support Project.