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Terrorism Preparedness


Tips for Terrorism Preparedness

In recent years, the threat of terrorism has been brought home to America, however, it is not a new threat, and you can do something about it. For years, San Mateo County has prepared for a variety of potential disasters. These techniques can help.

Get The Facts

We have extensive resources to help prevent these threats and to take care of community residents who may be victims of such an attack. Police, Fire, HazMat and Health workers are in close communication for threat management.

  • Chemical agents are poisonous gases, liquids or solids. One example is Sarin gas. These products are difficult to manufacture and to deliver in quantity.
  • Biological agents are organisms or toxins that have illness-producing effects. Anthrax is one example. Anthrax is not contagious from one person to another.
  • Nuclear agents are substances that generate harmful radiation. Nuclear devices and materials are closely monitored and difficult to obtain.

The preferred terrorist weapon of choice continues to be conventional explosives. They can be easily manufactured and transported, as we saw in the Oklahoma City bombing. Fortunately, good physical security practices and public awareness can help prevent this type of attack.

Accept Responsibility For Your Own Safety

An aware and informed public is our best defense against terrorism. We must all do our part to keep our community safe. Terrorism is a crime and crime prevention strategies work very well. These include:

  • Be aware of your surroundings. Notice where emergency exits are located. Think ahead about how to evacuate a building, subway or congested public area in a hurry.
  • Report suspicious objects, packages, vehicles or persons to the appropriate authorities.
  • Cooperate with security procedures at your place of work and in public places.
  • Take precautions when traveling. Be aware of conspicuous or unusual behavior. Do not accept packages from strangers. Do not leave luggage unattended.
  • Don’t spread rumors – confirm questionable information with a credible source.

Prepare For All Emergencies

San Mateo County may be subject to a variety of disasters, not just terrorist attack. The same preparedness measures work well for many different types of emergencies. Some key things you can do:

  • Make copies of important personal/business documents and store them in a safe place.
  • Identify an out of state contact person so family and friends can communicate with you during an emergency.
  • Develop an individual/family/business emergency plan.
  • Plan for a meeting place if you cannot meet at home
  • Discuss what children should do if at school
  • Coordinate with neighbors for pick-up if children attend the same school
  • Designate a surrogate parent for your children if you are not able to tend to them
  • Provide this information to your child’s school
  • Learn how to locate and shut-off (if necessary) power, water, and gas.
  • Stockpile emergency supplies for 3-7 days, such as food, batteries for flashlights, your regular prescription medicines and a first aid kit.
  • Know your community resources

Volunteer to Help

A successful response to an emergency requires a great deal of help. A limited number of volunteer groups have been pre-trained and are part of jurisdiction’s emergency plans. Joining one of these organizations now increases your personal preparedness and your value to the community in emergencies. Some key organizations are:

  • Auxiliary Communications Service (ACS) - Licsened Amuturer (HAM) radio operators providing vital communications links when normal communications systems are inoperative or overloaded.
    Sheriff’s Area Office of Emergency Services
    (650) 363-4790
  • American Red Cross – Disaster Action Teams (DAT), provides victim services and emergency shelter teams.
    Red Cross
    (650) 259-1750

If a Terrorist Attack Occurs

  • Remain calm and follow the instructions of emergency services personnel.
  • Be alert to secondary hazards such as falling debris or additional devices.
  • Monitor the media for emergency information and bulletins. The emergency stations are:
    • KCBS 740 AM
    • KQED 88.5 FM
    • KSJO 92 FM
    • KZST 100.1 FM

Emergency Telephone Numbers

  • Police, Fire, Ambulance: 911 or 363-4911
  • PG&E: 800-PGE-5000

How To Report An Emergency

  • Speak slowly and clearly
  • State your name
  • Describe the emergency
  • What happened?
  • Where did it happen?
  • Who is involved?
  • Stay on the phone

Suspicious Mail

  • Do not panic
  • Set it aside, do not merely discard it
  • Wash your hands with soap and water after handling mail
  • If you have a letter that contains a liquid or powder substance, Isolate it
  • Do not shake or empty contents,
  • Contact law enforcement