Hope for the Best, Prepare for the Worst: What to Do If There’s a Terrorist Attack

September 09, 2011 at 6:26 pm

Ground Zero after Sept. 11, 2001.

As America commemorated the 10th anniversary of Sept. 11, and report reports of a terror threat raised old fears anew,  MetroFocus mined the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s website for information on what to do in the event of a terrorist attack. 

In the Event of An Explosion…

Conventional bombs have been used to attack various types of urban structures, such as commercial and institutional buildings, public spaces and transportation systems.
  • If things are falling around you, get under a sturdy table or desk. As soon as they stop, leave quickly and watch for falling debris.
  • Don’t use elevators, but watch for weakened stairways.
  • Once you’re out, don’t stand in front of glass doors or windows.
  • Clear the sidewalks or streets for emergency officials or others still exiting the building.
  • If you are trapped in debris: Cover your nose and mouth and then find a way to signal for rescuers so if possible, use a flashlight, a whistle or tap on a pipe or wall…

What About a Biological Threat…

Bacteria, viruses, and toxins are the three basic groups of biological agents that would likely be used as weapons.

  • If there is a biological attack, first check for official news and information about areas of danger, signs and symptoms of the disease and where you can seek medical attention.
  • Use good judgement, but if you see an unusual or suspicious substance nearby move away, wash your hands and contact authorities.
  • If you are exposed to a biological agent, take off your clothes, wash up and seek medical assistance. (You may be quarantined)

Steps to Take For a Chemical Attack…

Poisonous vapors, aerosols, liquids, and solids that have toxic effects on people, animals, or plants.

  • Listen to the news for instructions from authorities, if you are told to remain indoors then close all windows and doors and turn off all ventilation including air conditions, furnaces and fans.
  • Seek shelter in an internal room and seal it with duct tape and plastic sheeting.
  • If you are caught in or near a contaminated area, you should move in a direction upwind of the source and find shelter as soon as possible.
  • If medical attention is not needed then decontaminate yourself: remove all clothing and seal it in a plastic bag, wash up, rinse your eyes, change into uncontaminated clothes and then go to a medical facility for screening and professional treatment.
Mutual of America PSEG


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