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"Prepare. Respond. Recover. It's time to get Ready LA" - Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa
Dark smoke pours from a building, poison gases send thousands fleeing into the street, or masked gunmen burst into a crowded hall. You’ve heard about them, read about them, seen them dramatically reenacted in movies. We all talk about terrorist attacks but, according to a Homeland Security study very few of us do anything to prepare for them. The “surprise” element is what makes an attack particular y dangerous, but there are things we can do to be ready. Let’s start with some relevant facts.

Terroism

Armed with facts
Govenment facility
  • High-risk terrorist targets include military and civilian government facilities, international airports, large cities and well-known landmarks.
  • Chemical and biological terrorism is often directed at water and food supplies.
  • A total of 2,974 victims and 19 terrorists died in the infamous 9/11 terror attacks.
  • Counterterrorism operations continue to uncover terrorist threats that could have resulted in significant loss of life and property if carried out successfully
  • Federal, state, local, and international authorities all share information and work together to thwart terrorist activities.
  • Los Angeles County utilizes a Terrorism Early Warning (TEW) group to constantly assess terrorist threats and keep authorities and the public updated.
Preparation improves your odds
Sign at airport
No one really knows when or where the next terrorist strike will occur in the United States. But that doesn’t mean we should throw up our hands and say, “Why bother?” On the contrary if you plan ahead and make special preparations for an attack, you could have a much better chance of surviving one. Here are some things you can do.

  • Always be aware of your surroundings and stay alert.
  • Take special precautions when traveling, especially keeping track of your luggage, reporting unusual packages in the airport and monitoring unusual behavior
  • Learn the locations of emergency exits in buildings that you frequent.
  • Think ahead about your quickest escape route from buildings, subways and congested public areas… note where any staircases are located.
  • Familiarize yourself with the operation of different types of fire extinguishers.
  • Assemble a disaster supply kit for your home and keep it in an easily accessible place.
  • Learn first aid, including CPR.
Surviving an attack
Survivors
It could be something as subtle as powder on an envelope or an unfamiliar odor in the air, but before you begin analyzing and overthinking every possible terrorist threat, let’s concentrate on one of the more common ones… a bomb explosion. Sure, debris is flying everywhere, people are screaming, the earth feels like it’s about to separate below you, but many people survive bomb attacks, even those within close range. Remembering a few helpful tips can make all the difference.

  • If you sense that an explosion is a split second away, drop to the floor and lie flat, covering your head with your hands.
  • Once an explosion occurs, leave the building or bomb site as quickly as possible, but only after debris is no longer flying.
  • Do not linger to retrieve personal belongings or to make a phone call.
  • Watch out for damaged, weakened floors and stairs as you exit.
  • If items are falling all around you, find a sturdy desk or table to crawl under and wait until the situation calms.
  • Help injured victims who may need assistance walking away from the site.
  • If the building is on fire, stay low to the floor and keep your mouth covered when exiting.
  • When approaching a closed door, use the back of your hand to feel if the door is hot. If it is, open it very slowly and, if fire is present, search for an alternate exit.
  • If trapped in debris, do not light a match or kick up dust…rhythmically tap on a pipe or wall nearby to summon help. Only shout as a last resort.

Close to home
People standing around

Terrorist attacks do not always involve political groups or foreign enemies. It can also be the work of a single deranged mind or several individuals with no motive other than to cause the loss of innocent lives. Events such as Columbine, the Killeen, Texas cafeteria shooting and various high profile office killings in recent years point up the fact that terrorism can spring from our own neighborhoods. Though these occurrences are very rare, the best advice is to stay alert and be prepared to act calmly, but decisively

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