//Preparing for a Terrorist Bombing: A Common Sense Approach

Preparing for a Terrorist Bombing: A Common Sense Approach

Although terrorists use a variety of methods to inflict harm and create fear, bombs are used most frequently.

According to the U. S. Federal Bureau of Investigation, bombings accounted for nearly 70 percent of all terrorist attacks in the U.S. and its territories between 1980 and 2001.

This Web page focuses on common sense principles that will be useful in a bombing event.

What can I do now?

CDC and the American Red Cross encourage every organization, family and individual to take time to prepare for an emergency or disaster.

These steps can help you get started:

  • Know your work, school and community disaster plans. If you are not familiar with the plans, contact your supervisor, school administrators, or your local fire department for information.
  • Identify an alternative hospital. Hospitals closest to the event are always the busiest.
  • Visit the Family Disaster Plan webpage for guidance on creating a disaster plan and steps you can take now to protect yourself and your loved ones.

What should I do if I think someone is going to set off a bomb?

At Home

  1. Leave the area immediately
  2. Call 9-1-1. Tell the operator what you saw or know (suspicious persons, packages, or vehicles).
  3. Follow directions from people in authority (police, fire, EMS, or military personnel).

At Work

  1. Follow existing evacuation guidelines.
  2. Follow directions from people in authority (police, fire, emergency medical services (EMS), military personnel, or workplace supervisors).

At School

  1. Follow existing evacuation guidelines.
  2. Follow directions from people in authority (police, fire, EMS, military personnel, or school administrators).

In Public

  1. Leave the area immediately
  2. Call 9-1-1. Tell the operator what you saw or know (suspicious persons, packages, or vehicles).
  3. Follow directions from people in authority (police, fire, EMS, military personnel, or community leaders).

What should I do during a terrorist bombing?

If you are in a bombing event:

  • Leave the area immediately.
  • Avoid crowds. Crowds of people may be targeted for a second attack.
  • Avoid unattended cars and trucks. Unattended cars and trucks may contain explosives.
  • Stay away from damaged buildings to avoid falling glass and bricks. Move at least 10 blocks or 200 yards away from damaged buildings.
  • Follow directions from people in authority (police, fire, EMS, etc.)
  • Call 9-1-1 once you are in a safe area, but only if police, fire, or EMS has not arrived.
  • Help others who are hurt or need assistance to leave the area if you are able. If you see someone who is seriously injured, seek help. Do not try to manage the situation alone.

When the explosion is over:

  • Follow your family, job, or school emergency disaster plan for leaving and staying away from the scene of the event. Remember, returning to the scene will increase the risk of danger for rescue workers and you.
  • Listen to your radio or television for news and instructions.

What if rescue workers are not available to transport me or other injured persons?

9-1-1 services (police, fire, and EMS) might be delayed indefinitely following a terrorist event, therefore:

  • Always have a back-up plan for transportation.
  • Follow advice from your local public safety offices (local health department, local emergency management offices, fire and police departments and reliable news sources).

When should I go to the hospital or clinic?

Seek medical attention if you or someone in your care have any of the following problems:

  • Excessive bleeding
  • Trouble breathing
  • Persistent cough
  • Trouble walking or using an arm or leg
  • Stomach, back or chest pains
  • Headache
  • Blurred vision or burning eyes
  • Dry mouth
  • Vomiting or diarrhea
  • Rash or burning skin
  • Hearing problems
  • Injuries that increase in pain, redness or swelling
  • Injuries that do not improve after 24 to 48 hours

Where should I go for care?

Go to a hospital or clinic away from the event if you can. Most victims will go to the nearest hospital. Hospitals away from the event will be less busy.

What can I expect at the hospital?

  • Long waits. To avoid long waits, choose a hospital farther away from the event. While this might increase your travel time, you might receive care sooner.
  • Triage. Following a terrorist attack or other disasters, injuries are generally treated on a “worst first” basis, called “triage.” Triage is not “first come, first served”. If your injuries are not immediately life threatening, others might be treated before you. The goal of triage is to save as many lives as possible.
  • Limited information. In a large-scale emergency such as a terrorist attack, police, fire, EMS, and even hospitals and clinics cannot track every individual by name. Keep in mind that it may be difficult for hospitals to provide information about loved ones following a terrorist attack. Be patient as you seek information.

For more information about how to prepare for a terrorist bombing and other disasters, click on the related links:

  • American Red Cross, “Terrorism—Preparing for the Unexpected.” www.redcross.org.
  • Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), www.fema.gov.
  • Mass casualties and injuries from terrorism, CDC’s Emergency Preparedness and Response Website. www.bt.cdc.gov.
  • United States Department of Homeland Security, www.ready.gov.

For more information, visit www.bt.cdc.gov/masstrauma,  or call CDC at 800-CDC-INFO (English and Spanish) or 888-232-6348 (TTY).

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Contact Information

Phone:
(702) 759-1671

Updated on: May 16, 2019

2019-05-16T14:19:43-07:00