With the UK’s departure from the European Union looming imminently on the horizon, it’s looking increasingly unlikely that an orderly withdrawal and civilised split is likely to be the outcome.
This is a big problem for the government, the businesses affected, and of most of all, for the average citizen who will likely be hit the hardest.
In a nutshell, a no-deal Brexit has the very real potential to become a very serious issue for the country.
As the British writer here at Survivalist Prep, I feel that I’m well placed to speak to this highly likely outcome having personally prepared extensively for such an event for over two years now.
Whether you personally identify as a Leaver or Remainer, whichever side of the Brexit debate you sit on, one thing unites everyone involved – we all need to start preparing for the worst-case potential outcomes of a hard Brexit today regardless of what we think the outcome will be when the day finally comes.
Such concerns and subsequent preparations are sometimes labeled as what’s become known in some circles as ‘project fear’ and if you fall into this category, that’s OK, preparing for no-deal isn’t about tribalism or side-taking, it’s about being fully prepared for the worst-case scenarios that may be just around the corner and taking common sense steps to ensure that we’re all disrupted to the minimal possible extent, come what may.
In the planning and preparedness mindset, the idea of a concept such as ‘project fear’ simple isn’t a useful contribution to any measured contingency planning strategy, and quite frankly, if we all adopted this outlook on issues such as fire safety (for example), we certainly wouldn’t listen to the advice of fire safety professionals telling us how to minimise fire risks in the home, and we probably wouldn’t even invest in smoke detectors!
It’s now time for prepare a ‘fire safety plan’ for a potential hard Brexit.
With this in mind, this guide has been prepared for everyone that’s likely to be affected should crisis strike following a no-deal Brexit scenario and regardless of ideologies, opinions, or beliefs, the time has now come for us to hope for the best, but thoroughly prepare for the worst.
If you want to know how to prepare for a no-deal Brexit – start here.
This guide will help you prepare for a no-deal Brexit today to help you shield yourself against the potential negative outcomes tomorrow.
How to Prepare for a No-Deal Brexit – The Essentials
Before we get started with the guide itself, it helps to know some basics about the likely outcome of a no-deal Brexit scenario.
In a recent leak of official documents produced by the UK government, an assessment of a hard Brexit outlined the major effects and consequences that may be felt in a worst-case situation following no-deal.
In the plan code-named ‘Operation Yellowhammer‘, the British government sets out an analysis of the main areas of concern and the likely ramifications of such an eventuality including:
- Threats to the continued supply of fresh food
- Threats to the provision of medicines
- Possible supply chain issues for chemicals used in supplying drinking water
- Increased risk of civil disobedience, social unrest, protests, and riots
- Major impacts on the British economy including possible job losses
- Wider impacts on the global economy including the potential for a major recession
An outline of the leaked document can be found here if you want to read on for further information (highly recommended).
What these outcomes would all mean for the average individual of course, are serious and possibly even life-threatening disruptions to everyday life.
Information is always the critical factor when it comes to planning any preparedness strategy and with most emergency situations or incoming disasters, this is often sketchy at best, and usually completely absent entirely until it’s too late to react.
This information inefficiency is always the trade-off when it comes to emergency preparedness and is the main reason why most people will either prepare for a wide ranging set of eventualities, or will focus on specific risks that they feel are a greater likely threat.
The situation with a no-deal Brexit cascade provides an uncommon opportunity to know the worst that could happen, ahead of time and means we can plan accordingly within a relatively specific set of constraints.
With this in mind, the leaks around Project Yellowhammer provide us with a rare but highly-useful starting point in figuring out exactly what the highest levels of government (those actually on the ground with Brexit planning) are identifying as the major risks and potential consequences of a hard Brexit departure and building a preparedness plan around this.
This means we can subsequently plan for the most likely outcomes of a worse-case no deal scenario to minimise the risks against us on the ground if a post hard Brexit situation begins to rapidly deteriorate.
The most important thing to remember here, is that the worst effects of this situation can be significantly reduced, mitigated, and perhaps even removed entirely by taking effective preparedness steps ahead of time to protect against such shocks.
It’s important to also consider the possibilities that haven’t been mentioned in this document also, and in this instance we’ll be looking to plan against wildcard events like power cuts or natural weather events that could strike suddenly and exacerbate an already difficult situation.
After all, it never rains but it pours.
Preparing for the Storm
In many ways, preparing for a no-deal Brexit situation (or any similar socio-political disruption for that matter) is very much like preparing for a natural weather emergency or disaster that you know may strike with potentially devastating effects.
The kinds of things that you should be looking to expect, prevent, and ultimately, prepare for don’t change a great deal whether we’re talking about a catastrophic storm or a potential social or political breakdown.
In both instances, we need to think about the kinds of ‘everyday services’ that could be disrupted and the effect this would have on our lives, comfort and safety if we didn’t have an adequate plan in place to mitigate them.
