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TERRORISM & Anthrax

Note: The following information was gathered from various government agencies and will be modified to fit Gallia County's emergency plan as needed.

 

One of the key things you can do to try to protect yourself from terrorism is to be prepared. 

This web document will give you some ideas on how to better prepare yourself should a terrorist attack occur. More information will be posted here as it becomes available.

Before it happens.

Learn about the nature of terrorism.

Terrorists look for visible targets where they can avoid detection before or after an attack such as international airports, large cities, major international events, resorts, and high-profile landmarks.

Learn about the different types of terrorist weapons including explosives, kidnappings, hijackings, arson, and shootings.

Prepare to deal with a terrorist incident by adapting many of the same techniques used to prepare for other crises.

Be alert and aware of the surrounding area. The very nature of terrorism suggests that there may be little or no warning. Take precautions when traveling. Be aware of conspicuous or unusual behavior. Do not accept packages from strangers. Do not leave luggage unattended. Learn where emergency exists are located. Think ahead about how to evacuate a building, subway or congested public area in a hurry. Learn where staircases are located. Notice your immediate surroundings. Be aware of heavy or breakable objects that could move, fall or break in an explosion.

Preparing for a Building Explosion

The use of explosives by terrorists can result in collapsed buildings and fires. People who live or work in a multi-level building can do the following:

Bomb Threats

If you receive a bomb threat, get as much information from the caller as possible. Keep the caller on the line and record everything that is said.

Notify the police and the building management.

After you've been notified of a bomb threat, do not touch any suspicious packages. Clear the area around the suspicious package and notify the police immediately. In evacuating a building, avoid standing in front of windows or other potentially hazardous areas. Do not restrict sidewalk or streets to be used by emergency officials.

DURING

AFTER

If you are trapped in debris.

Assisting Victims

Untrained persons should not attempt to rescue people who are inside a collapsed building. Wait for emergency personnel to arrive.

Chemical Agents

Chemical agents are poisonous gases, liquids or solids that have toxic effects on people, animals or plants. Most chemical agents cause serious injuries or death.

Severity of injuries depends on the type and amount of the chemical agent used, and the duration of exposure.

Were a chemical agent attack to occur, authorities would instruct citizens to either seek shelter where they are and seal the premises or evacuate immediately. Exposure to chemical agents can be fatal. Leaving the shelter to rescue or assist victims can be a deadly decision. There is no assistance that the untrained can offer that would likely be of any value to the victims of chemical agents.

Biological Agents

Biological agents are organisms or toxins that have illness-producing effects on people, livestock and crops.

Because biological agents cannot necessarily be detected and may take time to grow and cause a disease, it is almost impossible to know that a biological attack has occurred. If government officials become aware of a biological attack through an informant or warning by terrorists, they would most likely instruct citizens to either seek shelter where they are and seal the premises or evacuate immediately.

A person affected by a biological agent requires the immediate attention of professional medical personnel. Some agents are contagious, and victims may need to be quarantined. Also, some medical facilities may not receive victims for fear of contaminating the hospital population.

More information on Bio-terrorism preparedness and response is available online from the Department of Health and Human Services Center for Disease Control.

 

HOW TO HANDLE ANTHRAX AND OTHER BIOLOGICAL AGENT THREATS

Many facilities in communities around the country have received anthrax threat letters. Most were empty envelopes; some have contained powdery substances. The purpose of these guidelines is to recommend procedures for handling such incidents.

DO NOT PANIC

1. Anthrax organisms can cause infection in the skin, gastrointestinal system, or the lungs. To do, so the organism must be rubbed into abraded skin, swallowed, or inhaled as a fine, aerosolized mist. Disease can be prevented after exposure to the anthrax spores by early treatment with the appropriate antibiotics. Anthrax is not spread from one person to another person. 

2. For anthrax to be effective as a covert agent, it must be aerosolized into very small particles. This is difficult to do, and requires a great deal of technical skill and special equipment. If these small particles are inhaled, life-threatening lung infection can occur, but prompt recognition and treatment are effective.

Suspicious Unopened letter or PACKAGE MARKED WITH THREATENING MESSAGE SUCH AS “ANTHRAX”:

1. Do not shake or empty the contents of any suspicious envelope or package.

2. PLACE the envelope or package in a plastic bag or some other type of container to prevent leakage of contents.

3. If you do not have any container, then COVER the envelope or package with anything (e.g., clothing, paper, trash can, etc.) and do not remove this cover.

4. Then LEAVE the room and CLOSE the door, or section off the area to prevent others from entering (i.e., keep others away).

5. WASH your hands with soap and water to prevent spreading any powder to your face.

6. What to do next…

        * If you are at HOME, then call 911.

        * If you are at WORK, then call 911, and notify your building security official or an available supervisor.

7. LISTall people who were in the room or area when this suspicious letter or package was recognized. Give this list to both the local public health authorities and law enforcement officials for follow-up investigations and advice. 

Envelope with powder and powder spills out onto surface:

1. DO NOT try to CLEAN UP the powder. COVER the spilled contents immediately with anything (e.g., clothing, paper, trash can, etc.) and do not remove this cover!

2. Then LEAVE the room and CLOSE the door, or section off the area to prevent others from entering (i.e., keep others away).

3. WASH your hands with soap and water to prevent spreading any powder to your face.

4. What to do next…

· If you are at HOME, then CALL 911.

· If you are at WORK, then CALL 911, and notify your building security official or an available supervisor.

5. REMOVE heavily contaminated clothing as soon as possible and place in a plastic bag, or some other container that can be sealed. This clothing bag should be given to the emergency responders for proper handling.

6. SHOWER with soap and water as soon as possible. Do Not Use Bleach Or Other Disinfectant On Your Skin.

7. If possible, list all people who were in the room or area, especially those who had actual contact with the powder. Give this list to both the local public health authorities so that proper instructions can be given for medical follow-up, and to law enforcement officials for further investigation. 

QUESTION OF ROOM CONTAMINATION BY AEROSOLIZATION:

For example: small device triggered, warning that air handling system is contaminated, or warning that a biological agent released in a public space.

1. Turn off local fans or ventilation units in the area.

2. LEAVE area immediately.

3. CLOSE the door, or section off the area to prevent others from entering (i.e., keep others away).

4. What to do next…

- If you are at HOME, then CALL "911" to report the incident to local police and the local FBI field office.

- If you are at WORK, then CALL "911" to report the incident to local police and the local FBI field office, and notify your building security official or an available supervisor.

5. SHUT down air handling system in the building, if possible.

6. If possible, list all people who were in the room or area. Give this list to both the local public health authorities so that proper instructions can be given for medical follow-up, and to law enforcement officials for further investigation.

HOW TO IDENTIFY SUSPICIOUS PACKAGES AND LETTERS

Some characteristics of suspicious packages and letters include the following…

· Excessive postage

· Handwritten or poorly typed addresses

· Incorrect titles

· Title, but no name

· Misspellings of common words

· Oily stains, discolorations or odor

· No return address

· Excessive weight

· Lopsided or uneven envelope

· Protruding wires or aluminum foil

· Excessive security material such as masking tape, string, etc.

· Visual distractions

· Ticking sound

· Marked with restrictive endorsements, such as “Personal” or “Confidential”

· Shows a city or state in the postmark that does not match the return address