How to Survive an Air Raid? Free Survival Guide!

In the past, air raids turned vibrant communities into rubble; lives ended in a snap.

In this generation where kids enjoy their iPhones, Xbox, and design wear, war would certainly be a shift from such comfort, to a harder reality.

And in a war where air raids always win, much could be taken away.  Lets look at what you can do to mitigate the loss.  

Quick Navigation

  1. Deadliest Air Raids In History
     A. Pearl Harbor (1941)
     B. The Korean War (1950-1953)
     C. Bomb Raids In Japan
  2. What Happens In An Air Raid?
  3. Preparing For An Air Raid
     A. Identify Potential Shelter
     B. Build Your Own Shelter
     C. Pack First Aid Kit & Supplies

  4. During An Air Raid
     A. Do Not Just Stand There
    B. Take Cover
    C. Hiding From Attacking Aircraft
    D. Avoid Joining Large Groups
  5. After An Air Raid
    A. Be Alert For UXBs
    B. Watch For Falling Structures
6. Starting Again

Currently, the tension between North Korea and the United States are making other nations anxious. Since we cannot predict what will happen next, everyone must prepare. The next world war, if it happens, is expected to be quick, large scale, and deadly.

Although many of us won’t likely experience an aerial bombing in our lifetime, don’t use it as an excuse NOT to prepare. An air raid can bring the same hazard as a tsunami, a magnitude 8.0 earthquake, or a category 4 hurricane. When a deadly air raid happens, early preparation and a quick response will save you.

Deadliest Air Raids In History

To highlight the impact of an air raid on humanity, we listed down a few of the deadliest air raids in history.

Pearl Harbor (1941)

To annihilate the American naval units which may interfere in their Southeast Asian conquest, the Japanese launched surprising air strikes to the unsuspecting US navy. The attack sunk some US prime battleships, killed almost 2500 men, and left more than a thousand wounded.

The Korean War (1950-1953)

The Korean War introduced the world to powerful jet fighters such as Sabre and Mig 15. While Russian and North Korean jets fought off the enemy planes from the US and the UN, bombs were dropped in Pyongyang and other cities. The US dropped bombs (600,000 tons) which caused over 1,200,000 deaths.

The Atomic Bomb Raids In Japan

The US started bombing Japanese cities in 1944, but it was only in May 1945 when they decided to end the war with a revolutionary weapon – the atomic bomb. Originally, the plan was to target three key cities: Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and Kokura. The US scheduled it for August 1945 if the order would permit.

When August 6 of the same year arrived, Enola Gay, a B-29 bomber took off from a hidden base somewhere in the Pacific and headed towards the targeted cities. At exactly 8:15 AM, the crew dropped the first bomb “Little Boy” at Hiroshima. Due to the shock waves, the aircraft needed to flee immediately to avoid getting caught in the explosion. Finally, they dropped the second and the last bomb at the industrial city of Nagasaki. Konkura was spared due to heavy mushroom-shaped smokes that rose up in the air.

What Happens In An Air Raid?

Attackers do their best to stay incognito when conducting an air raid. Thus, a country relies greatly on its ability to detect upcoming threats. The first air raids in history took place in broad daylight but due to defending fighters and anti-aircraft artillery, bombers had no choice but to conduct their operations at night which increases their chances of staying undetected.

When attackers successfully infiltrated the perimeter, everything will happen quickly. Bombs will be dropped while the anti-aircraft defenses try to take down enemy planes. Military forces will start fortifying camps and important establishments such as hospitals to treat the injured. In just a snap, the ground suddenly becomes the most dangerous place for humanity.

Preparing For An Air Raid

A lot has changed throughout the years. Warplanes flew faster, ordinances reached farther, and attacks became deadlier. But even so, preparation methods and advice is still relevant and useful until today.

Identify Places To Be Used As Air Raid Shelter

sportsmans warehouse

The air attacks of WWI helped identify the most effective air raid shelter for the public. According to British reports, many people slept in their cellars or basements, while others took refuge in underground stations. Some of the most popular shelters of WWI that would be reused in WWII were the caves and tunnels in the chalk cliffs of Ramsgate and the Tilbury Arches viaduct in Stepney.

If the air raid suddenly took place while you’re far from home, quickly find a communal shelter; one example is the London Underground stations. While the government had fears about letting the public use the transportation channel, they gave in to the public’s demand. As a result, the Aldrich station was converted to a permanent shelter. Many underground tunnels built or converted during the two world wars can resist and protect many people from air raids.

Build Your Own Air Raid Shelter

People in countries susceptible to air attacks often prepared by building their own Bomb or Air Raid Shelter. These shelters can be built underground in your backyard or inside your house. As a matter of fact, sanctuaries that protect people from air raids existed since WWI.

Governments provide different forms of shelter for their people. However, expect that these places will become crowded, unhygienic, and uncomfortable. Food shortage and chaos is highly likely to happen. Also, enemies will target these spots to cause more damage. If you would like to stay safe with your family without going through the hardships that a public air raid shelter offers, try the following options.

Anderson Shelters

To protect people during the era of frequent air raids, the Anderson shelter was erected in 1939. The shelter was built with two huge corrugated sheets of steel bolted together, sunk three feet underground, and covered by 18 inches of earth’s soil. A correctly constructed Anderson shelter can protect you from hundred-pound bombs detonating from six feet away. Once built, owners should modify it to make the space comfortable and livable.

During WWII, an estimated 1.5 million Anderson shelters were distributed to civilian households worldwide. They were given for free to anyone who earned less than 250 pounds per year. However, most of these shelters are not leak-proof and sound-proof. Due to this, a survey conducted in 1940 revealed that only 27% used Anderson shelters. Nine percent slept in public shelters while four percent chose underground tunnels. A huge 60% of informants confessed that they’d rather die in the comfort of their own home.