A serious natural disaster or weather event would likely disrupt major logistics chains causing knock-on effects for food and water supply, fuel and utilities, and provision of medicines. We might not be able to leave the our homes either due to a direct threat to physical safety (man made or natural) or due to a breakdown of transport infrastructure.
All of the above are also the kinds of thing we might expect to see in the event of a disorderly no-deal Brexit aftermath meaning we should look to plan a preparedness strategy in much the same way.
The ultimate goal of this guide is to help you prepare an effective strategy and plan for a no-deal Brexit situation so that when all around you are losing their heads, the disruption to you and yours will be minimal.
In this guide, we’re going to be looking specifically at how to prepare for a no-deal Brexit in terms of the effects it will have at home. This means we’ll very much be covering the planning steps from a home preparedness position and won’t be covering things like immigration, passports and travel. There’s a ton of information out there on these matters if you’re concerned about them specifically and if you want to get started, I’d recommend the following resources to help you out:
So without further delay, let’s get into the essentials to plan for a no deal Brexit outcome.
Regardless of the information that makes it out to the public from government, we can never truly know just how bad a no-deal Brexit will look for those on the ground until it actually happens.
There are however some disruptions that can be predicted with a high degree of certainty and at the top of the list here is the continued reliable operation of the food logistics chain in the immediate aftermath of a hard Brexit.
In the leaked Operation Yellowhammer document, the following statement by government analysts gives a good idea what can be expected if a deal is not reached before the deadline for leaving the EU:
Certain types of fresh food supply will decrease. Critical elements of the food supply chain (such as ingredients, chemicals and packaging) may be in short supply. In combination, these two factors will not cause an overall shortage of food in the UK but will reduce availability and choice and increase the price, which will affect vulnerable groups.
We all know what this looks like in practice, a high probability of reduced food on the shelves, increased prices due to seriously reduced supply, and an overall potentially major reduction in the ability to conduct ‘business as usual’ when it comes to ensuring regular routines around food.
This of course will also likely be exacerbated by mass panic buying ahead of time (probably in the last days as it becomes clear to many that a deal won’t be reached) and will probably see most supermarkets out of certain food and supplies before the event even happens.
Unfortunately, these two outcomes could well be the best-case scenario in the case of a no-deal Brexit.
With so much of the food supply and logistics chain tied up with mainland Europe and Ireland, there is a very real possibility that the situation regarding food security may actually be much worse when the time comes.
It’s therefore critical that in order to minimise the shocks that are likely to ripple through the food supply chain, you begin preparing a food storage strategy as soon as possible and not at the last possible moment when everybody else has the same idea.
Emergency Food Preparedness Options
If you’re looking to hedge against the worst risks of a no-deal Brexit, one of the best things you can do immediately is to prepare an emergency food strategy to buffer you from the immediate effects of logistics breaking down in the food supply industry.
There are two approaches that can be taken here – building your own supply of food ahead of time, or investing in a pre-prepared food supply.
Both options have their advantages and in an ideal situation, you should look to incorporate elements of both to provide the widest coverage against the unknown.
Each of these strategies are a hedge against food shortages and price spikes at the checkout and ultimately, they’re your insurance policy against any possible major food security issues in the wake of a no-deal Brexit.
Emergency Food Kits and Ingredients
Investing in a dedicated emergency food supply kit of survival food will provide the maximum level of resilience to almost any shock that would otherwise severely disrupt your access to adequate nutrition.
These kits are undoubtedly the very best way of maximising your options across a whole range of eventualities from power outages (these kits don’t require refrigeration) to prolonged food shortages in the stores.
Often packed in ‘cook-in-pouch’ style packaging or bags, these emergency food supply options also tend to have an incredible shelf life of anywhere up to 30 years, making them a solid addition to an emergency food pantry if the supermarket shelves are suddenly empty.
Many of the best producers in this field also provide what are called ’emergency food ingredients’ – basically the constituent food components that the kits contain but with the added flexibility of combining them into your own meals as and when you see fit.
Again, these emergency ingredient kits often have incredibly long use-by dates making them an excellent choice for a wider emergency food storage strategy.
These kits are often provided for a set number of days/weeks/months worth of food so again, based upon the requirements of you and your household, go for the size of kit that meets your specific requirements.
This emergency meal kit contains a total of 15 food pouches which provide a stated 106 total servings.
In terms of nutritional value and range, this looks like a total of 19,470 calories spread across 13 different food varieties from soups and entrées to deserts and milk covering you for meals throughout the day.
As with other emergency food kits in this bracket, the Augason Farms Variety Breakfast & Dinner Emergency Food Supply has a long shelf life with the contained food offering expiry dates from 10 up to 25 years in the right conditions.
The emergency meals in this kit are stored in a 4 gallon (15+ litre) watertight bucket which is well suited for both long-term storage and quick transport if needed.
