Protecting your family and pets against terrorism

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Table of Contents

The Threat of Terrorism
Legal Information
What You Can Do To Fight Terrorism
Links to RCMP, FBI, Interpol, Public Health Agency of Canada's Centre for Emergency Preparedness and Response, U.S. Center for Disease Control
Pets Are An Important Part of Our Family
Be Prepared
Dealing With A State of Emergency
Businesses and Schools
Children’s Behaviour During An Emergency
Your Pet’s Behaviour During An Emergency
Equipment List for Your Family Members
Equipment List for Your Pets
Disaster Relief Checklist/Special Disaster Relief Kit For Your Pets
Animal Emergency Alert Decal
HSC Animal First Aid Kit
Pet Emergency Alert Wallet Card
Your Will
Guardian Angels for Animals
Selecting Your Protected Space
Routine Maintenance of Your Protective Space
Operation of The Health Care System During An Emergency
Protective Suits
HEPA Filter Machine in Your Home
NBC (Nuclear, Biological, Chemical) Filter Machine In Your Protective Space
NBC Filter Gas Masks
Pet Protective Shelter
In the Event of A Terrorist Attack
While You Are In the Protected Space
Biological Terror Attack
Chemical Terror Attack
Explosions
Nuclear Blast and Radiation
Conclusions


 

The Threat of Terrorism

Terrorists are working to obtain chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) weapons and we believe that the threat of an attack is very real. While there is no way to predict precisely what may or may not happen, we do know that there are a number of practical steps you can take to protect your family members and your pets.

At a Health Canada conference in Ottawa, two years before the September 11 attacks, a scathing report detailing Canada’s level of preparedness for a bioterrorism attack concluded, "Canada is ill-equipped." A year earlier in 1999, the Canadian Security Intelligence Agency said it’s not a matter of if a bioterrorism attack will occur, but when.

Defence Research and Development allotted more than CAD $60 million in funding for anti-terrorist research projects, such as expanding the use of a Canada-made antidote used to protect against nerve agents, and finding ways to detect and combat nuclear, chemical, biological and radiation terrorist attacks. In February of 2003, Dr. Ron St. John, director-general of Health Canada’s Centre for Emergency Preparedness and Response, announced that enough smallpox vaccines are being stockpiled to vaccinate the entire Canadian population (Are We Prepared for A Bioterror Attack? Toronto Star 5th April 2003).

However, smallpox is just one of the many methods which could be used by terrorists.

What considerations have been made in terms of funding for emergency preparedness and response procedures overall?

Health Canada released a statement entitled Responding to CBRN Threats: A Federal Perspective, which says that the 2001 budget set aside CAD $7.7 billion for public safety and security, one of the Government of Canada’s top priorities.

However, the document goes on to say that only CAD $500 million was allocated to strengthen Canada’s preparedness to prevent and respond to chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) threats; this includes funding for equipment and training for rescue workers. Because the consequences of a CBRN incident could be severe, it is critical that we be prepared.

With a population of 30 million people, in addition to whatever existing services are in place to handle disasters, this additional CAD $500 million means the federal government has decided that spending CAD $16.66 for every man, woman and child is sufficient preparation for a terrorist attack. Hopefully the government’s views have changed since the tragic events and aftermath of 9/11 - however we could find no written document to support such a change in thinking and preparedness.

The Health Canada document concludes: .."There is no specific threat of a CBRN attack against Canada and the overall threat continues to be assessed as low"..

The Humane Society of Canada does not share such an optimistic and very dangerous point of view.

We are deeply concerned that because of the ongoing global war against terror, the threat of terrorist actions is very real, and that many Canadians are not prepared to care for their families in the event of such an emergency. And certainly no one wants to protect their family and watch their pets die.

We believe that Canadians are fooling themselves if they cling to the notion that terrorists will distinguish between us, Americans, the British or other nations involved in the war on terror. The deaths of Canadians at the hands of terrorists show us this is dangerous and wishful thinking. Terrorism is not an American problem. This is everyone’s problem. And while we can hope for the best, we need to plan for the worst.


Legal Information

In an emergency, you will need to move quickly and with confidence in order to protect your family members and your pets. The information in this report is being provided as a public service to educate and inform people about ways in which they might protect themselves and their pets in the event of a terrorist attack. These steps will also help you protect those you love in the event of an unexpected natural or manmade disaster.

The information contained this briefing was current at the time of publication. Readers are cautioned against making decisions based upon this material alone. Every situation will be different and it is impossible to cover all the potential terrorist threats.

The Humane Society of Canada is a registered charity and accepts no liability for any use or application of the information contained in this report. In all cases, you should consult with and follow the directions of health care professionals and emergency services personnel.

For more than 30 years, the staff of The Humane Society of Canada have worked here in Canada and in over 85 countries helping people, animals and nature. In 1991, The Humane Society of Canada’s Executive Director, Michael O'Sullivan worked in war torn Kuwait and Iraq to help animals, the forgotten victims caught up in the middle of somebody else’s war.

The information in this report is compiled from a number of sources including the personal experiences of our staff in disaster and war zones like Iraq, Kuwait, Israel, Angola, Mozambique, Colombia and Nicaragua. And from information readily available from the United States Office of Homeland Security, the Israeli Home Command, the United Kingdom Home Office and the tragic experiences and the aftermath of September 11th.


