Terrorism is a dangerous new reality of the world we live in. We all know about the World Trade Center, but terrorism has been increasing in the western world. The Tokyo subway gas attack, the Madrid train attack, the London subway bombing, the Lockerbie bombing, and the list goes on.
Here in America each of us needs to be aware of anything that looks suspicious, and if we see something that doesn’t look right, we need to alert the authorities right away. We hope that it never happens again here. But it’s better to be ready. Two of the biggest consequences of terrorist attacks are disruptions in transportation and possible tainting of the food or water supply. Disruption in transportation means that help and supplies may not be available for days. Food may run out and be difficult to re-supply.
Because of that disruption and the confusion that can happen in the aftermath, you may be on your own for several days. In some cases, you may need to evacuate quickly. With a 72-hour kit, you’ll be ready for both. In addition to emergency food and water, your kit should have a respirator mask for airborne pollutants. Extra masks and other body protection (safety glasses, work gloves) are recommended.
If the food or water supply is tainted, it could affect a large area. The government has begun recommending that you have a 30-day food supply on hand. You can build your supply with extra staples and canned goods. Long shelf-life foods are a safe, compact way to have an emergency food supply on hand.
Communications will become your safety link. Phone lines may be swamped or restricted to emergency communication. An FRS radio or CB radio would let you get in touch with a family member (have one at work and the other at home, for example). A car charger would let you recharge your cell phone from your car if the electricity is out. That charger will also work with some crank flashlight/radios to charge your cell phone. A crank-operated radio will ensure that you will be able to hear emergency broadcasts.
One of the weapons that terrorists might use is a dirty bomb. José Padilla was arrested in 2002 for plotting a dirty bomb attack in the US. These are devices that use conventional explosives to spread radioactive material. Although there would be an explosion, the greater danger is from the radiation that would spread over several miles. Iodine pills can help to protect you from that radiation until you can get to a clear area.
Remember that you may be at work when something happens, so your office or car may be a good place to have some of your survival tools. As always, having a Family Emergency Plan is essential. Knowing what you’re going to do in advance is key to managing through a sudden crisis. The plan lets everyone know how to communicate, where to meet, and what supplies need to be on hand.