Chemical and Biological Terrorism
Chemical and Biological Terrorism: Terrorist attacks attempt to make political or religious points using surprise violence, usually against non-military targets. Chemical or biological terrorist ("bio terrorists") use biological elements (diseases) or chemicals as weapons to attack large numbers of people. Biological or chemical agents can also affect crops and animals and the people who eat them.
Addressing the Problem: Public health and government agencies are responsible for preparing the public for any threat related to a bio terrorist attack. You can assist by remaining informed, alert to unusual activity, and calm.
Governmental Steps: Emergency management agencies are preparing for chemical or bio terrorist attacks. Large stocks of vaccines and antibiotics are on hand. Health workers are receiving special training. Communication networks are in place to keep the public informed.
Your Involvement Counts: Be the eyes and ears of health and law enforcement agencies.
(1) Watch for any unusual activity in your community. If you see anything out of the ordinary, call law enforcement.
(2) Communicate with policymakers. Let them know your concerns and respond quickly to their requests.
(3) If you work in agriculture, investigate any stranger near your animals or crops. Report signs of disease to local health, law, or agricultural agencies.
(4) One cause for alarm would be the unexplained death of pets or livestock.
Being Prepared: Remain calm. If you panic, you're likely to cause more problems. Prepare for a terrorist attack just as you would for any disaster. Listen to the radio and television for information and instructions.
In a chemical or biological weapons attack, you may need to "shelter-in-place." This means staying sealed in your home or office, away from doors or windows, until the emergency passes. It could last several days.
Have a survival kit ready:
(1) Canned or sealed-package food for 3-7 days.
(2) One gallon of water per day per person for 3-7 days.
(3) Battery-powered radio, flashlight, and batteries.
(4) First-aid kit, extra eyeglasses, prescriptions, toilet paper, paper towels, diapers, etc.
(5) Clothes, sturdy shoes, and a blanket or sleeping bag per person.
(6) Car keys, credit card, or traveler's checks.
What you do not need:
An attack would come by surprise. It is not possible for you to keep defenses for every kind of event. It may seem safer to have special safety gear on hand, but it could be useless or worse.
(1) Don't buy gas masks. No one type of gas mask protects against all chemical and biological weapons. Gas masks need proper maintenance. They also break down in time. If your mask worked at all, you would have to wear it 24 hours a day. People can even be smothered by as masks that are broken or used incorrectly.
(2) Don't try to stockpile antibiotics or other antidotes. No single drug would work against all biological weapons. Some of these diseases cannot be cured with any drug. Antibiotics lose strength over time. Even if you had the right ones in large enough amounts, they could lose their power before you needed them.
Don't Panic: The best thing you can do is to remain calm and try not to worry. Government officials are on high alert. People who overreact may do more harm than good.
You do need to remain alert. If you have questions or concerns, contact your local or state health department, federal health agency, or law enforcement agency.
This guide outlines common sense measures for caregivers to start preparing for emergencies before they happen.
Listed below are talking points developed by FEMA that will help you in making you and your family as prepared as possible if there is a disaster in the area in which you live.
(2) Be informed
(9) Emergency kit
(10) Emergency money
(11) Fire safety
(12) Get involved
(14) Important documents
(15) Make a plan
(16) Medical supplies
(18) Stay or go
(21) Working together
Preparing Makes Sense. Get Ready Now.
Information was developed by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in consultation with AARP, the American Red Cross and the National Organization on Disability.
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