What You Can Do To Fight Terrorism

While we agree that the root causes of terrorism need to be addressed, your views about who is right and who is wrong will not provide any protection for your family members and pets in a terrorist attack. This is the world we live in now and whether we like it or not, we had better get used to it.

There are a number of simple things to you can do to fight terrorism:

  • Many terrorists seek to use other identities to protect themselves.
  • Do not help terrorists by leaving important documents like passports and driving licenses where they can be stolen
  • Make certain you are not funding terrorists by ensuring you keep control over your credit and debit cards and other financial instruments
  • Shred, burn or destroy any letters bearing your name and address, bank slips, bank statements and any other mail which could be used to steal your identity
  • Each month compare your cancelled cheques with your bank statements and compare your credit card slips with your credit card statements. In this way you can make certain that someone is not illegally using your identity
  • If you do not receive a monthly bank or credit card statement on time, call the company right away to make sure that someone has not stolen or redirected your mail
  • If someone asks for your for personal or financial information over the telephone or via the Internet, be very careful to check them out first before giving them your information
  • Set up a specific email account to buy goods and services online and monitor it closely and also set up a separate credit card with a preset spending limit of only $500 and use this for all Internet purchases
  • Do not donate to any charity or fundraising effort if you are unsure where the money is going
  • Know your own environment, the way you travel to work, your own community and workplace, the shops you visit, and nearby recreation centres
  • Watch for anything out of the ordinary
  • Be aware of suspicious packages you receive at home or at work, or that you see have been left in public places like airports and shopping malls
  • In public places, never accept any package from a stranger or agree to carry a package for someone else
  • Know your staff and business suppliers
  • Protect against electronic cyber attacks and data theft by computer hackers

If you see suspicious activity, or know of any terrorist activity, then you should immediately report this information to your local police. For more information on how you can do your part in the war against terror contact:


FBI
INTERPOL
CENTRe FOR EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS AND RESPONSE - public health agency of canada
US CENTRE FOR DISEASE CONTROL

To see what The Humane Society of Canada is doing please contact our toll free number 1-800-641-KIND or visit our website www.humanesociety.com and visit our special section Animals and the War on Terror.


Pets Are An Important Part of Our Family

For more than 30 years, the staff of The Humane Society of Canada has worked here in Canada and in over 85 countries helping people, animals and nature. In 1991, The Humane Society of Canada’s Executive Director, Michael O'Sullivan worked in war torn Kuwait and Iraq to help animals, the forgotten victims caught up in the middle of somebody else’s war.

The information in this report is compiled from a number of sources including the personal experiences of our staff in disaster and war zones like Iraq, Kuwait, Israel, Angola, Mozambique, Colombia and Nicaragua.

With our hard won experience we know what to expect firsthand in a battlefield or terrorist attack.

In times of disaster or emergency situations we must have a plan in place that we can quickly implement to ensure our pet’s safety and our piece of mind.

No one person or agency can help every animal suffering in a disaster. We believe the best answer is to assist local communities with planning, and when disaster strikes, to provide whatever emergency assistance we can. By working with other agencies to educate members of the public, politicians and the media about the need and importance of advance planning, we can be prepared to handle emergency situations when and where they arise. However, every individual in every community needs to stand ready to do their part.

Since most people regard their dog or cat as a part of their family, it is hardly surprising that experience has shown us time after time that people will not leave a disaster area unless there are plans in place to care for their animals. Helping animals is not only humane; it makes it easier for humane rescue workers to do their job. In times of disaster, rescue and relief groups are overwhelmed. That’s why we need to plan ahead.

As a part of this forward-looking approach, The Humane Society of Canada has developed plans and procedures to help people and their pets.

A recent study illustrates exactly what our field experience in disaster and war zones has shown us firsthand. The study asked: "Would you risk you life for your dog or your cat?" For a surprisingly large number of people, the answer is a resounding ‘yes’ according to the findings released in April 2001 by researchers at Purdue University in California. A study of responses to a 1997 emergency evacuation warning for residents in California found pet ownership was a major factor when it came to ignoring the warning.

There was a risk of flooding in California - which became a reality when a levee broke. Just fewer than 20% of the 397 households surveyed ignored the evacuation warning. The effect of pet ownership was striking, with nearly 72% of those who refused to evacuate listing themselves as pet owners. Because they believed, quite rightly, that there was no way to care for their pet, and that emergency shelters would not allow them to bring their pet with them.

The more pets a household owned, the higher the risk of evacuation failure, was the conclusion of the study, which appeared in the American Journal of Epidemiology.

Studies have shown that 6 out of 10 households have a dog, cat or a pet of some kind.

By helping people and their pets, we can complement the work of health care professionals and emergency services personnel.


Be Prepared

We are living in very troubled times, and The Humane Society of Canada believes that the best antidote to worry is preparation. While the degree to which you prepare is a personal decision for you and your family, we cannot emphasize strongly enough that you should prepare and rehearse an emergency plan to safeguard those you love.

We have tried to provide a comprehensive summary of ideas, strategies and equipment ists. The idea is not to overwhelm you with information, but to inform and educate.

For example, in the case of an equipment list, you will likely already have many of the items scattered in different places around your home. Making a checklist and organizing them so that they are altogether in one place may only take less than an hour.

We also appreciate that people may be on a tight budget, and that purchasing some of the equipment we have suggested may not be possible at this time. Please do not be discouraged or alarmed by this, and even more importantly use it as a reason to put off preparing for an emergency. Instead, take whatever steps you can to plan ahead to protect you, your family and your pets.

