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Red Cross Says Be Prepared for Terrorism

By Eileen Buckley

Buffalo, NY – The Department of Homeland Security and the American Red Cross are urging individuals and families to be prepared as the nation's terror threat level remains at "high."

"There is no doubt that this is a more serious situation than what we've faced since September 11th," said Buffalo Red Cross Executive Director Nancy Blaschak.

The Red Cross is advising the public to take safety precautions without trying to alarm everyone. The agency says some simple steps can be taken to prepare families, schools, neighborhoods and businesses in the event of a terror attack. Blaschak says preparations should start in the home.

"Has your family even thought of a disaster plan? Do you know how to be in contact with one another if separated? Moms and Dads are at work, children are at school. If you're separated and something happens how do you get in contact with your children? What is the evacuation or security plan at your children's school?"

Blaschak says it's also a good idea to prepare a "disaster kit" for the home.

"Have a radio with batteries, have three days of food and water in your home," Blaschak said. "It's also good to have food that doesn't need to be cooked in case you don't have power available."

The Red Cross says it's important to have a first aid kit and to learn to deal with minor emergencies in case you are cut off from professional medical help.

The Department of Homeland Security also suggests making sure homes are stocked with duct tape and plastic sheeting in the event of a chemical or biological attack. The department says it could be used to seal off doors and windows and prevent "lethal agents" from seeping into homes.

But Blaschak says if homes are not deemed safe, a community sheltering plan created with the city, county and towns would go into effect.

Blaschak says she's confident Erie County is well prepared to respond to a disaster.