All Public Safety and Emergency Management Agencies in Michigan have been on a heightened state of alert since the terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001. This page offers the following practical guidance for preparedness efforts against terrorism.
Algonac will be testing the Emergency Sirens on the last Friday of every month at 1:00 p.m. The purpose of these tests is to ensure sirens remain in working condition in case of an actual emergency. The sirens are used for tornado and chemical emergencies. Direct any questions to the Algonac Fire Department at 794-3431.
Family Emergency Supplies Kit
If there is ever an emergency your family should have a disaster kit which includes the following:
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- Battery operated radio and batteries
- Special medications for three days
- Non-electric can opener, utility knife
- Shut-off wrench to turn off water
- First aid kit
- Ready to eat canned meats, fruits, and vegetables, especially for infants, elderly persons , and persons on special diets
- One gallon of water per person, per day, keep at least a three day supply for each person in your family
- Canned milk, juice, soups
- Enough cash to last your family three days
- Fresh change of clothes for your family
- Blankets or sleeping bags
DON’T FORGET TO:
- Store your kit in a convenient place know to all family members
- Change your stored water every six months so it stays fresh
- Rotate your stored food every six months
- Ask your physician or pharmacist about storing prescriptions medication
The American Red Cross suggests the following:
- Create an emergency communications plan. Choose an out-of-town contact your family or household will call or e-mail to check on each other should a disaster occur. Your selected contact should live far enough away that they would be unlikely to be directly affected by the same event, and they should know they are the chosen contact. Make sure every household member has that contact’s, and each other’s, e-mail addresses and telephone numbers (home, work, pager and cell). Leave these contact numbers and your children’s school, if you have children, and at your workplace. Your family should know that if telephones are not working, they need to be patient and try again later or try e-mail. Many people flood the telephone lines when emergencies happen but e-mail can sometimes get through when calls don’t.
- Establish a meeting place. Having a predetermined meeting place away from your home will save time and minimize confusion should your home be affected or the area evacuated. You may even want to make arrangements to stay with a family member or friend in case of an emergency. Be sure to include any pets in these plans, since pets are not permitted in shelters and some hotels will not accept them.
- Assemble a disaster supplies kit. If you need to evacuate your home or are asked to “shelter in place,” having some essential supplies on hand will make you and your family more comfortable. Prepare a disaster supplies kit in an easy-to-carry container such as a duffel bag or small plastic trash can. Include “special needs” items for any member of your household (infant formula or items for people with disabilities or older people), first aid supplies (including prescription medications), a change of clothing for each household member, a sleeping bag or bedroll for each, a battery powered radio or television and extra batteries, food, bottled water and tools. It is also a good idea to include some cash and copies of important family documents (birth certificates, passports and licenses) in your kit. (Copies of essential documents-like powers of attorney, birth and marriage certificates, insurance policies, life insurance beneficiary designations and a copy of your will-should also be kept in a safe location outside your home. A safe deposit box or the home of a friend or family member who lives out of town is a good choice.)
- Check on the school emergency plan of any school-age children you may have. You need to know if they will keep children at school until a parent or designated adult can pick them up or send them home on their own. Be sure that the school has updated information about how to reach parents and responsible caregivers to arrange for pickup. And, ask what type of authorization the school may require to release a child to someone you designate, if you are not able to pick up your child. During times of emergency the school telephones may be overwhelmed with calls.
IF DISASTER STRIKES
- Remain calm and be patient
- Follow the advice of local emergency officials
- Listen to your radio or television for news and instructions
- If the disaster occurs near you, check for injuries. Give first aid and get help for seriously injured people
- If the disaster occurs near your home while you are there, check for damage using a flashlight. Do not light matches or candle or turn on electrical switches. Check for fires, fire hazards and other household hazards. Sniff for gas leaks, starting at the water heater. If you smell gas or suspect a leak, turn off the main gas valve, open windows, and get everyone outside quickly.
- Shut off any other damaged utilities
- Confine or secure your pets
- Call your family contact – do not use the telephone again unless it is a life-threatening emergency
- Check on your neighbors, especially those who are elderly or disabled
A WORD ON WHAT COULD HAPPEN
As we learned from the events of September 11, 2001, the following things can happen after a terrorist attack:
• There can be significant numbers of casualties and/or damage to buildings and the infrastructure. So employers need up-to-date information about any medical needs you may have and on how to contact your designated beneficiaries.