It is simply unrealistic to depend solely on government agencies to try and help you and those you love in the event of a disaster. For example, we are learning a hard lesson from the current outbreak of SARS (Specific Acute Respiratory System), which demonstrates how easily the medical support system can be strained and even overwhelmed in the event of an unexpected emergency.

Find a place where your family and your pets will be welcome before disaster strikes. Many human relief shelters will not accept animals. Plan ahead by making arrangements with friends, family, a kennel, a stable, a vet or a motel/hotel outside of your area that will take care of your animal or where you can stay with your animal. Make sure you have a way of reaching them in an emergency 24 hours a day. Because the safest place for your animal is with you or with someone you trust. Make sure that your animal is wearing his/her identification at all times.

If you do take your animals with you, please leave a note on the door of your home indicating this and/or immediately notify rescue workers. The reason for doing this is so that they can bypass your house, do their jobs more effectively and can avoid placing their lives at unnecessary risk.

In general terms, to whatever degree is practical:

  • Be as self sufficient as humanly possible
  • Do not rely just on government agencies to protect your family and your pets in the event of a terrorist attack
  • Follow the advice and directions of health care professionals and emergency services personnel

Dealing With A State of Emergency

A terrorist attack is intended to inflict death, suffering and maximum psychological damage. It causes great uncertainty, disrupts people’s personal and daily business routine, disrupts the economy and creates a very real climate of fear that more attacks will follow.

The physical and psychological trauma runs the gamut from emotional outbursts, stress and fear to loss of appetite and may trigger asthma or heart attacks.

The best and indeed, the only way to handle such adversity is to be prepared for it to whatever degree is humanly practical. The more we can feel confident about protecting our loved ones and pets, the better able we are to deal with an emergency when and wherever it arises.

  • Prepare a family emergency plan and be familiar with the various emergency situations and their associated dangers and responses
  • Conduct emergency drills with all the members of your family
  • Depending on the nature and severity of the attack, you need to be able to plan ahead to decide whether or not you should stay in your home or leave
  • If you have to leave, always bring your pets with you
  • Use common sense and available information to make the decision to stay or go
  • Every family member should learn how and when to turn off your water, gas and electricity including the location of the shut off valves and switches and keep the necessary tools next to them (if you do turn off your gas, a professional must turn it back on, do not attempt to do this yourself)
  • Be familiar with all aspects of your human and pet emergency kits and practice giving first aid to your family members and your pets
  • Injuries for which you may have to provide first aid for your family or your pets could include bleeding, burns, broken bones and respiratory distress
  • Talk things over openly with your family
  • Talk to your children and listen to their feelings, providing them with direct answers using language they are familiar with and encourage them to talk with other children
  • Remember that your children will take their lead from the way you behave in an emergency because they look to you for leadership, guidance, comfort and warmth
  • If there are elderly or disabled people in your neighbourhood, please include them as a part of your community and/or family emergency plan
  • Maintain your personal protected space and ensure that it is well stocked with non-perishable items and bottled water
  • Maintain the personal protective equipment, personal knapsack, and pet emergency kit for each member of your family and your pets (you should have one for each member of your family and each of your pets and you may wish to store a spare kit in the trunk of your car, at work, at school or at the daycare centre)
  • Make certain that in the event of a terrorist attack that each member of the family knows where they should meet up at the earliest and safest possible opportunity and that each person has a complete of phone numbers for each family member, friend or relative
  • In the event of an emergency, family members may not all be at home and you need to plan ahead for this contingency
  • Consider a plan where each family member calls or e mails the same friend or relative in the event of an emergency
  • Since most terrorist attacks take place in urban centres to inflict maximum damage, it is wise to have alternate rendezvous points established outside the city
  • Choose several destinations in different directions to keep your options open in case of an emergency and know the locations of gas stations in your neighbourhood, along these routes and at your final destination points
  • Always keep a full tank of gas in your car
  • If you do not have a car, plan how you will leave if you have to leave your home or community
  • Take your personal emergency kit and your pet emergency kit and lock the door of your home behind you

Businesses and Schools

  • Make sure there is a workplace building evacuation plan in place that incorporates the practices, procedures and equipment lists found throughout this report
  • Assign one person and an alternate to be responsible for reviewing and practicing routine and unannounced emergency drills
  • Keep a list of all employees with their full contact information and in the event of an attack conduct a roll call before leaving your office and once you enter your Protected Space
  • Call family members to let them know where you are and that you are in a Protected Space at your business or school
  • Take a critical look at heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems to provide maximum protection for a safe Protected Space and avoid an area which contains mechanical equipment like heaters, boilers or air conditioners because it may be difficult or impossible to close off the external air intake/outlet mechanisms
  • Back up computer data frequently each day and route a copy electronically to be securely stored off site and also bring another copy with you
  • Know the location of water, electric and gas shut offs
  • Have a plan to that includes providing for your employees if they cannot go home or leave the area
  • Ensure you have sufficient supplies on hand for each person
  • Provide backup offsite for your computer records and paper records to whatever degree is practical
  • Keep a spare emergency individual kit at work or in the trunk of your car
  • In the event of an attack, turn on call forwarding our voice mail message systems containing information about the status of your business or school and when you expect to re-open
  • If people bring their pets to work, or if there are pets being kept at the school, then also refer to Equipment List for Your Pets and Pet Protective Shelter

Children’s Behaviour During An Emergency

Ages 0 - 2 includes babies who cannot talk or express their feelings well, while at the same time they can pick up on stress around them. They may be more irritable, cry more and demand to be held - stresses, which are best handled with love and care.

