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Emergency Preparedness 2016

Dalton Daily CItizen, Dalton Magazine

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Page 22 of 31

Be Prepared — Emergency Guide 23 Some of the most dangerous emergency situations are the ones you cannot see. A biological attack is the deliberate release of germs or other substances that can do serious harm to your body. The three basic groups of biological agents that would likely be used as weapons are bacteria, viruses and toxins, according to the Department of Homeland Security. These agents can kill or seriously injure people and animals, and can wreak havoc on cropland. Some of the most dangerous biological agents are hard to grow and maintain, as they deteriorate quickly when exposed to environmental factors. Why so dangerous? Unlike a storm, wildfire or explosion, a biological attack may or may not be immediately obvious to the naked eye. The DHS reports that a widespread attack could be announced by healthcare workers reporting patterns of unusual illness or waves of sick people requiring medical attention. The inability to see the effects of a biological attack until health factors begin to present themselves makes it difficult to be prepared. Pay close attention to reports from newspapers and other media to understand the symptoms and dangers, if a biological attack takes place. DHS prevention tips The Department of Homeland Security urges the following actions to protect yourself, your family and your property from the effects of a biological threat: • Install a Filter: Consider installing a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter in your furnace return duct. This will filter out most biological agents that may enter your house. If you do not have a central heating or cooling system, you can use a stand-alone portable HEPA filter. • Build a Kit: Your emergency kit should include items such as non-perishable food, water, flashlights and a battery-powered radio, as well as extra batteries. • Make a Plan: Your family may be separated when a biological disaster takes place. Have a plan in place for communication and reunification. Have a place to meet, a number to call and an up-to-date understanding of what plans your community has in place for biological attacks in case you are separated from your family. Biological threats

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