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PRCIL offers tips on terrorism preparedness

PALESTINE, September 13, 2013-- Earthquakes, floods, and wildfires are frightening experiences for most of us.  Fear is a natural human reaction to natural disasters and other events that hit suddenly and seem to threaten our safety, our loved ones, and our daily lives.  Terrorists use this natural reaction to multiply the effect of their actions in order to advance their political or social goals.  Like bullies in the schoolyard, terrorists want to intimidate and frighten others to get their own way.

Until recently, many Americans believed that terrorism only affected other countries.  Now we know it can happen here, but we do not know where or when.  Much of the fear caused by terrorism, or the threat of it, is based on this uncertainty; not knowing whether it will hurt us or our loved ones directly, or whether it will target our own community or workplace.

Governmental officials work hard to find terrorists and to limit their ability to harm Americans.  At the same time, there is a lot that each of us can do to limit the terrorists’ ability to frighten us.  The terrorists are not in charge.  We have control over our peace of mind and can help ensure or safety by taking some of the actions that we would take to prepare for earthquakes, floods, or fires.  We can also contribute to the safety of others by becoming more aware of our surroundings and reporting suspicious activities or items to local officials.

Preparing for terrorist attacks, all starts with a family emergency plan.  These simple steps will help you maintain your sense of control and could make a big difference in your personal safety in any emergency.

Evacuation:  Whether you are at home, at work, or in a public place, think of how you could leave quickly and safely.  Locate stairways and emergency exits.  Pay attention to posted evacuation signs in buildings, and crowded public areas.

Out-of-state contact:  Think how you will get in contact with your family if you become separated.  Choose an out-of-state contact that your family members or friends can call to check on each other.

Meeting place:  Decide where you and family members will meet if the emergency affects your home or if officials have to evacuate your neighborhood.

School plans:  Learn the emergency plans at your children’s schools and make sure the school has your updated emergency contact information.  Give written permission to a trusted friend or neighbor to pick up your children from school or day care in case you cannot get there on time.

Preparation for children:  Teach your children what to do in an emergency; make sure they know their own names and addresses, as well as the full names and addresses and contact information for parents and a second adult emergency contact.

Acts of terrorism may result in little physical damage but they can bring fear, confusion, and uncertainty into every  day life.  It is important to understand that strong emotional reactions to such events are normal.  Re-establish daily routines for work, school, play, meals, and rest.  Work with the support networks within your community.

For more information, contact Palestine Resource Center for Independent Living (PRCIL) locally at 903-729-7505.

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