Ages 3 - 5 include children who may feel overwhelmed, insecure and who are very sensitive to the behaviour of other family members. This may cause bedwetting, fear of the dark, sounds and smells, nightmares, loss of appetite, stuttering, crying and general confusion - stresses which are best handled by offering love and care, and by trying to distract them with drawings, games and music.

Ages 6 - 11 includes children who are capable of understanding the meaning of loss, and they may display both real and imagined fear and anxiety, and may become irritable, more dependent than usual, want to avoid school or friends, have headaches and so forth - stresses which are best handled by offering patience, love and care, and by playing games with family and friends, maintaining a daily routine, involving them in the family emergency plan and giving them a role to play.

Ages 12 - 14 includes teenagers who place a great deal of importance on the way in which their friends react, and they may having trouble sleeping, lose their appetite, become more rebellious at home and in school, develop physical pains and so forth - stresses best handled by love and care and by encouraging them to be socially active with their friends, give them a daily routine with responsibilities but be flexible in what to expect, and give them a role to play in the emergency family plan.

Ages 15 - 18 includes teenagers with a fear of injury to themselves and their family; at times their need for family conflicts with their need for independence, and some teenagers may find it difficult to express themselves in front of adults, they may have headaches, depression, apathy, loss of focus, risk taking and so forth -- stresses best handled by love and care and by encouraging them to be socially active with their friends, give them a daily routine with responsibilities but be flexible in what to expect, and give them a role to play in the emergency family plan.

If unusual behaviour continues to persist either before or after a terrorist attack, please consult your physician for advice.


Your Pet’s Behaviour During An Emergency

Like other members of your family, your pet will display a wide range of emotional and physical reactions to the stress of a terror attack. They may include looking for more attention than usual, which can result in excessive barking, howling, crying, urination, defecation or irritability. Like children, your pet will also be very sensitive to your mood and behaviour, so try to provide your pet with calm reassurance. If he/she wishes to sleep, then let them do so. Set aside an area of your protected space where your pet can relieve themselves on newspaper or pads available from your local pet store. If unusual behaviour continues to persist either before or after a terrorist attack, please consult your veterinarian for advice.


Equipment List for Your Family Members

We have tried to provide a comprehensive summary of ideas, strategies and equipment lists. The idea is not to overwhelm you with information, but to inform and educate.

For example, in the case of an equipment list, you will likely already have many of the items scattered in different places around your home. Making a checklist and organizing them so that they are altogether in one place may only take less than an hour.

We also appreciate that people may be on a tight budget, and that purchasing some of the equipment we have suggested may not be possible at this time. Please do not be discouraged or alarmed by this, and even more importantly use it as a reason to put off preparing for an emergency. Instead, take whatever steps you can to plan ahead to protect you, your family and your pets.

  • Information on your pets can be found at Equipment List for Your Pets and Pet Protective Shelter
  • Coins and prepaid phone cards and cell phone
  • Also if possible an outlet for your usual land line telephone (some terrorist attacks may disrupt or overwhelm cell telephone networks; see Protective Space)
  • Have phone numbers of your family, local police, rescue personnel, doctors, hospitals and others handy for your own use and so people can call if you are ill or injured
  • Have cash on hand because ATM (automatic teller machines) may be out of service
  • Keep your Will, Guardian Angels for Animals, Power of Attorney, Living Will and other important family documents in a waterproof plastic container
  • A new gas mask with an NBC filter for each member of your family (see Gas Masks). NBC stands for Nuclear, Biological and Chemical and these gas masks are in very short supply at the moment
  • Do not buy an old Army surplus gas mask at a store or via the Internet as these will not provide you with the same level of protection as a new NBC filter gas mask
  • In the event you cannot obtain a gas mask (see Gas Masks) obtain high quality filter masks from your local hardware store (these will only filter out particles and dust, but at least it is a barrier between your mouth, nose and lungs and the outside air)
  • If you cannot obtain a high quality filter mask, then use three layers of cotton shirts, handkerchiefs or towels (these will only filter out particles and dust, but at least it is a barrier between your mouth, nose and lungs and the outside air
  • Well equipped human first aid kit (should also include a thermometer, see more on Biological Terror Attack and potassium iodide, see more on Nuclear Blast and Radiation
  • Medicine to induce vomiting if advised by Poison Control Centre and activated charcoal to use if advised by Poison Control Centre
  • Laxative, antacid, anti-diarrhoea medication and other general medications
  • Prescription medications (such as heart medicine, asthma inhalers)
  • Medicines (Tylenol, Benadryl and other over the counter medicines)
  • Prescription and general medications for your pets
  • Remember the special needs of family members such as infants, the elderly and those with disabilities
  • Denture needs
  • Contact lenses and supplies
  • Eyeglasses
  • Wear medical alert tags or bracelets
  • Hearing aid batteries;
  • Extra wheelchairs, walkers, canes, oxygen supplies
  • List of the model, make and serial numbers of medical devices like pacemakers
  • Have at least one complete change of warm clothing, a jacket or coat, long pants, a long sleeve shirt, sturdy shoes, a hat and gloves, and a sleeping bag or a warm blanket for each person
  • Tools (compass, signal flare, whistle, paper and pencil, medicine dropper, shut off wrench to turn off household gas and water)
  • Toiletries (toothbrush/paste/floss, feminine supplies, wet wipes, toilet paper, antibacterial soap)
  • Household chlorine bleach (can be used as a disinfectant diluted nine parts water to one part bleach, or in an emergency to purify water by using 16 drops of regular household liquid bleach to four litres of water (do not use scented, colour safe or bleaches with added cleaners)
  • Spare plastic storage containers of various sizes
  • Plastic bucket with a tight lid (if you don’t have a chemical toilet and for pet waste)
  • Drinking water container with at least four litres of water and/or the equivalent in bottled water per person per day (include a three day supply for each person) and per pet
  • Small fire extinguisher
  • Portable flashlight
  • Portable radio
  • Portable TV
  • Electric or battery operated fan for use only inside your Protected Space
  • Spare batteries for all equipment (i.e. flashlight, portable radio/TV, gas mask blowers, cell phone, etc.)
  • Generator (only it is placed outside your home in a well ventilated area and then hooked up to essential electrically powered items inside your Protected Space)
  • Firewood (because this will necessitate opening your fireplace damper, only build a fire in a well ventilated area outside of your Protected Space once you have received an all clear signal from health authorities that the danger from the attack is over. Only build a fire as a source of heat to replace your normal energy supply which has been disrupted; see Protected Space
  • Bucket and plastic bags for garbage
  • Newspapers, books, toys and games for children, toys for pets
  • Personal knapsack for each member of your family (should include personal documents, credit cards, inoculation card, health records, medicines, a change of clothes, socks and shoes, and a small amount of bottled water and packaged food, and toys for children and pets)
  • Chemical toilet (unless you have access to your regular toilet; see Protective Space
  • Packaged food (raisins and other dried fruit, ready to eat canned meats, fruits and vegetables, nuts, vitamins, high energy foods, digestive aids, granola bars, crackers, peanut butter, honey, food for infants and pets and other foods of choice that require no refrigeration, preparation or cooking and little or no water and remember to include a manual can opener, food)
  • Duct tape, heavy gauge plastic sheeting, and scissors
  • Paper towels and plastic dishes/cups/utensils
  • Cameras, film, videotape, batteries

