Be Prepared

Investigative reporter Arnold Diaz holds up a trophy he received at the 50th Annual New York Emmy Awards Gala on April 1, 2007. GETTY IMAGES/Bryan Bedder

Some advice from the American Red Cross on how to prepare for the possibility of a major terrorist attack:

  • Develop a personal and family disaster plan, including plans for emergency communications with family, friends and neighbors.

  • Assemble disaster kit that includes water, food, first aid supplies, prescription medicines, clothing, portable radio or TV, and extra batteries. Keep items you would need during an evacuation in easy-to-carry container.

  • Store at least a three-day supply of nonperishable food. Select foods that require no refrigeration, preparation or cooking, and little or no water. Select compact, lightweight food items.

  • Keep important documents such as wills, passports and financial records in a waterproof, portable container.

  • If an attack occurs, listen to radio or TV for information and instructions, obey any government-ordered travel restrictions, provide volunteer services only as requested.

  • If ordered to evacuate, wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants and sturdy shoes. Shut off water and electricity before leaving. Leave natural gas service on unless local officials advise you otherwise.

  • If advised by local officials to "shelter in place," remain inside your home or office. Close and lock windows and exterior doors. Turn off fans, heating and air conditioning systems. Close fireplace damper. Get disaster supplies kit, make sure radio is working and go to an interior room without windows that is above ground level.

  • In the case of a chemical threat, use duct tape to seal all cracks around the door and any vents into the room.

  • People who may have been exposed to a biological or chemical agent may need to undergo a decontamination procedure and receive medical attention. Listen to advice of local officials on radio or TV to determine what steps to take. Call 911 only about life-threatening emergencies.

    • Bootie Cosgrove-Mather

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