Citizens Guide to Preparation and Response to Terrorist Threat
Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department
Ronald D. Blackwell, Fire Chief

On Friday, February 7, 2003, the National Terrorist Threat Assessment level was upgraded from “Elevated” (yellow) to “High” (orange) in response to what authorities called “specific intelligence received and analyzed by the full intelligence community and corroborated by multiple intelligence sources.”

With this announcement, Prince George’s County Fire Chief Ronald D. Blackwell stated that the government does not recommend citizens to cancel any events or change their work or travel plans. Rather, officials asked that citizens and residents continue with their activities of daily living-but with a heightened awareness of their surroundings and greater consideration for personal security. “Be aware of your surroundings, remain alert, and don’t hesitate to report any activity that appears unusual or suspicious,” Fire Chief Blackwell said.  Prince George’s County elected leaders, Public Safety Officials, and the Office of Emergency Management have been in constant communications with each other since the alert was elevated.  Additionally, Public Safety Agencies have put into place their contingency plans for this threat assessment level and County Officials have been involved in an exchange of information with Federal, State and local jurisdictions and agencies.

Fire Chief Blackwell encourages all citizens and residents to review their own families’ emergency response procedures to ensure that all family members know what to do, where to go and what their own emergency contingency plans are.  Please follow these recommended guidelines for your preparation.

Preparation and Response

     One of the first steps to take when preparing for an emergency is to make a family plan. You must realize that a fire is considered a disaster for your family and as such the family plan should address this. With this in mind you should plan two emergency family meeting places. The first should be somewhere just outside your house where your family can safely meet in the case of a house fire. The second should be outside your neighborhood in case you can't return home or are evacuated. Ask an out-of-state friend or family member to be your "family contact". Make sure all family members have this person's name and telephone number. After a disaster, it's often easier to call long distance. Each family member should call this person to tell them where they are.
 A sudden emergency involving chemicals, or hazardous materials, can force emergency officials to ask you to take immediate action to protect yourselves and your families. You may be asked to shelter in place, prepare to evacuate or to evacuate. Here's what to do:


1.    Stay Calm

2.    If you are outdoors in the vicinity of a chemical incident, leave the immediate area, moving at least two miles away from the site of the release.

3.    If you are in your residence, turn on your radio to an Emergency Alerting System (EAS) station for information and directions.

4.    Stay off the telephone. The lines may be needed for official business.

5.    Emergency Activation Radio Stations  ·1 WMAL 630 AM  ·2 WTOP 1500 AM  ·3 WWRC 1260 AM  ·4 WKYS 93.9 FM
Shelter in Place:
Shelter-in-Place is one way to protect yourself. If you are told to Shelter-in-Place, do the following:

1. Immediately go inside. Bring pets inside also.

2. Close and lock all windows and doors. Stay calm. Stay off the telephone.

3. Turn off heating and cooling systems.

4. Go to an interior room with no or few windows. Seal all openings into the room with plastic sheeting and tape.

5. Turn on a radio to a local EAS station for information and directions. Stay tuned to the station until you are given instructions that the emergency is over.

6. If told to protect breathing, cover your nose and mouth with a wet cloth, if possible.

7. After the emergency is over, you will be instructed to air out your house.

Prepare to Evacuate:
 You may be told to Prepare-to-Evacuate. When informed of this, you should do the following:

1. Stay calm. Stay off the telephone.

2. Turn on your radio or television to the local EAS station for emergency instructions.

3. Pack only what you need. Gather critical medicines, appropriate clothing for the weather conditions, portable radio, flashlight, and spare batteries, check book, credit cards, and other essential items.

4. Lock your house.

5. If you have children in school, they will be taken to a reception center for the school. You may pick them up after the all clear.

6. PETS ARE NOT PERMITTED IN SHELTERS. Special pet shelter accommodations will be made available.

7. You may return home as soon as the emergency is declared over, and have been instructed to return.

Evacuating means leaving the area that is affected by the potential hazard. Sometimes a chemical accident, such as an overturned tanker truck, will force people from their homes for health and safety reasons. If you are asked to evacuate, here's what to do:

· Remain calm.

· Listen carefully to the instructions you are given and be sure you are in an area that is being evacuated.

· If told to evacuate, do so!

· Do not use the phone except to dial 911 in a life-threatening situation.

· Take your Disaster Supply Kit with you.

· DO NOT go to your children's school. If they are in the evacuation area they will be taken care of. They will probably be gone by the time you get there.

· Close and lock windows and doors.

· Turn off all fans, heating and cooling units.

· Bring pets indoors and leave food and water for them. Remember, pets ARE NOT allowed in emergency shelters!

· Keep vehicle windows and vents closed while evacuating.

· Follow instructions of emergency personnel along evacuation routes.

· Stay tuned to radio and television for further instructions from emergency officials.

Disaster Supply Kit
Recommended Supplies List
· Sterile adhesive bandages
· Scissors
· Tweezers
· Needle
· Moist towelettes
· Antiseptic
· Thermometer
· Petroleum Jelly
· Cleanser/Soap
· Aspirin/Pain Reliever
· Antacid
· Gloves
· Alcohol Swabs
· Bottled Alcohol (for equipment NOT patient)
· Sterile Water (NOT for drinking)
· Medical Tape

Tools and Supplies:
· Paper cups, plates & plastic utensils
· Battery operated radio and extra batteries
· Flashlight and extra batteries
· Non-electric can-opener and utility knife
· Pliers
· Tape
· Signal flare
· Needles & thread
· Wrench
· Map of the area
· Aluminum foil

· Soap
· Personal Hygiene Items
· Plastic bags with ties
· Plastic bucket with tight lid
· Disinfectant
· Household chlorine bleach

Food and Water:
· Store water in plastic containers. Store one gallon per person per day for three weeks.
· Store at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food that requires no preparation and little water.
· Replace stored water every three months and stored food every six.

· At least one complete change of clothes
· Sunglasses
· Sturdy shoes/work boots
· Rain gear

     Please remember that some people may require special items such as: Infant formula, diapers, bottles, powdered milk, prescription medications, insulin, denture needs, extra eyeglasses/contacts lenses and supplies.
     Also, keep with you any important family documentation such as: Birth certificates, marriage licenses, wills, bank account numbers, deeds, credit card numbers and companies, insurance policies, and passports. Keep these items in a watertight container!

Updated information from the Prince George’s County Government can be obtained on the agencies website at

For additional information contact Mark Brady, Chief Spokesperson, at 240-508-7930.