Watching the news on any given day, you can read about an explosion of some kind or other occuring somewhere our planet. It may be in the Middle East, Europe or Asia - or, it might be in your own community. Think: West, Texas.

Most explosions are not natural. They are man-made, but that doesn't mean they are all intentional. Some ARE accidental. However, the illicit use of explosives for political causes has become a near-daily event. Anyone can find out how to make an explosive device; the information and supplies are readily available if one is intent on doing harm. The question is whether or not the general population is prepared to handle these situations.

Explosive devices are highly portable. Cars, SUVs and humans can be used as a means of transport and any such devices are easily detonated from remote locations or by suicide bombers. There are no limitations to the inventiveness of would-be terrorists.

Any number of "conventional" bombs have been used in the past to wreak havoc on political, financial, religious and other institutions. Attacks regularly occur in markets, churches, and on otherwise calm city streets. The result is that thousands of people around the world are injured and killed - and it seems to be happening on an ever increasing basis.

Your best defense is to know how to respond to an attack.

How to Respond

During an Explosion

  • Get under a sturdy table or desk as quickly as possible if things are falling around you. When they stop falling, leave the area immediately. If you are in a building, take the stairs, watching for weakened floors and stairwells. Watch for debris along the way, as anything could shift at any time. Be careful.
  • Exit as quickly as possible, which means you don't stop for your purse or laptop.
  • Stay away from elevators, too, as there could be a fire in the building.

Once you are out

  • Move away from windows, glass doors, or other potentially hazardous areas.
  • Move away from sidewalks or streets. Emergency personnel need to have access to those areas. Plus, people may still be exiting the building behind you.

If you are trapped in debris

  • If you have access to a flashlight or a whistle, signal your location to rescuers. Tap on a pipe or a wall if that is all you have available.
  • Don't move around or you will kick up dust making it harder to breathe.
  • Use a cloth to filter the air you breathe. Any fabric will work, especially in an emergency. You want to protect your lungs from any dust or other particals in the air.
  • Don't yell unless you have to. Doing so may only result in a mouth full of dust or worse - severe choking.