- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 19, 2003

WASHINGTON, Feb. 19 (UPI) — The Department of Homeland Security has a new message for the American public: Get "Ready."

The department launched its new "Campaign Ready" Wednesday to advise people on what to do in case of a terror attack.

The information is available at ready.gov. For those still not plugged into the Internet, written information is available by calling 1-800-BE-READY.

Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge was formally announcing the program in Cincinnati Wednesday.

The new information package advises the public to "make a kit," "make a plan" and "be informed" of the consequences of a particular form of attack.

The campaign also was being launched while the country remains under an orange, or "high," level of terror alert, the second-highest level on the department's five-color terror advisory system.

Under "make a kit," people are advised to lay in a list of emergency supplies, including food and water. They are also advised to provide for "clean air," in part through the use of facial masks and the much-parodied plastic sheeting and duct tape on the windows.

In the same category, "special needs items" can include formula, diapers and diaper rash ointments, as well as medications.

Under the "make a plan" category, the department gives some practical tips on "creating a family plan" so that each member of the family has an idea of what to do in a terror emergency.

The category also offers advice on how to cope at work or at school, in a moving vehicle or in a high rise.

Under "be informed," the package soberly addresses a biological threat, chemical threat, radiation threat, nuclear blast and a conventional explosion.

The campaign even comes with its own motto: "Don't be afraid… Be Ready."

The department said much of the information in the new campaign is not new, but had already been compiled by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The Red Cross also had input into preparing Americans for the unthinkable.

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