The threat of a terrorist attack isn’t anything we like to think too closely about – but in a post 9-11 world, it’s something the latest generation has grown up with as a part of life. Unlike the Cold War generation, when hiding under your desk in case of a nuclear attack was considered “better than nothing”, there are very real do’s and don’t’s when it comes to the possibility of a terrorist attack in your neighborhood.
Do Choose Wisely
Obviously, it would be smart to simply choose a neighborhood where a terrorist attack is unlikely to happen – but you can’t expect your agent to cover “local targets of interest” in their sales pitches! However, you can probably figure out that packed sections of major cities like Boston or New York City would be more at risk than, say, a quiet farming-based town in Nebraska. Realistically, any neighborhood with a centralized shelter of some sort would be an ideal place to look for a home if you are worried about a terrorist attack.
Do Be Prepared
Having a Family Emergency Plan, an Emergency Pack, and an Emergency Contacts List are the three most important things you can do to stay prepared (Find emergency preparedness tips here.) Your plan should include where to meet up in case you are separated, where to go in case of terrorist attack, and how to leave messages for each-other in the event that communications are knocked out. You should have different plans of action depending on whether the terrorist attack consists of insurgents with guns, bombs going off or suspected bombs, lethal gas or other airborne warfare, and so on.
Do Listen to Authorities
In case of a terrorist attack in your neighborhood, a regular radio will be your best friend. Local authorities will broadcast updates and instructions, and will let you know if you should stay in your home, evacuate to the nearest shelter, or flee the area completely. Back roads and the ability to get out quickly if main roads are jammed might be something to look into when choosing your next urban property.
Don’t Live in Fear
In most cases, terrorist attacks are small cell operations and have multiple breakdowns in their plans (fun fact: hundreds of terrorist attacks are thwarted every year and you never even hear about them!) In fact, the odds of being hurt or killed in a terrorist attack are roughly the same as being crushed to death by a falling piece of furniture.
Get to Know Your Neighbors
Neighborhoods where people have a commitment to each-other are the safest! Get to know as many of your neighbors as you can (a neighborhood potluck is a great way to do this), and ask your local police department to help you set up a neighborhood watch program. Keep an eye out for suspicious activity, and know how, when and what you should report. Always wait for professionals to show up if you suspect there is a problem.
Basically, what you should do in case of a terrorist attack is stay calm, don’t panic, get to a safe location, and come together as a community to protect each other. Wherever you live, this should always be possible!