Equipment List for Your Pets

  • One week’s supply of animal food, water and bowls
  • Humane Society of Canada Animal First Aid Kit or other first aid kit
  • Prescription and general medicines for your pets
  • Extra leash, harness or halter
  • Roll of nylon cord or strong twine
  • Extra identification tags (ones that you can write on)
  • Strong multipurpose tool (combination screw driver, pliers, knife, can opener, etc)
  • Waterproof flashlight and batteries
  • Portable carrier for cats and small dogs
  • Roll of duct tape
  • Waterproof marker/pen and paper
  • Health records
  • Waterproof blanket
  • Small tarp or waterproof cover
  • Small portable radio and batteries
  • Recent photos of your pet
  • Protective gloves
  • Waterproof matches or lighter
  • Chew bone, catnip toys and other toys & treats
  • Plastic bucket with a tight lid for pet wastes

 

 

Selecting Your Protected Space

  • The room should be large enough for all family members at least 5 square metres
  • Preferably choose an inside room, with as few outside walls as possible, and if possible only one door and one window
  • A bedroom with an en suite bathroom is one suggested space
  • If possible, choose a room that is located as high up as possible because in a chemical terror attack, some chemical agents are heavier than air, making a lower floor room or basement more dangerous (in the event of a nuclear or bomb attack, a lower floor room or basement may be safer)
  • Do not choose a room with large glass windows which are liable to shatter or crack as a result of a blast
  • Clean the window thoroughly and fit a plastic sheet over it and use duct tape to hold it in place; or using clear wide cellotape, tape the window over using thick vertical overlapping strips to protect your family from any flying glass
  • Also close the blinds, window shade and any outdoor window shutters
  • Have a spare piece of plywood available sized to fit the window if it becomes broken or cracked along with hammer and nails
  • The room should have wall sockets for a radio, TV, cell phone, your regular land line phone and fan
  • If possible have an outlet for your usual land line telephone with a cell phone as a backup because some terrorist attacks may disrupt or overwhelm cell telephone networks
  • Any electric or battery operated fan is for use only inside your Protective Space
  • A generator should only be used by placing it outside your home in a well ventilated area and then hooked up to essential electrically powered items inside your Protective Space
  • Using firewood means you will have to open your fireplace damper and therefore only build a fire in a well ventilated area outside of your Protected Space and only if you have first received an all call clear signal from health authorities that the danger from the attack is over; and then only build a fire as a source of heat to replace your normal energy supply which has been disrupted
  • A chemical toilet is only necessary if you do not have access to a regular toilet located inside your Protective Space
  • Provided that you do not have any chemical cleaning agent attached to your regular toilet, the water inside the toilet tank (not the toilet bowl) can be used for drinking purposes
  • Chances are that you will only be in this Protected Space for less than 6 hours or until given direction by emergency services personnel so it is unlikely that you will run out of oxygen

Routine Maintenance of Your Protected Space

  • Avoid using your protected space for routine storage
  • Remove all flammable materials
  • Turn off the light inside the protected space and identify any cracks or breaks in the door and/or window seals and/or the walls and repair them
  • Check that any light fixture and wall sockets are firmly anchored and in good working order
  • Check that the chemical toilet is in working order
  • Stock with food and other supplies
  • Set aside a sitting/sleeping area with a mattress or cushions
  • Set aside an area for your pet to sleep and relieve him/herself
  • Do not place any heavy objects (e.g. a TV set) on a high shelf where they could fall
  • Ensure that the area is kept neat and orderly - this will be your family’s safe haven in the event of an attack

