Every year, millions of people around the world lose their lives or have them seriously disrupted because of floods, tsunamis, wildfires, earthquakes, blizzards, hurricanes and so on. In today’s troubled world, we face even greater threats from terrorism, civil unrest, explosions and the possibility of chemical, biological or even nuclear attack. In the United States, the terrorist threat is not only from overseas groups, domestic terrorism has been with us for decades, and violence in the workplace and schools is a serious area of concern.
In the last 25 years, according to the FBI, there have been 327 domestic terrorist incidents and suspected incidents– that averages out at more than one every month during this period. In the last eight years more than 40 students, teachers and custodians have been shot dead at incidents in schools. The threat is real andgrowing.In the United States there are more than 1,800 government-owned buildings and more than 6,200 leased locations throughout the 50 continental states and Washington D.C. They employ almost million federal workers and host tens of millions of visitors. There are 327,000 education buildings in the 50 states and D.C. with 47-million children enrolled and employing around 3-million teachers.
There are 7,569 hospitals nationwide employing 5 million doctors, nurses and support staff with millions of overnight and day patients. We all have a duty to our families, friends and loved ones to ensure that the places where we live, work, learn and play are secure and that the people using them are safe. The aim of this handbook is not to alarm you but to prepare and protect you. In the event of a disaster or terrorist incident, first responders may not be able to get to you for some time. Our goal is to give youth information you need so that you are aware of the various threats you face and how to recognize and respond to them.
The handbook then spells out what you need to do to mitigate the effects and, in so doing, protect your family, friends and loved ones. This handbook is a tool that will help protect lives and ensure the continuation of our way of life, businesses, institutions and critical infrastructures in the event of a terrorist attack or other major emergency. As a result, it is a handbook that you cannot afford to be without.
Why Prepare for a Disaster? Being prepared and understanding what to do can reduce fear, anxiety and losses that accompany disasters. Communities, families and individuals should know what to do in a fire and where to seek shelter from a tornado. They should be ready to evacuate their homes, take refuge in public shelters and know how to care for their basic medical needs.
People can also reduce the impact of disasters (flood proofing, elevating a home – or moving a home out of harm’s way, securing items that could shake loose in an earthquake) and sometimes avoid the danger altogether.
You should know how to respond to severe weather or any disaster that could occur in your area – hurricanes, Earthquakes, extreme cold or flooding. You should also be ready to be self-sufficient for at least three days. This may mean providing for your own shelter, first aid, food, water and sanitation. While this guide focuses on the physical hazards of disasters, there are also the emotional effects of losing a loved one, a home, or treasured possessions. When under stress, people can become irritable, fatigued, hyperactive, angry and withdrawn. Children and older adults are especially vulnerable to post disaster psychological effects.
Share this reference with your household. Include everyone in the planning process. Teach children how to respond to emergencies. Give them a sense of what to expect. Being prepared, understanding your risks and taking steps to reduce those risks can reduce the damages caused by hazards.
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