by Rob Smith
13, 2003 -- On Tuesday, FBI director Robert Mueller testified before
Congress that colleges and universities may be particularly vulnerable
to a terrorist attack. The current U.S. terrorism status is "code
orange," the second-highest stage of alert, and government
officials have said there is clear and specific evidence that a
terrorist attack may occur in the near future.
does that mean? Officials urge people to go about their normal business,
but also be prepared to react quickly.
donts and resources in an emergency
the event of a local terrorist incident, the American Red Cross
has advised that people be prepared, including planning escape routes
and stockpiling emergency supplies.
to the Red Cross, families should create an emergency communications
plan, with an out-of-town contact person far enough away to not
be affected by a local incident. Families should also establish
a meeting place in case the area around the home is evacuated. Parents
need to be familiar with school disaster plans.
should also have a disaster kit of essential supplies, to be used
either at home or if evacuated. This should include first-aid supplies
and prescription medications, a change of clothing, a battery-operated
radio with spare batteries, sleeping bags, food, bottled water and
tools. The Red Cross also suggests cash and important family documents,
such as birth certificates, licenses and passports, be included.
Copies of documents should also be kept in a safe deposit box or
with out-of-town family members.
more complete instructions, the Red Cross offers a brochure on family
disaster kits (stock number A4463). More information from the Red
Cross is available at http://www.redcross.org/index.html
the event of an emergency, people are advised to:
Remain calm and be patient.
Follow the advice of local emergency officials.
Listen to news broadcasts for instructions.
If the disaster occurs nearby, check for injuries. Give first aid
and get help for seriously injured people.
you are home when a nearby disaster occurs, check for damage using
a flashlight. Do not light matches or candles or turn on electrical
switches. Check for fires and other hazards. Sniff for gas leaks,
starting at the water heater. If a leak is suspected, turn off the
main gas valve, open windows and get everyone outside quickly.
Shut off damaged utilities.
Call the family contact and otherwise stay off the telephone.
Check neighbors, especially the elderly or disabled.
evacuated, people are advised to listen to emergency instructions,
wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants and sturdy shoes, take the
disaster supplies kit and pets with them, lock the house, use designated
travel routes and avoid downed power lines.
people are told to stay in their homes, the Red Cross advises sealing
the house as much as possible, with plastic over windows, duct tape
seals on doors and vents. Turn off heating and air-conditioning
systems and close the fireplace damper. Family members are advised
to go to an interior room with the disaster supply kit and listen
to the radio for instructions.
addition, the Red Cross is advising that people learn basic first
aid and limit exposure, especially for children, to television coverage
of any incident.
the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, disaster relief workers realized
there can be significant casualties and infrastructure damage, heavy
law enforcement involvement, strains on mental health resources,
extensive media coverage, workplace and school closings, travel
restrictions and extensive clean-up requirements.
Emergency/Critical Incident Web site contains advisories,
local emergency numbers, warnings, resources and more tips about
what to do in an emergency.
more information about the specific effects of chemical or biological
agents, the following Web sites may be helpful:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: www.bt.cdc.gov
U.S. Department of Energy: www.energy.gov
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: www.hhs.gov
Federal Emergency Management Agency: www.rris.fema.gov
Environmental Protection Agency: www.epa.gov/swercepp
more information on putting together a disaster plan, request a
copy of the brochure titled "Your Family Disaster Plan"
(A4466) from the American Red Cross. Also available is "Before
How to Make Sure Youre Financially
Prepared" (A5075) for specific information on asset protection.