Operation of The Health Care System During An Emergency

It is simply unrealistic to depend solely on government agencies to try and help you and those you love in the event of a disaster. For example, we are learning a hard lesson from the current outbreak of SARS (Specific Acute Respiratory System), which demonstrates how easily the medical support system can be strained and even overwhelmed in the event of an unexpected emergency. To whatever degree is practical, you need to try and be as self sufficient as possible:

  • Know the location of your nearest hospital, and practice driving to the hospital using two different routes
  • Have phone numbers of your family, local police, rescue personnel, doctors, hospitals etc handy, pet emergency card and who to call if you are ill or injured
  • Listen closely to information provided via radio or TV by emergency services personnel
  • Although emergency plans are in place, the health care system will be strained or even overwhelmed depending on the severity of the attack, the type of attack and the number and ages/medical condition of those affected
  • Likely some obstetrics wards may be closed and people will be directed to designated centres
  • Some small clinics or independent doctors may be incorporated into larger clinics
  • Surgeries will be reduced
  • Government agricultural agencies will be focused primarily on the health of livestock and poultry
  • While there is no such infrastructure established by veterinarians to care for pets, you may be able to stay in touch with your veterinarian
  • Government environmental agencies will be focused primarily on water, air and soil contamination, cleanup and quality
  • The Humane Society of Canada will do whatever we can to maintain contact with government agencies, veterinarians, human health care professionals, emergency services personnel and animal protection organizations and we are working to establish and maintain an emergency network of professionals for animals

Protective Suits

While it is a personal decision to determine whether or not to obtain and wear a protective suit, because they are bulky and the person becomes hot very quickly, you should carefully research this before making any such purchase. At present, the suits are very difficult to find. Although you may purchase them if you wish, normally these protective suits are necessary only for soldiers, journalists, The Humane Society of Canada animal rescue staff, police, and emergency services personnel.

HEPA Filter Machine in Your Home

You may wish to consider purchasing a portable air purifier with a HEPA filter, which will help remove contaminants from your protective space. These high efficient filters capture very tiny particles including some biological agents.

NBC (Nuclear, Biological, Chemical) Filter Machine In Your Protected Space

Some people may choose to install a special NBC filter machine in their protected space similar to those found in Israeli homes. The main components are the battery operated electric pump, the NBC filter itself, and the air intake and exhaust valves.

The electric pump draws air from the outside, which passes through the filter and then enters the protected space. The pump designed to supply 6 cubic metres of air per hour per person in the filter state. In case of power failure, the unit is backed up by manual operation, or independent generator/battery supply.

NBC (Nuclear, Biological, Chemical) Filter Gas Masks

The role of the NBC filter is to screen out nuclear, biological and chemical warfare agents. The active charcoal inside the filter is intended to separate the poisonous gas from the air, and the absolute filter is intended to stop bacteria. Factors that impact on the filter’s effectiveness include the total quantity of air passing through it, the concentration of poisonous gas, and the relative humidity of the outside air. The absorption of humidity by the filter reduces its quality and effectiveness over time, and therefore you should not open the filter except in an emergency.

A gas mask with a blower is for people for whom the regular mask is not suitable for medical reasons and for those with beards. The blower feeds in air from the outside, which passes through the filter to the space inside the mask and then from there to the family member’s mouth, nose and lungs. The clean air fills the mask and creates pressure, which prevents the entry of contaminated air from the outside into the internal space.

A protective hood is intended for children aged 3 - 8 and protects the head and nose, mouth and lungs. It is easy to wear and provides all around vision. The blower feeds air in from outside, which passes through the filter to the space inside the hood and from there to the family members nose, mouth and lungs. The clean air fills the hood and creates pressure, which prevents the entry of contaminated air from the outside into the internal space.

The babysitter kit is intended for ages 0 - 3 and protects the child’s head, neck and shoulders and lungs and allows easy care of the baby. The blower feeds air in from outside, which passes through the filter to the space inside the hood and from there to the family members nose, mouth and lungs. The clean air fills the hood and creates pressure,which prevents the entry of contaminated air from the outside into the internal space.

Do not buy an old Army surplus gas mask at a store or via the Internet, as these will not provide you with the same level of protection as a new NBC filter gas mask. The superior NBC filter gas masks are in very short supply at the moment.

In the event you cannot obtain a gas mask obtain high quality filter masks from your local hardware store (these will only filter out particles and dust, but at least it is a barrier between your mouth, nose and lungs and the outside air).

If you cannot obtain a high quality filter mask, then use three layers of cotton shirts, handkerchiefs or towels. These will only filter out particles and dust, but at least it is a barrier between your mouth, nose and lungs and the outside air


Pet Protective Shelter

The Pet Protective Shelter is intended to provide a safe haven for your pet in the event of an attack. This self-contained shelter consists of a portable pet kennel, which is enclosed by a clear protective envelope with its own filter system, which is powered by a battery-operated fan.

In the event of an emergency, examine the protective envelope to ensure that there are no rips or tears - and if you find any, seal them on the outer and inner services with duct tape or other sealing material. Then activate the battery-powered fan and ensure that there is a steady flow of air into and out of the protective shelter. Open the protective envelope, and place your pet inside the portable pet kennel, with a small amount of water and a toy. Close the door to the portable pet kennel and then seal the opening to the protective envelope.