• Heavy law enforcement involvement at local, state and federal levels follows a terrorist attack due to the event’s criminal nature
• Health and mental health resources in the affected communities can be strained to their limits, maybe even overwhelmed
• Extensive media coverage, strong public fear and international implications and consequences can continue for a prolonged period
• Workplaces and schools may be closed, and there may be restrictions on domestic and international travel
• You and your family or household may have to evacuate an area, avoiding roads blocked for your safety
• Clean-up may take many months
If local authorities ask you to leave your home, they have a good reason to make this request, and you should heed the advice immediately. Listen to your radio or television and follow the instructions of local emergency officials and keep these simple tips in mind-
o Wear long sleeved shirts, long pants and sturdy shoes so you can be protected as much as possible
o Take your disaster supplies kit
o Take your pets with you; do not leave them behind. Because pets are not permitted in public shelters, follow your plan to go to a relative’s or friend’s home, or find a “pet-friendly ” hotel
o Lock your home
o Use travel routes specified by local authorities – don’t use shortcuts because certain areas may be impassable or dangerous
o Stay away from downed power lines
LISTEN TO LOCAL AUTHORITIES
Your local authorities will provide you with the most accurate information specific to an event in your area. Staying tuned to local radio and television, and following their instructions is your safe choice.
If your sure you have time:
• Call your family contact to tell them where you are going and when you expect to arrive
• Shut off water and electricity before leaving, if instructed to do so. Leave natural gas service ON unless local authorities advise you otherwise. You may need gas for heating and cooking, and only a professional can restore gas service in your home once it’s been turned off. In a disaster situation it could take weeks for a professional to respond
SHELTER IN PLACE
If you are advised by local officials to “shelter in place,” what they mean is for you to remain inside your home or office and protect yourself there. Close and lock all windows and exterior doors. Turn off all fans, heating and air conditioning systems. Close the fireplace damper. Get your disaster supplies kit, and make sure the radio is working. Go to an interior room without windows that’s above ground level. In the case of a chemical threat, an above-ground location is preferable because some chemicals are heavier than air, and may seep into basements even if the windows are closed. Using duct tape, seal all cracks around the door and any vents into the room. Keep listening to your radio or television until you are told all is safe or you are told to evacuate. Local officials may call for evacuation in specific areas at greatest risk in your community.
FIRST AID PRIMER
If you encounter someone who is injured, apply the emergency action steps: CHECK-CALL-CARE. CHECK the scene to make sure it is safe for you to approach. Then check the victim for unconsciousness and life-threatening conditions. Someone who has a life-threatening condition, such as not breathing or severe bleeding, requires immediate care by trained responders and may require treatment by medical professionals. CALL out for help. There are some steps that you can take, however, to CARE for someone who is hurt, but whose injuries are not life threatening.
o Cover the wound with a dressing, and press firmly against the wound (direct pressure).
o Elevate the injured area above the level of the heart if you do not suspect that the victim has a broken bone.
o Cover the dressing with a roller bandage
o If the bleeding does not stop:
o 1. Apply additional dressings and bandages
o 2. Use a pressure point to squeeze the artery against the bone
PROVIDED BY: ST. CLAIR COUNTY OFFICE OF EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT
Care for Shock
o Keep the victim from getting chilled or overheated
o Elevate the legs about 12 inches (if broken bones are not suspected)
o Do not give food or drink to the victim
o Stop the burning by cooling the bum with large amounts of water
o Cover the burn with dry, clean dressings or cloth
Care for Injuries to Muscles, Bones and Joints
o Rest the injured part
o Apply ice or a cold pack to control swelling and reduce pain
o Avoid any movement or activity that causes pain
o If you must move the victim because the scene is becoming unsafe, try to immobilize the injured part to keep it from moving
Be Aware of Biological/Radiological Exposure
o Listen to local radio and television reports for the most accurate information from responsible governmental and medical authorities on what’s happening and what actions you will need to take. The Web sites referenced at the end of this brochure can give you more information on how to protect yourself from exposure to biological or radiological hazards.
