Cheese and painkillers: What the Swiss expect you to pack for an emergency

Cheese and painkillers: What the Swiss expect you to pack for an emergency

Switzerland is a country that likes to be prepared, whether it be in politics, sport or an international incident. In the same spirit, the government has released a guide on what expats and locals in Switzerland should stock up on, in the event of a crisis.

Swiss people must prepare for crisis 

“We must be aware that the global economy is becoming increasingly interconnected,” the government said in its guide. The pamphlet acknowledges that “Switzerland has practically no natural resources,” which makes the country dependent on uninterrupted supplies of energy, food and other utilities from abroad.

In the case of an emergency, the government has produced a list for Swiss residents to stockpile; be it an invasion, global crisis, pandemic or food shortage. Called My Personal Emergency Kit, the pack is designed to supplement the huge stockpile the government already has of everything from coffee to nuclear fuel.

To make sure you are ready for a crisis, here is what is included on the list:

Water and UHT milk

The government suggests that each person prepare at least nine litres of drinking water, as it estimates each person will go through three litres of water a day for drinking and preparing meals. This does not include water used for bathing and personal hygiene.

To keep spirits up, the Swiss state suggests that coffee, cocoa and tea be prepared as well, alongside a healthy supply of condensed or UHT milk. The list also recommends bringing "supplementary drinks" alongside the water and milk, but did not specify what those drinks should be.

Chocolate and cheese

Don’t expect a banquet with friends and family, as the emergency list does not include any flamboyant foods. Instead, the government advises you to stockpile rice, pasta, ready meals and oil. 

However, despite the theoretical crisis, Switzerland also recommends you buy a good supply of chocolate and cheese, perhaps to remind you of where you are. Other foods include dried fruit and meat, canned items and one of the top Swiss inventions: muesli.

Toilet paper and soap

Along with food and drinks are supplies to help you should utilities be cut. Soap, toilet paper and a method of cooking food should be secured according to the government. A supply of personal medication and painkillers are also advised. 

Be prepared for a crisis in Switzerland

While a crisis may not be too close in Switzerland at the moment, in the words of Aesop: “It pays to be prepared.” For the full list, check out the official government website.

Jan de Boer


Jan de Boer

Jan studied in York and Sheffield in the UK, obtaining a master's in broadcast journalism and a bachelor's in history. He has worked as a radio DJ, TV presenter, and...

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