To ensure the welfare of your pet and that he/she is receiving an adequate supply of air, closely monitor your pet through the clear protective envelope and check to ensure that the battery operated fan is working properly. Except for very brief periods of time, do not leave your pet unattended while he/she is in the protective shelter.

The Humane Society of Canada is working to obtain a number of these Pet Protective Shelters to make them available to pet owners.

(Some pets adapt more readily than others to being placed inside a portable pet kennel. For this reason it is a good idea to get your pet used to being inside his/her kennel before disaster strikes. Place the kennel in your pet’s favourite area in the home, with a small amount of water and a toy inside and leave the kennel door open. Most pets will become curious and will eventually go inside as they become more familiar and comfortable with the kennel.

We advise you to obtain a second kennel for this purpose, and also for use in traveling back and forth to your veterinarian. Do not use the portable pet kennel that is a part of the Pet Protective Shelter, as this is an integral part of the overall system - and in the event of an emergency, you will not have time to try and insert the portable pet kennel into the protective envelope).


In The Event of A Terror Attack

  • Bring your family and pets inside
  • Listen to emergency TV and radio broadcasts for up to date information from emergency services
  • Turn off stoves, heaters, air conditioners, water and gas taps
  • Close and lock all windows and doors leading to the outside
  • Close your fireplace damper
  • With all of your family members and pets go into the Protected Space in your home and bring your protective kit and knapsack which you have prepared in advance for each member of your family
  • After everyone is inside, complete the insulation of the protected space by using duct tape and plastic sheeting to cover the joins between the door and door frame, between the door frame and the wall, and similarly with any windows and lay a cloth soaked in water along the bottom of the door
  • In the event you cannot obtain a gas mask (see NBC Filter Gas Masks) obtain high quality filter masks from your local hardware store (these will only filter out particles and dust, but at least it is a barrier between your mouth, nose and lungs and the outside air)
  • If you cannot obtain a high quality filter mask, then use three layers of cotton shirts, handkerchiefs or towels (these will only filter out particles and dust, but at least it is a barrier between your mouth, nose and lungs and the outside air
  • For gas masks with blowers, protective hood kits and baby kits, you must make certain that the blower is operating properly; and for those masks without blowers, make certain that the cover is taken off the filter, that the seal is fitted and follow all instructions that accompany the use of the masks
  • If an attack takes place and you are not at home, put on your gas mask and take shelter inside as quickly as possible
  • If you are driving in your car, stop at the side of the road, turn off the engine, set your parking brake, close all of the windows, ventilation louvers, and doors, and then put on the gas mask
  • If the attack impacts on the physical stability of the roadway, avoid overpasses, bridges, power lines, large overhead signs and other hazards
  • If a power line falls on your car, stay inside until a trained person removes the wire
  • If you are in a high-rise building, know where the nearest exist is and be sure you know where all other exists are in case your first choice is blocked
  • Take cover under a desk or table if things are falling
  • Move away from file cabinets; bookshelves or other things that might fall
  • Face away from windows and glass
  • Do not use elevators
  • When going down stairwells stay to the right, to allow emergency workers to come up the stairs

While You Are In the Protected Space

  • Try and keep you family and pets as calm as possible under the circumstances
  • If your child objects to using a gas mask, try to calm him/her
  • Try and occupy your family members by reading stories, playing games, drawing, listening to the radio and watching television
  • People who suffer from asthma can use a gas mask, but should use a medical inhaler before putting on the mask, should remain as quiet as possible, and in the event of an asthma attack, remove the mask for a few seconds in order to take the medication
  • If a family member should vomit into the gas mask, remove the device and filter, clean with a damp cloth, replace the filter and put the mask back on again
  • If there is an immediate need to take a dose of other medicine, remove the mask for several seconds, take the medicine, and put the mask back on
  • Eye glasses should not be worn inside the gas mask because this may interfere with the seal, however they can be worn outside the gas mask (contact lenses can be worn with the mask only if they do not irritate the eyes, because such irritation could case a family member to remove the gas mask during the attack)
  • Sit as low as possible on the floor on a mattress or cushions
  • Stay close to an inside wide that is at right angles to an outside wall, as far away as you can from an outside wall and any windows
  • It is recommended that you do not heat the room, use air conditioners or central air conditioning units
  • Make certain that each member of your family stays awake while wearing the gas masks
  • Do not strike a match or smoke in the protected space
  • Keep the protected space in good order, make certain that the duct tape has not come loose
  • Only leave your protected space and remove your gas mask after receiving explicit instructions to do so by emergency services personnel via radio or TV

Biological Terror Attack

A biological attack is the deliberate release of germs or other biological substances that can make you sick. Many must be inhaled, enter through a cut in the skin or eaten to make you sick. Some bioagents like anthrax do not cause contagious diseases. Others, like smallpox, can result in diseases you can catch from other people.

Typical bioweapons include anthrax, smallpox, plague, tularaemia, botulism and certain viruses that cause viral hemorrhagic fevers.

Unlike a bomb blast, a bioattack may not be immediately obvious. It is more likely that health care professionals may report a pattern of unusual illness from a wave of people seeking medical attention. In the event of such an attack, watch the emergency broadcasts on radio, TV or the Internet for new information and directions as it becomes available.

The bioweapons, which could be used in a terror attack, are familiar to the medical services and hospital networks and they will have to make a diagnosis and distribute medical treatment in the event of an emergency.

Cover your mouth and nose with a gas mask, T-shirt or whatever fabric you have on hand.

