Increase Your Awareness
Current world events have increased our awareness of the terrorism threat and the need for response planning. Canada is a potential terrorism target because of the democratic nature of our society. The September 11 attacks on the World Trade Centre had a direct impact on our surrounding communities. As Maple Ridge is located near international airports, we must be prepared.
There are many kinds of terrorism treats:
- Biological Threats: Biological agents are organisms or toxins that can kill or incapacitate people, livestock and crops. A biological attack is the deliberate release of germs or other biological substances that can make you sick.
- Chemical Threats: Chemical agents are poisonous vapors, aerosols, liquids and solids that have toxic effects on people, animals or plants. A chemical attack could come without warning. Signs of a chemical release include people having difficulty breathing; experiencing eye irritation; losing coordination; becoming nauseated; or having a burning sensation in the nose, throat and lungs. Also, the presence of many dead insects or birds may indicate a chemical agent release.
- Cyber Attacks: Individually-owned devices such as computers, tablets, mobile phones, and gaming systems that connect to the Internet are vulnerable to intrusion. Personal information may be at risk without proper security.
- Explosions: Terrorists have frequently used explosive devices as one of their most common weapons. Terrorists do not have to look far to find out how to make explosive devices; the information is readily available in books and other information sources. Explosive devices can be highly portable, using vehicles and humans as a means of transport. They are easily detonated from remote locations or by suicide bombers.
- Nuclear Blast: A nuclear blast is an explosion with intense light and heat, a damaging pressure wave, and widespread radioactive material that can contaminate the air, water, and ground surfaces for miles around. A nuclear device can range from a weapon carried by an intercontinental missile launched by a hostile nation or terrorist organization, to a small portable nuclear device transported by an individual. All nuclear devices cause deadly effects when exploded, including blinding light, intense heat (thermal radiation), initial nuclear radiation, blast, fires started by the heat pulse and secondary fires caused by the destruction.
- Review Before an Emergency for general information on how to prepare.
- Prepare your family plan and your property.
- Have a plan and practice it with your family.
- Check with your doctor to ensure all required or suggested immunizations are up to date. Children and older adults are particularly vulnerable to biological agents.
- Consider installing a High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filter in your furnace return duct. These filters remove particles in the 0.3 to 10 micron range and will filter out most biological agents that may enter your house. If you do not have a central heating or cooling system, a stand-alone portable HEPA filter can be used.
- Choose an internal room to shelter, preferably one without windows and on the highest level.
- Bomb Threats: If you receive a telephoned bomb threat, get as much information from the caller as possible. Where, Where, What does the bomb look like, what kind of bomb is it, What will cause it to explode, Did you place the bomb? Keep the caller on the line and record everything that is said if possible. Notify the police immediately.
- Suspicious Package/Letter: Be wary of suspicious packages or letters. They can contain explosives, chemical or biological agents.
- Find out from officials if any public buildings in your community have been designated as fallout shelters. If none have been designated, make your own list of potential shelters near your home, workplace and school. These places would include basements or the windowless center area of middle floors in high-rise buildings, as well as subways and tunnels.
During an Act of Terrorism
- Remain calm and be patient.
- Follow the advice of local emergency officials. Expect to stay inside for at least 24 hours unless told otherwise by authorities.
- Listen to your radio or television for news and instructions.
- If the event occurs near you, check for injuries. Give first aid and get help for seriously injured people.
- If the event occurs near your home while you are there, check for damage using a flashlight. Do not light matches or candles or turn on electrical switches. Check for fires, fire hazards and other household hazards. Sniff for gas leaks, starting at the water heater. If you smell gas or suspect a leak, turn off the main gas valve, open windows, and get everyone outside quickly.
- Shut off any other damaged utilities.
- Confine or secure your pets.
- Protect yourself. Cover your mouth and nose with layers of fabric that can filter the air but, still allow breathing. Examples include two to three layers of cotton such as a t-shirt, handkerchief or towel. Otherwise, several layers of tissue or paper towels may help.
After an Act of Terrorisim
- Call your family contact—do not use the telephone again unless it is a life-threatening emergency.
- Check on your neighbors, especially those who are elderly or disabled. Use extreme caution when helping others who have been exposed to chemical agents.
- Change into uncontaminated clothes. Clothing stored in drawers or closets is likely to be uncontaminated.
- Stay away from damaged areas. Stay away from areas marked “radiation hazard” or “HAZMAT.” Remember that radiation cannot be seen, smelled or otherwise detected by human senses.