Be prepared to improvise and use what you have on hand to make
it on your own for at least three days, maybe longer. While there are many things that might make you
more comfortable, think first about fresh water, food and clean air.
Consider two kits. In
one, put everything you will need to stay where you are and make it on your
own. The other should be a lightweight, smaller version you can take with you
if you have to get away.
You’ll need a gallon of water per person per day for drinking and sanitation. Include in the
kits a three day supply of non-perishable foods that are easy to store and prepare such
as protein bars, dried fruit or canned foods. If you live in a cold weather
climate, include warm clothes and a sleeping bag for each member of the family.
Some potential terrorist attacks could send tiny microscopic
“junk” into the air. Many of these materials can only hurt you if they get into
your body, so think about creating a barrier between yourself and any
contamination. It’s smart to have something for each member of the family that
covers their mouth and nose, such as two to three layers of a cotton t-shirt, handkerchief
or towel or filter masks, readily available in hardware stores. It is very important
that the mask or other material fit your face snugly so that most of the air
you breathe comes through the mask, not around it. Do whatever you can to make
the best fit possible for children.
Also, include duct
tape and heavyweight garbage bags or plastic sheeting that can be used to seal windows and doors if you need to create
a barrier between yourself and any potential contamination outside.
2Make a Planfor What You Will Do in an Emergency.
Plan in advance what you will do in an emergency. Be prepared to
assess the situation. Use common sense and whatever you have on hand to take
care of yourself and your loved ones.
Develop a Family Communications Plan. Your family may not be together when disaster strikes, so plan
how you will contact one another and review what you will do in different
situations. Consider a plan where each family member
calls, or e-mails, the same
friend or relative in the event of an emergency. It may be easier to make a long-distance phone call than to call
across town, so an out-of-town contact may be in a better position to communicate among separated
family members. Be sure each person knows the phone
number and has coins or a prepaid phone card to call the
emergency contact. You may have trouble getting through, or the phone system
may be down altogether, but be patient.
Depending on your circumstances and the nature of the attack,
the first important decision is whether you stay put or get away. You should
understand and plan for both possibilities. Use common sense and the
information you are learning here to determine if there is immediate danger. Watch television and listen to the radio for official
instructions as they become available.
Create a Plan to Shelter-in-Place. There are circumstances when staying put and creating a barrier
between yourself and potentially contaminated air outside, a process known as
sheltering-in-place and sealing the room can be a matter of survival. If you see large amounts of debris in the air, or if local
authorities say the air is badly contaminated, you may want to shelter-in-place
and seal the room. Consider precutting plastic sheeting to seal windows, doors
and air vents. Each piece should be several inches
larger than the space you want to cover so that you can duct tape it flat
against the wall. Label each piece with the location of where it fits.
Use all available information to assess the situation. If you
see large amounts of debris in the air, or if local authorities say the air is
badly contaminated, you may want to shelter-in-place. Quickly bring your family
and pets inside, lock doors, and close windows, air vents and fireplace
dampers. Immediately turn off air conditioning, forced air heating systems,
exhaust fans and clothes dryers.
Take your emergency supplies and go into the room you have
designated. Seal all windows, doors and vents. Understand that sealing the room
is a temporary measure to create a barrier between you and contaminated air.
Watch TV, listen to the radio or check the Internet for instructions.
Create a Plan to Get Away. Plan in
advance how you will assemble your family and anticipate where you will go. Choose several destinations in different directions so you have options in an emergency. If you have a car, keep at
least a half tank of gas in it at all times. Become familiar with alternate routes as well as other means
of transportation out of your area. If you do not have a car, plan how you will
leave if you have to. Take your emergency supply kit, unless you have reason to believe it is contaminated and lock
the door behind you. Take pets with you if you are told to evacuate, however,
if you are going to a public shelter, keep in mind they may not be allowed
If you believe the air may be contaminated, drive with your
windows and vents closed and keep the air conditioning and heater turned off.
Listen to the radio for instructions.
Know Emergency Plans at School and Work. Think about the places where your family spends time: school,
work and other places your family frequents. Talk to your children’s schools and your employer about
emergency plans. Find out how they will communicate with
families during an emergency. If you are an employer, be sure you have an
emergency preparedness plan. Review and practice it with your employees. A
community working together during an emergency also makes sense. Talk to your neighbors about how you can work together.
3 Be Informed about what might happen.
Some of the things you can do to prepare for the unexpected,
such as assembling a supply kit and developing a family communications plan,
are the same for both a natural or man-made emergency. However there are
significant differences among potential terrorist threats, such as biological,
chemical, explosive, nuclear and radiological, which will impact the decisions
you make and the actions you take. By beginning a process of learning about
these specific threats, you are preparing
yourself to react in an emergency. Go to www.ready.gov to learn more about potential terrorist
threats and other emergencies or call 1-800-BE-READY (1-800-237-3239) for a
Be prepared to adapt this
information to your personal circumstances and make every effort to follow
instructions received from authorities on the scene. With these simple
preparations, you can be ready for the unexpected.
Recommended Supplies to include in a Basic Kit:
Water one gallon per person per day, for
drinking and sanitation
Food at least a three-day supply of
Battery-powered radio and extra batteries
Flashlight and extra batteries
First Aid kit
Whistle to signal for help
Filter mask or cotton t-shirt, to
help filter the air
Moist towelettes for
Wrench or pliers to turn
Manual can opener for food
( if kit contains canned food )
Plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place
Garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
Unique family needs, such as
daily prescription medications, infant formula or diapers, and important family documents