While antibiotics are used to treat diseases associated with a bioattack, the specific drug must be used to treat the specific illness (for example a drug for treating anthrax may not be suitable for treating plague). All antibiotics can cause serious reactions and side affects and should be administered by a health care professional.

Use these common sense steps to help prevent the spread of disease:

  • If you or your family develop symptoms which may at first appear to be a common illness, do not take any chances, contact your health care professional immediately
  • Wash your hands with soap and water frequently
  • Stay away from crowds where others may be infected
  • Wear a face mask or cloth around your mouth and nose to reduce spreading or picking up germs
  • If you do not, cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing
  • Do not share food or utensils

If a family member develops any of the following symptoms, keep them separated from others if possible, practice good hygiene and cleanliness to control the spread of germs and seek medical advice:

Symptoms:

  • Temperature of over 37.8 degrees C or 100 degrees F
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Stomach ache
  • Pale or flushed face
  • Head ache
  • Cough
  • Ear ache
  • Thick discharge from nose
  • Sore throat
  • Rash or infection of the skin
  • Red or pink eyes
  • Loss of appetite
  • Loss of energy or decreases in activity

The drug, Baytril, may be useful in treating your dog if he/she becomes affected by anthrax, but you must consult your veterinarian as soon as possible for his/her advice.


Chemical Terror Attack

Typical chemical weapons could include mustard, sarin, and chlorine.

Chemical agents include toxic gas, liquids or solids, which attack the body through inhalation, by swallowing and through the mucous membranes in the nose and the eyes.

Symptoms:

  • Many people suffering from watery eyes, twitching, choking, having trouble breathing or losing coordination
  • Many sick or dead birds, fish or small animals are also cause for suspicion

If you see signs of a Chemical Attack:

  • Quickly determine the affected area and where the chemical is coming from
  • Take immediate action and get away
  • If the chemical is inside a building where you are, if possible, get out without passing through the contaminated area - otherwise it may be better to stay in place
  • Contact the authorities

If you think you have been exposed to a chemical:

If your eyes are watering, your skin is stinging, and you are having trouble breathing, you may have been exposed to a chemical

  • If you think you have been exposed to a chemical, stop immediately and wash
  • Look for a hose, fountain or any other source of water and wash with soap if possible, and while doing so, being careful to remove the chemical but make sure not to scrub the chemical further into your skin
  • Seek immediate emergency medical attention

A chemical counteragent known as atropine will counteract the effects of some gases; however at present, this is a drug that is administered only by a physician. Benadryl, an over the counter medicine, contains a similar compound.


Explosions

If there is an explosion:

 

  • Take shelter against your desk or a sturdy table
  • Exit the building as soon as possible
  • Do not use elevators
  • Check for fire and other hazards
  • Take your emergency supply kit if time allows

If there is a fire:

  • Exit the building as soon as possible
  • Crawl low if there is smoke
  • Use a wet cloth, if possible, to cover your nose and mouth
  • In order to determine if there is a fire outside your door, use the back of your hand to feel the upper, lower and middle parts of close doors
  • If the door is not hot, brace yourself against it and open slowly
  • If the door is hot, do not open it, look for another way out (the door is the only barrier between you and the fire)
  • Do not use elevators
  • If you catch fire, do not run, stop-drop-and-roll to put out the flames
  • If you are at home, go to a previously designated meeting place
  • Account for family members and supervise children and pets
  • Never go back into a burning building

If you are trapped in debris:

  • If possible use a flashlight, whistle or cell phone to signal your location to rescuers
  • Avoid unnecessary movement so that you do not kick up dust
  • Cover your nose and mouth with anything you have like a shirt to ask as a filter
  • Tap on a pipe or a wall so that rescuers can hear you
  • If possible use a whistle
  • Shout only as a last resort because shouting can cause you to inhale dangerous amounts of dust

Nuclear Blast and Radiation

A nuclear blast is an explosion with intense release of light and heat, a damaging pressure wave and widespread radioactive material that can contaminate the air, water, and soil for a wide area. This could come from a so called "suitcase bomb", a "dirty bomb", or from a terrorist strike on a nuclear power facility or during an in transit shipment of nuclear material.

If there is a nuclear blast take these common sense steps to try and protect yourself and your family:

  • Take cover immediately, below ground if possible, although any shield or shelter will help protect you from the immediate effects of the blast and pressure wave
  • Quickly assess the situation
  • Consider if you can get out of the building or if it is better to stay in place
  • In order to limit the amount of exposure to radiation remember to use whatever you can for shielding, to get out of the area as soon as possible and minimize the amount of time you are near the fallout area
  • Use available information to assess the situation
  • Health care authorities may advise you to take potassium iodide which is the same stuff added to your table salt to make it iodized (it may or may not provide a measure of protection to your thyroid gland which is very vulnerable to radiation)

Conclusions

  • All of the steps you take to protect those you love can be used in the event of a terrorist attack, natural or manmade disaster
  • Be prepared
  • Hope for the best, plan for the worst
  • Be alert
  • Do your part in the fight against terrorism
  • Be as self sufficient as humanly possible
  • Do not rely just on government agencies to protect your family and your pets in the event of a terrorist attack. For example, we are learning a hard lesson from the current outbreak of SARS (Specific Acute Respiratory System), which demonstrates how easily the medical support system can be strained and even overwhelmed in the event of an unexpected emergency.
  • Follow the advice and directions of health care professional and emergency services personnel