While the thought of a terrorist attack, like that of Sept. 11, 2001, can leave many people feeling helpless, there are things you can do to prepare yourself.
Before a Terrorist Attack
The following are things you can do to protect yourself, your family and your property in the event of an explosion.
Build an emergency supply kit, which includes items like non-perishable food, water, a battery-powered or hand-crank radio, extra flashlights and batteries. You may want to prepare a kit for your workplace and a portable kit to keep in your car in case you are told to evacuate. This kit should include:
- Prescription medications and medical supplies.
- Bedding and clothing, including sleeping bags and pillows.
- Copies of important documents: driver’s license, social security card, proof of residence, insurance policies, wills, deeds, birth and marriage certificates, tax records, etc.
Make a family emergency plan. Your family may not be together when disaster strikes, so it is important to know how you will contact one another, how you will get back together and what you will do in case of an emergency.
- Plan places where your family will meet, both within and outside of your immediate neighborhood.
- 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.
- Texting may work when phone lines are down.
- You may also want to inquire about emergency plans at places where your family spends time: work, daycare and school. If no plans exist, consider volunteering to help create one.
- Knowing your community's warning systems and disaster plans, including evacuation routes.
- Notify caregivers and babysitters about your plan.
- Make plans for your pets.
If a Terrorist Attack Occurs
- Remain calm and be patient.
- Follow the advice of local emergency officials.
- Listen to your radio or television for news and instructions.
- If the event occurs near you, check for injuries. Give first aid and get help for seriously injured people.
- If the event 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. If you smell gas or suspect a leak, turn off the main gas valve, open windows, and get everyone outside quickly.
- Shut off any other damaged utilities.
- Confine or secure your pets.
- Call your family contact—do not use the telephone again unless it is a life-threatening emergency.
- Check on your neighbors, especially those who are elderly or disabled.
What to Expect After a Terrorist Attack has Occurred
- There can be significant numbers of casualties and/or damage to buildings and the infrastructure. So employers need up-to-date information about any medical needs you may have and on how to contact your designated beneficiaries.
- Heavy law enforcement involvement at local, state and federal levels follows a terrorist attack due to the event's criminal nature.
- Health and mental health resources in the affected communities can be strained to their limits, maybe even overwhelmed.
- Extensive media coverage, strong public fear and international implications and consequences can continue for a prolonged period.
- Workplaces and schools may be closed, and there may be restrictions on domestic and international travel.
- You and your family or household may have to evacuate an area, avoiding roads blocked for your safety. Clean-up may take many months.
Department of Homeland Security
National Terrorism Advisory System
Prepare Your Family for Disaster
Attacks in Crowded and Public Spaces
Bioterrorism - Ready.gov
Chemical Emergencies - Ready.gov
Cybersecurity - Ready.gov
Explosions - Ready.gov
Federal Emergency Management Agency
American Red Cross
Center for Disease Control and Prevention