Reduce Any Care Risks
The risk of getting a disease while giving first aid is extremely rare. However, to reduce the risk even further:
o Avoid direct contact with blood and other body fluids
o Use protective equipment, such as disposable gloves and breathing barriers
o Thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water immediately after giving care
All of these recommendations make good sense, regardless of the potential problem. For more information on how to get ready for a disaster and be safe when disaster strikes, or to register for a first aid and AED/CPR course, please contact the Algonac Fire Department @ 810-794-3431.
THE UNITED STATES POSTAL SERVICE SUGGESTS:
What should make me suspect a piece of mail?
o It’s unexpected or from someone you don’t know
o It’s addressed to someone no longer at your address
o It’s handwritten and has no return address or bears one that you can’t confirm is legitimate
o It’s lopsided or lumpy in appearance
o It’s sealed with excessive amounts of tape
o It’s marked with restrictive endorsements such as “Personal” or “Confidential”
o It has excessive postage
What should I do with a suspicious piece of mail?
• Don’t handle a letter or package that you suspect is contaminated
• Don’t shake it, bump it, or sniff it
• Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water
• Notify local law enforcement authorities
ANTHRAX AND BIOTERRORISM
o Anthrax is an acute infectious disease caused by the spore-forming bacterium Bactillus anthracis. Anthrax most commonly occurs in warm-blooded animals and can therefore infect humans.
o Symptoms of disease vary depending on how the disease was contracted, but symptoms usually occur within seven days of exposure.
o Initial symptoms of inhalation anthrax infection may resemble a common cold. After several days, the symptoms may progress to severe breathing problems and shock. Inhalation anthrax usually results in death in 1-2 days after onset of the acute symptoms.
o Another defining symptom of inhalation anthrax can be found in the identification of a widened mediastinum on chest radiograph.
o The intestinal disease form of anthrax may follow the consumption of contaminated meat and is characterized by an acute inflammation of the intestinal tract. Initial signs of nausea, loss of appetite, vomiting, and fever are followed by abdominal pain, vomiting of blood, and severe diarrhea. Intestinal anthrax results in death in 25% to 60% of cases.
• Although anthrax can be found globally, it is more often a risk in countries with less standardized and effective public health programs. Areas currently listed at high risk for naturally occurring anthrax are South and Central America, Southern and Eastern Europe, Asia, Africa, the Caribbean, and the Middle East.
• Direct person-to-person spread of anthrax most likely does not occur.
• Early diagnosis of inhalation anthrax would be difficult and would require a high index of suspicion. The first evidence of a clandestine release of anthrax as a biological weapon most likely will be patients seeking medical treatment for symptoms of inhalation anthrax.
• There is no need to immunize or treat contacts (e.g., household contacts, friends, coworkers) of a patient, unless they were also exposed to the aerosol at the time of the attack.
• Serious consideration should be given to cremation of persons who die to prevent further transmission of disease.
o Anthrax is diagnosed by isolating B. anthracis from the blood, skin lesions, or respiratory secretions or by measuring specific antibodies in the blood of suspected cases.
o Given the rapid course of symptomatic inhalation anthrax, early antibiotic use is essential – a delay, even in hours, may lessen chances for survival. For those treated with antibiotics and surviving the risk of recurrence remains for at least 60 days without a course of vaccination.
o Doctors can prescribe effective antibiotic. Usually penicillin is preferred when the organism is found to be susceptible. Erythromycin, tetracyeline, ciprofloxacin, doxcycline or chloramphenicol can be used. Antibiotic regimens commonly recommended for the treatment of sepsis have not been studied extensively in treating humans for inhalation anthrax. However, it is important to note that to be effective, treatment should be initiated early.
o The anthrax vaccine for humans licensed for use in the United States is a cell-free filtrate vaccine, which means it uses dead bacteria as opposed to live bacteria. The vaccine is reported to be 93% effective in protecting against cutaneous anthrax. The vaccine is not currently available to the general public. (Anthrax vaccines intended for use in animals should not be used in humans.)
o The vaccine should only be administered to healthy men and women from 18 to 65 years of age.
PROVIDED BY MICHIGAN DEPARTMENT OF COMMUNITY HEALTH
BIOTERRORISM EMERGENCY NOTIFICATION
ACTUAL OF THREATENED TERRORIST EVENT
BUSINESS HOURS: 517.335.8024
AFTER HOURS: 517.335.9030
Communicable Disease/Immunizations: 517.335.8165