Terrorists often use violence and threats to create fear among the public. Their attacks can leave people with feelings of uncertainty about the future and further attacks. Fortunately there are some simple steps families can take to help protect their children.
Talk about terrorism
Spend time with your family and talk to your children about their fears of terrorists or terrorist incidents. Explain there are always good people who try to prevent terrorism and who help after an incident. Use simple words that even young children can understand.
Plan different travel routes
Develop alternative routes to and from school, work, child care and other places to which you routinely travel. Have all drivers in your household practice them.
Routinely listen to a local radio or television news station. Learn your community’s public warning system such as sirens or telephone call-down systems. Become familiar with how warning signals sound and what you should do if they are used.
Be aware of surroundings
If you see something suspicious report it to law-enforcement or security personnel immediately. Move or evacuate if you feel uncomfortable or if something doesn’t seem right. Encourage children to tell an adult if they see something unusual or suspicious.
Learn where to shelter-in-place
Choose a household room where the family could shelter-in-place for a short time. Gather and prepare the items needed to seal the room from gas or chemicals (i.e., include duct tape, plastic sheeting in your disaster supplies kit).
Learn CPR and First Aid
Being trained how to give basic medical treatment is one of the best ways to be prepared for a range of emergencies—not only terrorism. Knowing these skills could help save a child’s life.
Learn caregivers’ disaster plans
Find out how school and child care emergency plans address possible terrorist incidents. Ask about evacuation plans are and if you would be required to pick up your children from the site or from another location.
Identify evacuation routes
Learn where emergency exits are located in buildings you often go to, such as workplace, school, child care facility or community center. Plan how to get out in the event of an emergency.
Be prepared to do without services you normally depend on—electricity, telephones, natural gas, gasoline pumps, cash registers, ATMs, and Internet transactions. Pack essential supplies in a family disaster supplies kit and store in an easily accessible location.
Limit media exposure
After a terrorist incident, protect children from seeing too many sights and images of the incident, including those on the Internet, television or newspapers.