Most major disasters and emergencies, with which we have dealt in the past, such as blizzards, hurricanes and floods give us some warning. Unfortunately Terrorism does not afford us such a luxury. Regardless of the type of Terrorist Attack, which could take place, there are some steps you and your family can take to alleviate the fear of the unknown.
Develop/Review a Family Communication Plan
This will give assurances that all are safe and enable you to make plans to get back together. Ask an out-of-state friend or relative to serve as the family contact. After a disaster, it is often easier to call long distance, outside of the disaster area. Make sure all family members know the name, address and telephone number of the contact person.
Develop/Review a Family Disaster Kit
A Disaster Kit should consist of the materials your family would need to survive for 3 to 7 days without power. (See Disaster Supply Kit) This is the same type of kit, which should be in place to survive the aftermath of a hurricane or blizzard. The Kit should include non-perishable food, water (at least one gallon per person, per day), a First Aid Kit with prescription medicines, a battery powered radio and NOAA weather radio, flashlights with extra batteries, special items necessary for babies or elderly, pet care items, blankets & pillows, toiletries, vehicles with full fuel tanks and an amount of cash, in case banks or ATMs are not available.
Develop/Review a Family Evacuation Plan
Contact you local Emergency Management Director (Every city and town in the Commonwealth has one.) to learn of your community’s emergency plan, location of shelters and hospitals, evacuation routes and emergency warning system. If an incident occurs, listen to local radio or television and follow the instructions of emergency officials. Evacuate immediately, if told to do so. Lock your homes when you leave. Travel routes specified by local officials, taking Family Disaster Kit basics with you. You may be asked to ‘Shelter-in-Place’. This means to go indoors, closing all doors & windows. Turn off all window fans, dryers kitchen and bath exhaust fans, air conditioners and other sources of outside air. If you are traveling in an automobile, close windows and air vents. Continue to monitor the Media for further instructions.
Preparing for Terrorism
- Wherever you are, be aware of your surroundings. The nature of terrorism suggests there may be little or no warning.
- Notice emergency exits as you enter buildings. Plan how to get out of a building, subway or congested public area, noting the location of stairways and exit doors.
- Take precautions when traveling. Be aware of conspicuous or unusual behavior. Do not accept packages from strangers. Do not leave luggage unattended.
- Unusual behavior, suspicious packages and strange devices should be promptly reported to Public Safety officials.
- Do not be afraid to move or leave if you feel uncomfortable.
- If you receive a bomb threat, get as much information as possible from the caller, recording everything that is said. Notify the Police.
- If notified of a bomb threat, do not touch any suspicious packages. Clear the area and notify Police.
- Be wary of suspicious packages and letters. Most places of employment have procedures in place to screen mail, identifying suspicious mail before it is circulated throughout the building.
- Prepare to deal with a terrorist incident by adapting many of the same techniques used to prepare for other emergencies or crises.
Where to find more information
American Red Cross – www.redcross.org
Center for Disease Control & Prevention – www.cdc.gov
Citizen Corps – www.citizencorps.gov
Federal Bureau of Investigation – www.fbi.gov
Federal Emergency Management Agency Website – www.fema.gov.
Federal Government – www.firstgov.gov
Massachusetts Department of Public Health – www.state.ma.us/dph
Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency – www.state.ma.us/mema
Massachusetts Executive Office of Public Safety – www.mass.gov/eops
Massachusetts State Government – www.state.ma.us
Nuclear Regulatory Commission – www.nrc.gov
The President – www.whitehouse.gov
U.S. Department of Homeland Security – www.dhs.gov
U.S. Postal Service – www.usps.gov