Protection of lives and property of citizens, as well as the national property was supposed to be based on properly trained civilians connected with one another by the place of residence or workplace. In residential buildings and workplaces, for every 500-1,000 people there was one self-defence group whose basic duties included:
- training with respect to self-defence and reaction during assault;
- adjusting the building and its surrounding for the purposes of air defence, in particular for fire protection;
- supervising and taking care of shelters, and in the event of a lack thereof – participation in preparing protected spaces or air-raid trenches;
- announcing alarms within the premises of the building;
- preventing and fighting panic and acts of sabotage;
- providing first aid, conducting rescue operation, and localising and distinguishing fire.
A basic self-defence group was composed of teams for:
- order and safety – provided contact, forwarded and announced alarm signals, secured social and private property, controlled the execution and observance of rules and guidelines, responsible for keeping order;
- fire protection – responsible for proper preparation of fire protection of a building and its surrounding, as well as for localising and distinguishing fire, both during peace time and war operations;
- chemical protection – recognised contaminations, as well as decontaminated and deactivated the area, equipment, devices and clothes, responsible for providing help with securing food, fodder and drinking water against contamination;
- technical rescue – to conduct works connected with rescuing people buried in rubble, removing rubble from protective rooms, conducting temporary repairs of water supply, electricity and gas networks, as well as coordinating works connected with preparing protected spaces and air raid trenches;
- sanitary unit – provided first aid to wounded, burned, poisoned or contaminated people, conducted sanitary procedures and managed evacuation of the injured to health centres.
On the area of large workplaces, self-defence groups were usually much more developed, additional sections were created such as: veterinary, plant protection, social care or propaganda and information services.