While nothing will guarantee your safety against a terrorist attack, you can learn to be diligent about danger and also have a plan in mind in case of an emergency.
Is there a great chance for another terrorist attack on the United States? Currently, the United States is at a Code Yellow or “Elevated” risk of terror attacks. What this means is that, according to the Department of Homeland Security, “all Americans, including those traveling on the transportation systems, should continue to be vigilant, take notice of their surroundings, and report suspicious [sic] items or activities to local authorities immediately.”
What should I do in general if there is an emergency? First of all, listen to what people are telling you to do. You may hear an announcement on television or the radio with recommendations if you are not directly at the scene of the incident. Follow these recommendations. If you are at the scene, listen to the law enforcement officials, firefighters or other authorities because they have the expertise and equipment to help people to the best of their abilities. Plus, they probably have a better sense of the complete picture of what is happening. If at all possible, do what you can to get away from the danger.
Biological Threats. You’ll most likely hear about biological threats on the news or radio due to medical workers seeing a wave of uncommon symptoms among groups of people. If this is the case and someone in your family becomes ill or you suspect that you or a family member has been exposed, you should be suspicious and cautious. You need to seek medical attention without risking spreading the illness to other people.
Chemical Threats. If you think you see a suspicious substance or begin to have trouble breathing or have watery or itchy eyes you may have been exposed to a harmful chemical. Get away as soon as possible and immediately inform officials of the discovery. If you’re in a building, leave it immediately. The most important thing is to find clean air as quickly as you can.
Explosions and Fires. Find shelter or leave the building as quickly as possible – just remember to never use the elevators. If you become trapped in debris, limit your movement and try to alert rescue workers by tapping on a pipe or wall. Shouting can cause you to inhale debris, so try to avoid it as long as possible.
While the risk of a terrorist attack on the United States isn’t high, there are things you can do to protect and prepare yourself in case you do find yourself in an emergency situation.
Department of Homeland Security (www.dhs.gov)
Tips to Help You Protect Yourself from Terrorist Attacks and Their Aftermaths
- Create a plan and a back-up plan in case of an emergency so that your family members know where to go and how to find each other if they are forced to leave home or are unable to return home in the midst of an emergency.
- The Department of Homeland Security recommends that “Everybody should establish an emergency preparedness kit as well as a communications plan for themselves and their family, and stay informed about what to do during an emergency situation.”
- If you have children, add things to your emergency kit to help keep them occupied such as paper and crayons, board games and small toys.
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