• United States
by Wayland Hancock

Homeland Security: What you can do

Feb 24, 20033 mins

* Online resources to help you prepare for disaster

The Homeland Security Advisory System now has the risk of attack in the U.S. classified as “high (orange).”  The popular opinion is that you really can’t do much about it. But there are some specific things that you as a technology executive can do, and there are some things that your family and friends can do. One of the most important things is to make reference resources available.

As with any subject you can think of, there is a wealth of information available on the Internet. Wading through all of that and picking out the best could be a bewildering job. There are many very good documents out there, but I found the following ones to be most useful:

* Homeland Security Advisory System Recommendations – Family

This document explains recommended actions for the various risk-of-attack levels from low (green) to severe (red).  There are also individual, neighborhood, school, and business versions of this document, but I found this one to be the most helpful.

* Terrorism: Preparing for the Unexpected

This Red Cross brochure explains some things that can be done to prepare for an emergency, including creating an emergency communications plan, establishing a meeting place, and assembling a disaster supplies kit.

* Your Family Disaster Plan

This brochure, put together by  the Federal Emergency Management Program (FEMA) and the American Red Cross, has checklists that help create a disaster plan and also recommend what to do if disaster strikes.

* Your Family Disaster Supplies Kit

The Red Cross and FEMA also published this brochure that lists suggestions for storing water and food, as well as listing First Aid Kit supplies.

* Preparing Your Business for the Unthinkable

This American Red Cross document focuses on specific things that businesses can do to minimize risk in the event of a disaster, including keeping phone lists, installing emergency lights, backing up computer data, and taking other steps to reduce potential damage.

* American Red Cross Homeland Security Advisory

Here, you can find links to American Red Cross’ recommended actions for individuals, neighborhoods, schools and businesses. There are also links to Spanish language versions of these documents.

Other valuable resources may be found at the following URLs:

* U.S. Department of Homeland Security

* “Are you ready?” – The white House

* Other foreign language materials may be found at:

* Advice from the Department of Homeland Security on ways to be prepared

* Threats and Protection advisory from the Department of Homeland Security

You may want to go to selected URLs above and download PDF files to distribute by e-mail to people in your company.  Also consider setting up a folder on your computer called “emergency information,” and keep the downloaded PDFs there, along with other items specific to your company.  Once you download the lists, don’t stop there – read the documents and assign suggested tasks to different people.  If you hear someone say, “You really can’t do anything about it,” refer them to these URLs.

Wayland Hancock is business technology editor at Currid & Company, a Houston IT assessment company. You can reach him by e-mail at

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