Mandelblit: Be Ready, Be Prepared for Threats

Friday, 08 Jan 2010 01:22 PM

By Bruce Mandelblit

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“We are at war. We are at war against al-Qaida, a far-reaching network of violence and hatred that attacked us on 9/11, that killed nearly 3,000 innocent people, and that is plotting to strike us again. And we will do whatever it takes to defeat them.”

These powerful words spoken by President Barack Obama in a recent speech about the failed Christmas Day terror attack point to the real and present dangers of terrorism.

With almost daily media reports of potential attacks against U.S. targets by al-Qaida and other terrorist groups, now, more than ever, all Americans should be ready and prepared.

A booklet, “Preparing Makes Sense Get Ready Now,” drafted a few years ago by the Department of Homeland Security, still offers some sound basic suggestions that organizations and individuals should consider implementing.

Written in a rather frank, matter-of-fact tone, the guide states that terrorists are working to obtain biological, chemical, nuclear and radiological weapons, and that the possibility of another attack on the U.S. is all too real. This booklet goes on to say that with a little planning and common sense, individuals can be better prepared for the unexpected.

Given our current 2010 security threats, it is a good time to review some of the ideas expressed in the Department of Homeland Security booklet.

  • Emergency supplies: Just like having a working smoke detector or intrusion sensor or detector, keeping emergency supply kits properly stocked and available can provide valuable tools in the event of an emergency. Be prepared to improvise and use what you have on hand to survive on your own for at least three days, maybe longer.
  • Emergency planning: Plan in advance what you and your organization will do in an emergency. Every organization should have multiple emergency plans. When developing such plans for various circumstances, remember to tailor policies to both the perspective of the total organization as well as that of the security operation.
  • Specific terrorist threats: It is important to remember that there are significant differences among potential terrorist threats — such as a biological threat, a chemical threat, a nuclear blast, or a so-called “dirty bomb” — that will influence your actions and decisions. By learning about these specific threats, you are, in effect, preparing yourself to react in an emergency.

In all cases, remain calm. Keep yourself under control and encourage your staff and employees to remain calm as well. Be prepared to adapt this information to your specific security and business circumstances, and make every effort to follow instructions received from first responder authorities.

Above all, stay composed, be patient and think before you act.

This is, of course, a very brief review of some of the ideas suggested in the booklet. For more information and details on these important topics, visit or call (800) BE-READY.

My Final Thoughts: We all have a vital role in helping to protect our country from potential acts of terrorism. We all can be the extra “eyes and ears” of law enforcement in reporting any suspicious activities to the proper authorities. In addition, we all can take simple steps to be ready and be prepared for any disaster, either man-made or natural.

Copyright 2010 by Bruce Mandelblit

This column is provided for general information purposes only. Please check with your local law enforcement agency and legal professional for information specific to you and your jurisdiction.

Bruce ( is a nationally known security and safety journalist, as well as a recently retired, highly decorated reserve law enforcement officer. His e-mail address is

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