All in all, this is one of the best choices for an emergency meal kit if you’re looking for an option that’s pretty much ready to go the moment it’s needed and which will store for a longer period of time if required.
This brand is one of the best in the business when it comes to emergency food kits and ready-to-eat meal pouches for camping and outdoor use as well as survival situations.
As a go-to option for a backup food supply, the Just in Case Classic Assortment is a solid choice when it comes to providing an excellent variety of almost ready to eat food with a long shelf life.
This kit includes 12 pouches of breakfast and other meals which are packaged up in an easy to store (and carry) container.
The Just in Case Classic Assortment also has what Mountain House calls a “taste test guarantee” – basically an expiry date – of 30 years making it a natural choice for long-life storage in the event of a no-deal Brexit or any subsequent unexpected emergencies.
Preparation is simple – you just add water to the pouches and heat up with meals in the kit ranging from Chicken Teriyaki to Beef Stroganoff.
Self-Prepared Emergency Home Food Supply
Alternatively, preparing your own emergency food supply may prove the better option for you depending on your individual circumstances.
The major disadvantage of this strategy over a ‘ready to go’ solution is that they often take time to build up to a suitable level of resilience (how many days/weeks of food you actually want to store) and the storage shelf life is often considerably shorter (measured in months) than a dedicated emergency meal kit solution.
On the other hand, the advantage of this strategy is that it allows for considerably more ‘tailoring’ to ensure you build a supply of food that you actually enjoy, rather than what’s provided in a pre-prepared meal kit.
With this in mind, canned and dry foods (think pasta, rice, cereals etc) tend to be the preferred choice when stocking a home emergency pantry and it’s therefore important not to fall into the trap of stocking up on tins of food that you don’t actually like!
Work out what your individual nutrition requirements are as well as those for each member of your household and use this to baseline the requirements for the food you stock up on.
Look to buy the food options that you actually eat and enjoy eating as well as choosing food with the longest possible expiry dates – a can storage solution is an excellent way to rotate your canned food supply.
Set aside a dedicated area for storing your emergency food supply and make sure it’s elevated from the ground, is out of sunlight and is not in a warm area of your house – i.e. store in a cool, dry place.
Most importantly of all, when it comes to preparing your own food supply ahead of time, act early.
If you choose to go down this route, you have to start right now with your food stockpiling efforts. Waiting until the 11th hour could quite literally spell disaster when you reach the supermarket and everyone else has had the same idea.
If money is tight, start slowly (but regularly) and add 2-3 cans of food or dry goods to your regular food shop, storing it away when you get home.
Like with financial savings, think of this as your rainy-day food supply – if you don’t actually need it when the time comes, you have an at-hand stock of your regular food which will reduce your food shopping bill further down the line.
If however you do find yourself needing it, this will likely be one of the best investments you ever make.
Health, Hygiene and First Aid
One of the key areas that may be threatened in the event of a no-deal Brexit is the continued supply of certain medicines, roughly 75% of which are currently brought in to the UK from the EU.
With this in mind, it almost goes without saying that making adequate preparations for this possible outcome should be at the top of your list if you or a family member are dependent on any pharmaceuticals or prescription medicines and aren’t sure whether this will affect you.
If you’re unsure where you stand on this front, check in with your GP as well as multiple local pharmacies as soon as possible to find out the situation. If an undisrupted supply of your medicines seems uncertain or under threat from a no-deal Brexit, ask your health professional for advice and if possible, request a larger prescription to see you through any periods of supply uncertainty while current logistics chains are and supply arrangements are still intact.
As with food supplies, the reliable and continued availability of certain off-the-shelf medical and hygiene products is also likely to be disrupted if a serious no-deal Brexit situation begins to unfold.
Due to this, it’s a good idea to stock-up now with the essential elements for both hygiene and sanitary products as well as everyday medicines and multi-vitamins.
Again, store all of this away in an area of your home that’s cool, dry and out of direct sunlight.
Look to pick up the following health, medicine and self-treatment items in your stockpile as soon as possible*
- Painkillers (such as Paracetamol)
- NSAID Painkillers (such as Ibuprofens)
- Antihistamines and Allergy Relief Medicines (such as Cetirizine or Loratadine)
- Rehydration Sachets
- Decongestant and Cold/Flu Relief Medicine
- Imodium or similar Diarrhoea Relief Medicine
- Gaviscon or similar Antacid Medicine
- Topical Antiseptic Cream
*This is an example advisory list and should not be taken as professional advice. Seek professional medical advice from your doctor, GP, pharmacist or medical specialist before proceeding
Look to stock up on the following hygiene and sanitary supplies as soon as possible and look to buy in bulk if you’re able
- Toilet Paper
- Tampons and equivalent Female Sanitary Products
- Anti-Bacterial Hand Gel
- Non-Pharmaceutical Contraceptives
- All Sanitary Supplies for Babies and Children