Do We Need Air Raid Wardens in 2023?

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Wisconsin – As a child, I lived in the small village of Innellan, situated on the banks of the river Clyde, about 20 miles downstream from Glasgow.

In its day, Glasgow was world famous for its shipbuilding. During WWII, the ship-building and combat-damaged ship repair process went on around the clock during the entire war. Of course, the Germans saw Glasgow as a major threat and bombed it unmercifully.

A giant net made out of steel cable was stretched across the Clyde, closer to Glasgow, to provide some safety for Allied ships from attack by German U-Boats. Unfortunately, ships penned up behind a steel net could be a target of opportunity for the German Luftwaffe.

Radio was the only form of rapid mass communication in Scotland in 1939. Most homes did not have telephones. There had to be a way to organize and make prompt alarmed notification to the sleeping Glaswegian public that the Nazis were coming to try and kill them — again.

The British Air Raid Warden program was formed in the mid-1930s with an eye on the idea another war in Europe was coming, and it was going to spill over to England.

With the massive technological advancements in aviation since 1918 and the end of WWI, the ability to bomb the British in a future war had gone up exponentially. By the time Germany invaded Poland in September 1939, the British Air Raid Warden program was in place and ready to assist the soon-to-be terrified public.

Volunteer Air Raid Wardens who had jobs to go to in the daytime spent the evenings monitoring their neighborhoods to make sure the citizens were safe and following the “black-out” rules. They wore the now iconic WWI-style British military helmet with a large “W” painted on the front.

When the German bombers and later the V1 and V2 “buzz-bomb” rockets were detected approaching the British coast, an alarm went out. The Air Raid Wardens went to work guiding their assigned neighborhood to the safety of air-raid bomb shelters and also into the subway tunnels of London.

After the Luftwaffe bombing mission was over, the Air Raid Wardens were the first on the scene to render medical aid, dig out the survivors and comfort those who lost loved ones. They did the same thing all over again the next night until the war was over.

As a child, I found a WWII gas mask in a neighbor’s dustbin. (get yours now)

I took it home, cleaned it up, and as an attention-seeking ten-year-old, I proceeded to wear it around my village. The adults who survived the German air raids did not think my mask was funny. They had been forced to carry a gas mask everywhere they went from 1939 to the end of the war in 1945.

Could you envision Americans having to leave their I-Pad Tablet at home, so they had room to carry their gas mask, just in case?

The US government developed an Air Raid Warden program based on the British model. After WWII, the US Air Raid Warden program morphed into the Civil Defense program that tried to meet the potential needs of Americans in the 1950s to the 1980s in the event of a nuclear attack.

Now we in the US have, at the Federal level, FEMA. A nationwide response program that we hope will swoop into our neighborhood and save everyone, fix or repair everything and meet our every need in times of crisis. Do you really believe that FEMA can fix everything if the Chinese or the Russians or both at the same time attack us? They couldn’t even be bothered to help East Palestine, OH, with a toxic train wreck until President Trump shamed them into showing up.

Also please keep in mind “All emergencies are local.” There are no national or state-wide fire departments.

At the state, county, and local municipality levels, there are plans that address how “government” will respond to the disaster needs of their constituents. Most of these programs and plans are about how to respond and fix what is broken after the disaster has happened.

The Air Raid Warden program of old was designed to get the neighborhoods prepared and trained to proactively respond in an organized way during a crisis and not just react as if you never saw trouble coming.

We live in what I call a “911 society”, where we genuinely expect to be able to pick up our cell phone for instant help. Wherever we are and however dangerous the crisis is that we are experiencing, we believe all our fire, police, and emergency medical problems will be responded to in a matter of minutes.

Please read the signs of international danger that appear on TV news channels every day. Go back and look at some of the early videos coming out of Ukraine. Observe how many of the refugees are walking in file with hundreds of their fellow Ukrainians who have nothing but shirt on their backs as they wander in hopes of safety. This crisis had been coming for years, and there was no excuse for every one of those dazed and confused Ukrainians not to have a “bug-out” backpack full of emergency supplies.

Now just like the illegal aliens crossing our US border, the Ukrainians had nothing on them, but by GOD, they all seemed to have their cell phones.

Extremely hard times are coming, and I believe it is time to dust off the old 1941 Air Raid Wardens handbook. American communities have become rapidly proactive about standing up a new modern 2023 Air Raid Warden program (
“Evil hates organization,” an old Infantry veteran has said many times. It is time for our local communities to get organized. They must become prepared to proactively respond to and not “just” react to evil. Evil will come, and it will come soon.

Major Van Harl USASF Ret.
[email protected]

Special Duty Manual for Air-raid Wardens

About Major Van Harl USAF Ret.:

Major Van E. Harl, USAF Ret., a career Police Officer in the U.S. Air Force, was born in Burlington, Iowa, USA, in 1955. He was the Deputy Chief of police at two Air Force Bases and the Commander of Law Enforcement Operations at another. He is a graduate of the U.S. Army Infantry School. A retired Colorado Ranger and currently is an Auxiliary Police Officer with the Cudahy PD in Milwaukee County, WI. His efforts now are directed at church campus safety and security training. He believes “evil hates organization.” [email protected]

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Matt in Oklahoma

They want you dead. Is that hard to understand?


you are your own first responder and defender of yourself and your family, no one else will care as much, do as good of a job as you or be there when tshtf, whatever that may be. growing up on the farm, being in boy scouts, hunting and trapping, joining the military and practicing basic survival skills (prepping if you will) along with passing them on to my children and grandchildren is how i am coping with the breakdown of society when something does happen. and i like doing those things also, so it doesn’t feel like i’m doing something… Read more »


“You are your first responder…”. Absolutely, I say it too. I also add for effect, “when seconds count…help is 77 minutes away”

Besides all of the things that tought you and me how to be prepared, you left one off of your list, “Mormon’s Closet.” I’m not a Mormon, but you should see mine!

The Crimson Pirate

In the outdoor sports we say “You are your own first, best source of rescue.”. One should always be prepared. Costco frequently has a 4 or 5 pack of lifestraws for ~$50 to handle your water needs. Gun and ammo prices are back to and below 2019 levels. Canned food and freeze dried military or hiking foods are available and not too expensive. Lifeboat matches. We should all have a powerbank for our cell phones and a HALO or similar device to jump start a car. And that brings me to my next point. Don’t just have a bug out… Read more »


Liberals are really missing out by diminishing the 2A. Via the 2A, they could finally settle accounts with all the “Trump supporters”.


You mean you want to continue attacking people who want to be left alone? Keep pushing that violent accelerationist ideology, but for your sake, you would be safer to not try it.