Historically, there have been threats to national security with large-scale losses of life, injury, illness and economic loss. The Dallas-Fort Worth area was added to the nation's top ten terror targets in December 2009 by the Department of Homeland Security. A few months before this took place, an attempt to blow up a downtown skyscraper by a Jordanian national, was foiled. He was arrested and eventually sentenced to 24 years in prison. This incident makes it evident that no one knows what will happen next. These events do however, help make communities stronger and more resilient. 

Preparing for a Terrorist Attack

  • Develop a disaster plan.Make sure your Emergency Supply Kit is on-hand.
  • Check on the school emergency plan for any school-age children.
  • Follow directions from officials.It is imperative to stay informed and alert at all times.

Burning building - FireFire

An estimated 1,800 fatal residential building fires occur annually in the United States, resulting in an average of 2,635 deaths, 725 injuries, and $196 million in property loss. (source: U.S. Fire Administration 2010 report) In order to protect yourself, it is important to know the characteristics of fires. They spread quickly and there may not be time to gather valuables or to call someone. 

A working smoke alarm can help you and your family escape a deadly home fire. It can also help save the lives of firefighters who would otherwise have to risk their lives by searching a burning home for residents. A working smoke alarm continuously scans the air for smoke, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. 

Smoke Alarm Characteristics (powered by a 9-volt battery)

  • The alarm should be tested monthly.
  • Once a year, the batteries should be replaced.
  • Every 8-10 years, the entire system should be replaced.

Collection of chemical bottles - HazmatHazardous Materials

Hazardous materials (HAZMAT) come in the form of explosives, flammable and combustible substances, poisons, and radioactive materials most often being the result of transportation or chemical accidents. Chemicals can be found everywhere. Some are dangerous but many are not. When chemicals are used in an unsafe manner, it can pose a threat to life, property and the environment. 

In various forms, hazardous materials can cause fatalities, serious injury and damage to buildings, homes and other property. Only trained individuals with specialized equipment will often be able to handle or dispose of hazardous materials safely. These incidents vary in intensity, size and duration. The majority of incidents are small and require only a limited response however, there can be larger incidents that can require evacuation of the surrounding area. 

What to do During a Hazardous Materials Incident

  • Tune in to local media for detailed information and instructions.
  • Follow the instructions carefully.
  • Stay away from the area to minimize the risk of contamination. 
  • Remember: Some toxic chemicals are odorless.
  • If you are asked to evacuate, do so immediately.
  • If you are caught outside, stay upstream, uphill and upwind. In general, try to go at least one-half mile away from the danger area.
  • If you are caught in your vehicle, keep the windows and vents closed and shut off the air conditioner and heater. Stop and seek shelter in a permanent building.
If you are interested in additional information, please view the Sheltering vs. Evacuation page.

Close up of a mosquito on skin - Epidemic / PandemicEpidemic / Pandemic 

The difference between an epidemic and the regular flu is that the epidemic will exceed expectations. A global outbreak of a new disease which causes serious illness is known as a pandemic. Health care professionals are constantly monitoring emergency room visits, and school absenteeism to determine the threat level of new or recurring biological hazards. 

Preparing for the Epidemic / Pandemic

  • Educate yourself about the types of epidemics and how they may affect you. Visit the CDC website for more information.
  • Make sure your Emergency Supply Kit is ready.
  • Follow directions from officials about sheltering-in-place or evacuating.
  • Practice healthy habits that may protect you and others later:
    • Wash your hands
    • Cover coughs and sneezes
    • Stay home from work or school if you are sick

Adopt these habits in the work place as well.