Preparing for a terrorist incident is not the most agreeable subject. Yet, terrorism is a reality we may have to address for a long time.

We know that an attack can happen anytime and anywhere. And if an attack occurs, there may not be much time to respond.

It could mean that you must evacuate your home instantly. Or, you and your family could be confined in your home.

Basic services—gas, water, electricity and telephones— may not function for days.

Local officials and relief workers will be on the scene, but they cannot reach everyone immediately. Help could arrive in hours, or it may take days. Here is how you and your family can be prepared to cope with the emergency until help arrives.

Everyone copes best by preparing for disaster before it strikes

Here are some simple and invaluable steps you can take now to prepare yourself if an incideent occurs. None of these preparations are difficult or excessively time-consuming. And once you are prepared, you will be ready for a range of eventualities.

1 Plan for what you will do in an emergencyBe prepared to assess the situation, use common sense and whatever you have on hand to take care of yourself and your loved ones. Depending on your situation, the first consideration is deciding whether to stay or go. So, understand and plan for both possibilities

.2 Get a kit of emergency suppliesBe 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 putting together two kits. In one, put everything needed to stay where you are. The other should be a lightweight, smaller version you can take with you if you have to get away.

3 Be Informed about what might happenSome 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 important differences among potential terrorist threats that will impact the decisions you make and the actions you take. With a little planning and common sense, you can be better prepared for the unexpected.

The material on these pages are excerpts from American Red Cross, FEMA and Homeland Security publications.

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