These are uncertain times.

These are uncertain times. Many Americans feel anxious about terrorist attacks. The odds of an average citizen being a victim of such an attack are considered low. Yet, it makes sense for everyone to be prepared. Being alert and knowing how to react in a crisis is the best way to stay safe.

In general, there are four types of terrorism:

1. Conventional-such as bombings and hijackings

2. Chemical-use of poison (nerve gas) to attack people

3. Biological-use of bacteria (anthrax)viruses, or other organisms to make people seriously ill

4. Radiological-(nuclear weapons)to harm people

Terrorists tend to strike certain types of targets such as

Highly populated places, such as large cities, international airports, major international events or popular tourist sites

Business and government centers, such as financial districts, embassies or military bases

Other targets may include transportation systems, power plants, hospitals and schools.

Terrorist incidents usually happen without warning.

Before an emergency, prepare a plan and get ready. Along with the other parts of your plan add home safety in the event of a fire.

Install smoke detectors following the manufacturer’s instructions. It is advised to have at least one detector for each level of the home (including the basement) and one outside each sleeping area. Test the detectors monthly. Replace the batteries at least once a year, some recommend changing twice a year using the time changes as a reminder.

Keep a fire extinguisher handy. Install it near an escape path. Make sure everyone knows how to use it. Contact your fire department to see if they offer training.

Have at least one carbon monoxide detector in your home. (Install detectors near sleeping areas)

Know the difference in alarm sounds between smoke detectors and CO detectors.

Have two escape paths from each room. Mark one as the primary exit and the other as alternate. (Never use an elevator in a fire)

Make sure everyone in the home can unlock and open doors and windows used for escape.

Hold fire drills regularly to practice your plan.

Treat all fire alarms seriously. Leave the building-then call the fire department. When in doubt, get out!

If you are in public, be aware of your surroundings. Know where emergency exits are located. Plan two ways out of every room. Check for items such as bookcases, hanging pictures, or overhead lights that could fall into your pathway making it impassable. Secure or remove furniture from check hallways, stairwells, windows and doorways for hazards that may keep you from safely leaving a building during an emergency. If there are aspects of preparing your home or workplace that you are unable to do for yourself, enlist the help of your support network.

When traveling, stay alert. Report any suspicious behavior or unattended items to proper authorities. During an emergency, stay calm. Use your plan and common sense. Stay in your home if it is safe or exit when you are advised to do so. Listen for alerts or instructions being given by Emergency Management.

After an emergency:

If trapped in debris, use a whistle or flashlight, or tap against a wall to tell rescuers where you are. Don’t yell, to avoid breathing in more dust or smoke.

Don’t try to rescue others in a collapsed building. Wait for rescue crews who are trained in that area.

Continue to listen to instructions through your radio, TV or other source communication source.

Be informed About What Might Happen. Some of the things you can do to prepare for the unexpected, such as assembling an emergency kit and making an emergency plan are the same regardless of the type of emergency. The Emergency Notification System allows citizens to get alerts about emergencies and other important community news by signing up in the system. It allows the County to provide you with critical information quickly in a variety of situations-such as severe weather, unexpected road closures, missing person, and evacuations from buildings or neighborhoods. It is not a substitute for common media outlets but an enhancement for citizens to have access to more localized events. Anyone needing assistance signing up can contact McPherson County Emergency Management and Communications.

This information will be presented at McPherson County Senior Centers in late August and September. Call your local Senior Center or McPherson County Council on Aging for program scheduling.

McPherson County Council on Aging will be hosting an Emergency Preparedness Meeting at 7 p.m., Aug. 30 at the Bank IV Building in the 5th Floor Conference Room at 122 W. Marlin St. in McPherson. The presentation will be by Jill Brunsell and Julie McClure of McPherson County Emergency Management and Communications.