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The following is part two in a two-part series. To read part one, click here.
We cannot provide against every contingency. But we can provide against many contingencies. Let the present situation (the attack on the World Trade Center, 9/11) remind us that this we should do. I do not know what the future holds. I do not wish to sound negative, but I wish to remind you of the warnings of scripture and the teachings of the prophets which we have had constantly before us.
Gordon B. Hinckley
The day after my last article Korea made threats against the United States. We should not be surprised if we take the council from President Hinckley and consider the warnings in the scriptures.
Now that you have done all we discussed do you know what to do should a terrorist attack occur? Does your family know what to do?
Remain calm and be patient. Fear and panic will only cause more suffering. Be confident in the preparations you have made. Remember studies have shown when you think about a problem and work thru it in your mind that when the time comes your mind will go to your plan and begin executing the plan.
Gather your family, you may need to gather them from work and school. When you are reunited as a family reassure them that you have a plan and they are safe. Play games, sing and be silly, watch a movie together and try to keep things as normal as possible.
Follow the advice of local emergency officials. If you are told to remain indoors do so and stay away from windows. Listen to your radio or television for news and instructions. Get on your HAM radio and find out what others are hearing. Communication is your greatest asset after the preparations you have made in your home.
If there is an active incident in your neighborhood close and lock all windows and exterior doors. Turn off all fans, heating and air conditioning systems. Close the fireplace damper. Get your disaster supplies kit, and radio or TV and go to an interior room without windows that is above ground level. Often this is a large bathroom.
In the case of a chemical threat, an above-ground location is preferable because many chemicals are heavier than air, and may seep into basements even if the windows are closed. Using duct tape, seal all cracks around the door and any vents into the room. Keep listening to your radio or television until you are told all is safe or you are told to evacuate. Local officials may call for evacuation in specific areas at greatest risk in your community.
People who may have come into contact with a biological or chemical agent may need to go through a decontamination procedure and will need to receive medical attention. Only call 9-1-1 about life-threatening emergencies, exposure to a chemical or biological attack is one.
If a terrorist attack occurs near you, check for injuries. Using your first aid guides provide first aid and get help for the seriously injured. Above all stay away from an active area of conflict. Saving others is important but it is more important to protect yourself first. You cannot help others if you become injured yourself.
If a terrorist incident occurs near your home while you are there, check for damage using a flashlight. Do not light matches or candles or turn on electrical switches.
Check for fires, fire hazards and other household hazards. Sniff for gas leaks, starting at the water heater. If you smell gas, suspect a leak, or are told by local officials to do so, turn off the main gas valve, open windows, and get everyone outside quickly. Do not turn off gas unless you confirm there is a leak as you cannot turn it back on yourself, professionals or the fire department should be called to turn on gas.
Shut off any other damaged utilities.
Gather and secure your pets. Pets may panic when they hear unfamiliar loud noises, see fire, smell smoke, or sense fear in your family. They will need you to remain calm and provide them with a sense of security.
Call your family contact—do not use the telephone again unless it is a life-threatening emergency. Family and friends will be worried until you have communicated. After the World Trade Center attack I was very concerned until I learned my family was safe.
Check on your neighbors, especially those who are elderly or disabled. You may need to bring them into your home to keep them calm and safe.
Heavy law enforcement involvement at local, state and federal levels follows a terrorist attack due to the event’s criminal nature. Stay out of their way.
Health and mental health resources in the affected communities will be strained, even overwhelmed. Help protect your family’s mental health by limiting exposure to news broadcasts, listen only long enough to be informed as to what officials are advising for your area. Extensive media coverage, fear and talk of national and international consequences can continue for a long time.
Workplaces and schools may be closed, and there may be restrictions on domestic and international travel. This means lots of time together. Think about two weeks into summer vacations and the “I’m bored” whining. Imagine how quickly this will be heard when you limit TV because of news broadcasts, no play dates, no fast food runs, no park play time, it’s all up to you to keep the family entertained. Begin now to introduce your family to games, wood working, sewing, reading books as a family, or other activities to make them a natural diversion during a stressful time.
You and your family may have to evacuate an area. Roads may be blocked for your safety. Practice taking various routes out or your neighborhood and town so you will be ready to take an alternate to reach your contact person’s home. If local authorities ask you to leave your home, they have a good reason to make this request, and you should heed the advice immediately. Again, listen to your radio or television and follow the instructions of local emergency officials and remember it’s often amateur radio operators who are providing help to first responders who know the best and safest routes.
If you leave be sure to leave doors locked and outdoor lights on.
If you own a business or work in human resources or have the confidence of your employer, prepare your workplace. There can be significant numbers of casualties and/or damage to buildings and the infrastructure. Employers need up-to-date information about medical needs of employees and current contact information for family and/or designated beneficiaries. If you are an employee now is the time to talk to your employer about preparations.
As we learned from the events of September 11, 2001, and the hundreds of subsequent terrorist attack there are some things we can prepare for because we know they are common after all attacks. One thing we know will happen is no power. Are you growing your preparedness binder? Build your binder now so when the power fails, no matter the cause, you are not at a loss as to what you should be doing to remain safe.Remember what Ralph Waldo Emerson said?
There is no knowledge that is not power.
If you have not already done so read and copy the following article with more tips for terrorist and civil unrest events and add it to your binder: Lessons of Katrina; Civil Unrest and Evacuation.