Compiled by Dick Oakes
A terrorist attack can take several forms, depending on the technological means available to the terrorist, the nature of the political issue motivating the attack, and the points of weakness of the terrorists' target. Bombings are the most frequently used terrorist method in the United States.
In all cases, remain calm and report any suspicious persons, packages, or equipment to local authorities. Take notes on suspicious activities, or individuals, and report them to the local authorities.
- Assist others who may need special care.
- Be aware of conspicuous or unusual behavior.
- Do not use elevators during an explosion or fire.
- Don't accept packages from strangers.
- Don't leave luggage unattended.
- Know where staircases are.
- Know where the nearest exits are.
- Take precautions when traveling.
- Think ahead about how to evacuate a building, subway, or congested public area in a hurry.
It is very important to be part of the solution rather than part of the problem. Be responsible when reporting acts of terrorism. It is better to be safe than sorry.
Also, it is important to remember that there are significant differences among potential terrorist threats that will influence the decisions you make and the actions you take. By beginning a process of learning about these specific threats, you are preparing yourself to react.
Unlike an explosion, a biological attack may or may not be immediately obvious. Biological agents are infectuous microbes or toxins used to produce illness or death in people, animals, or plants. Biological agents can be dispersed as aerosols or airborn particles. Terrorists may use biological agents to contaminate food or water because they are extemely difficult to detect.
Chemical agents kill or incapacitate people, destroy livestock, or ravage crops. Some chemical agents are odorless and tasteless, making it difficult to detect. They can have an immediate effect (a few seconds to a few minutes) or a delayed effect (several hours to several days).
- Be sure to include in your kit heavyweight garbage bags, plastic sheeting, and duct tape. You can use these items to seal off a room from outside contamination. Consider precutting and labeling these materials.
- Develop a family communications plan. Decide who you should contact to make sure everyone is safe. Consider an out-of-state contact because it will be easier to contact out-of-town than across town.
- Have warm clothing, good shoes, and a sleeping bag and blanket for each family member.
- Keep a 72-Hour Kit on hand and ready to use.
- Make sure you are prepared with a dense-weave cotton material or something to cover your mouth and nose in the event of a chemical terrorist attack. Anything that fits snugly over your nose and mouth. It is very important that most of the air you breathe comes through the mask or cloth, not around it. Do whatever you can to make the best fit possible for children.
- Store a flashlight, battery-powered radio, extra batteries, a first aid kit, utility knife, local map, toilet paper, feminine hygiene products, soap, garbage bags, other sanitations supplies, plastic sheeting, duct tape, extra cash, and identification.
- Think about your family's unique needs, including diapers, formula, bottles, prescription medications, pet food, comfort items, books, paper, pencils or pens, and a deck of cards or other forms of entertainment.
- Cover your nose and mouth with a cloth.
- Take frequent shallow breaths.
- Stay calm, do not panic.
- DON'T T-E-S-T: Taste, Eat, Smell, Touch.
- Get away from the scene immediately to safety and wait for emergency responders to arrive.
- Follow the self-decontamination rule: Remove any outer clothing and wash off the contamination with plenty of cold water. Use soap, if available.
Notify Proper Authorities
- Time of the incident.
- Weather conditions.
- Location of the incident.
- Number of victims.
- Symptoms of victims.
- Type of incident, for example, fire or explosion.
- Type of vehicle or container involved.
- Where to meet emergency responders.
If Trapped in Debris
- Use a flashlight.
- Don't kick up dust.
- Cover your mouth with a handkerchief or clothing.
- Tap on a pipe or wall so rescuers can hear where you are.
- Use a whistle, if one is available.
- Shout only as a last resort -- shouting can cause a person to inhale dangerous amounts of dust.