August - Terrorism: Prepare for the Unexpected
Terrorism: Prepare for the Unexpected
We think that acts of terrorism only happen in metropolitan areas. I am guiltier than anyone. When 9/11 hit, I was in old Mexico walking into a factory. The guard called my attention to his TV in his guardhouse, alerting me to the plane hitting the first tower. I asked him in Spanish “What movie are you watching?” He said, “No, No, its real and its in Nuevo York (New York).” Before we finished, the second plane hit the other tower. Like the whole world, I thought this was a joke or miff. Obviously, I was wrong.
In the aftermath of all the subsequent events of 9/11, we all learned that there is always a chance that they can strike closer to home. Our government is taking all the necessary precautions to abort any acts of terrorism, but we need to be ready ourselves, even though we don’t want that to happen on our soil. There are some things that we can and should do to prepare our families for the unexpected, but hope that they never happen.
Create an Emergency Communications Plan:
Set up a person out of your town or immediate area to have for a reciprocating contact. Use phone numbers, mail addresses, etc., so that if a disaster happens you can contact each other. These numbers should be distributed to relatives and children at school, work locations, or other locations where contact can be made.
Establish a Meeting Place:
Set up your home as a meeting place, but an alternate location should be established, in case the home cannot be reached. Periodically, review this with family members and don’t forget to include your pets. Remember that some hotels and shelters do not allow pets.
Assemble a disaster supplies kit:
You may need to evacuate your home and occupy a shelter in place. Having some basic and essentials supplies on hand will make this stay more comfortable. Prepare a disaster kit with some of the following in it:
- Use a large duffel bag or a plastic can with a lid for storing the contents
- For your household kit, have a change of clothing in it for each family member
- First aid supplies (including special medications if required, like diabetics, blood pressure needs, etc.)
- A sleeping bag or bedroll
- A battery-powered radio or TV with extra batteries
- An ample sample of bottled water
- Some basic tools
- A clear plastic envelope with copies of your important documents, such as: birth certificates, marriage licenses, and insurance documents.
Check on the School Emergency Plan for any school age children:
- Check first to see if they have provisions to keep kids until a parent, guardian, or designated adult can pick them up or have formal plans for their dispersal otherwise.
- Check periodically to make sure that the school has all updated information on how to reach the parents, guardian, or designated adult for the kids.
- Type of authorization the school requires in order for a designated person or guardian to pick up a kid at school.
WHAT SHOULD WE DO IF DISASTER STRIKES:
- Remain calm and be patient
- Follow the advice of local emergency officials
- Listen to your radio or TV for news and instructions
- If disaster strikes near your locale – Check for injuries, give first aid, and get help for the people that are seriously hurt.
- If disaster strikes near your home and you are there – check for damages with a flashlight. Do not use matches or candles and do not touch light switches. Check for possible fires, fire hazards, or other possible household hazards. Sniff around for gas leaks at your water heater, stove (if it is gas), heaters, or gas logs (if you have them). Assume that you smell gas, turn off the main gas valve, open up all the windows, and clear all the people from the house.
- Shut off any other damaged utilities.
- Confine or secure your pets.
- Contact your family contact- avoid use of the phone after you have made contact, unless it is a life threatening situation. Check on elderly or disabled neighbors.
What Could Happen:
As much as we don’t want to have a catastrophe, it could happen and some of the things we discussed above would be involved. We should expect to see casualties, damaged buildings and property, maybe roads and utilities affected. The degree of damage would depend on the nature of the attacks. With this in mind, we need to have disaster supplies at our disposal and medical supplies on hand for our use. In the aftermath of an attack, expect to see multitudes of law enforcement, fire dept. personnel, and media in the area.
Home evacuations may be a part of this, with instructions on avoiding certain roads from blockage and taking alternate routes. Here again this is a case in point where emergency plans for family identity and contacts is so important.
Our prayers should always be that this won’t happen in good old Mississippi and at the same time continue to pray for our military, local law enforcement, and fire dept. personnel who put their lives on the line for us everyday so that we can maintain a certain quality of life.
PUT SAFETY FIRST - PREVENT THE WORST!!
DON’T LEARN BY AN ACCIDENT!
MAFES / MSU-ES 662-566-2201 Excerpts: www.nfpa.org