Morrison Shelters

In January 1941, a more popular shelter was invented. The Morrison shelters consist of a rectangular steel and mesh cage which can accommodate two adults and two children. Although it seemed more convenient than Anderson shelters, the Morrison does not provide the same amount of safety due to the absence of lateral protection.

Underground Bunkers

Although it may cost you a fortune, underground bunkers serve a great purpose not only during air raids. It can keep you comfortably hidden and safe from nuclear attacks, earthquakes, hurricanes, and attackers. If you own a garden or lawn big enough for a reinforced industrial container, you can work with engineers or contact shelter builders to design your own underground bunkers.

Atlas Survival Shelters provide one of the most inexpensive but comfortable shelters today. For only US $36,000, you can get your own doomsday bunker built to withstand a variety of tragedies including air raids. Your family will just need to sleep through the air attacks and wait for everything to pass.

Pack First Aid Kit And Primary Necessities

Store emergency food, first aid kits, clothes, and other essential supplies in the bomb shelter. Keep a supply stock that will last for more than a month.

First Aid Kits

  • Bandages
  • Cleaning kit (alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, povidone-iodine, cotton balls, wire gauze)
  • Scissors
  • Thermometer
  • Blade
  • Suturing supplies
  • Medicines (Aspirins, antihistamine, antiseptic, antibiotics, anti-diarrhea capsules,  etc.)
  • Supplements (Vitamin C, Multivitamin capsules, food supplements, etc.)


  • Canned goods
  • Nuts
  • Rice
  • Instant noodles
  • Emergency food bucket
  • Seeds of vegetables and other edible crops that will grow in an indoor garden


During An Air Raid

Back in the day, defense ministries provided precaution cards to every home to educate families about air raids. Although many expect today’s air raids to be deadlier, the responses you need to take are similar to what has been done in the past.

Make your move to avoid becoming the first blood. The instant the enemy planes fly over from where you stand, enter survivalist mode and do the following steps to increase your chances of survival.

Do Not Just Stand There And Watch

History proved that air raids are obviously hundreds of times deadlier than accidents, mass shootings, and hurricanes. When you see planes overhead, the only thing you need to do is to look for a sturdy hiding place. Do not spectate any further, every split of a second counts.

Even if the bombs fell from far away, fragments may scatter from miles away and it can cause serious injury or even death. The enemies may also target civilians in their line of sight. Do not attempt to take pictures or footage of the bombings – it will only slow you down.

Take Cover

Staying inside your home may not give enough security unless you take cover under the sturdiest structure available. Hide underneath the table, stairs, or stay in the basement. Families should invest in fortifying their basements and turn it into resistant bomb shelters. Avoid windows and frail walls that may break, scatter, and cause damage during explosions.

If you’re unlucky to be outside during the air raid, look for the nearest possible shelter. You may head to a tube or underground train station as they work great in sheltering people according to history. Compared to your home, the sturdy foundation and distance of the underground station from the surface will keep you safe from flying glass, explosion, collapsing structures, and radiation.

But if you get stuck in an open area without any establishments to run into, lie flat on the ground while protecting your head with your bag or arms. A person standing in the open may appear as a threat or target to flying air crafts. As much as possible, avoid detection by enemy planes or any flying object.

Hiding From Attacking Air Crafts

Apart from bombs, many warplanes fly around with machine guns to annihilate smaller targets. Although they stay more than 50 feet above the ground, their attacks are quite precise and accurate.

Use tall grasses, trees, rocks and other things you can find outside to conceal yourself. Change clothes quickly if you’re wearing bright-colored garments to avoid getting attention.

Avoid Joining Large Groups Of People

Stay away from densely populated areas; these are usual targets of bombing attacks. When an air raid happens and you happened to be outdoors, you could meet a lot of people along the way who are also seeking a safe place. Unlike other SHTF scenarios, joining a large group of people would put you in danger instead of offering security.

Large groups of survivors can easily attract hovering drones and air crafts. Pilots of these air crafts aim to kill or cause as much damage as they could in a single blow. These make a bunch of people a better target than a lone wolf.

After An Air Raid

The dangers of an air raid do not end after the fighter jets have left or were taken down. In the past, authorities reminded the citizens to be careful while moving around after an attack. This is to prevent injuries in the aftermath of an air raid.

Be Alert For UXBs

In recorded history, un exploded bombs or UXBs killed a number of people who unknowingly stepped on them. These UXBs were actually bombs dropped or thrown during air raids but suffered from mechani-al failure. They may explode anytime so watch out for them.

Some UXBs contain time-delay fuses intended to kill people after the main event. If you happen to find one of these, quickly stay away and alert the authorities. An army bomb disposal squad will be sent immediately to diffuse it.

Watch Out For Falling Structures

Heavily damaged buildings and lamp posts may likely collapse a few moments after the air raid has ended. Stay in the shelter for some time until the local government confirms that it is safe to go back to your house. Warnings or barricades will be placed around infrastructures that are likely to cause accidents to people.

Starting Again

Air raids can be seriously devastating to any country. Apart from deaths and damage to properties, the economy will experience an all-time low. It may seem difficult, but recovering from this tragedy is possible.

Aid from allied countries may arrive a few days or weeks after the air raid. If the war gets unexpectedly extended, survivors of the raid may need to evacuate to a refugee place. Food, water, medicine, clothes, and other basic necessities will be provided in refugee centers. Psychological briefing and classes are also provided to victims of war to help them recover from the shock.


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