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Tips for Staying Safe after an Explosion


Homemade bombs, also called improvised explosive devices, are used by terrorists and criminals, often in places that will cause the most harm. Unfortunately, terrorists have targeted civilians in the United States, as well as other countries around the world. If you are at the site of an IED attack, the following information will help you stay safe.

  • If possible, get out of the immediate area. This will help minimize your exposure to hazardous materials and keep you safe in the event of a secondary explosion.
  • If you are trapped in a building, get under a table or desk. Cover your nose and mouth to avoid inhaling hazardous fumes. As soon as you can, try to exit the building. Be sure to use the stairs instead of an elevator.
  • Help others move away from the blast site if you are safely able to do so.
  • Let rescuers know where you are by using a flashlight, whistle or tapping on a pipe or wall. Try to avoid shouting, which may cause you to inhale dust.
  • Once you are out of the building, move away. Keep in mind that there may be secondary explosions at or near the blast site.
  • Follow the instructions of local authorities.
  • Do not go back to the site. There is a risk of secondary explosions, a risk of being exposed to hazardous material and the chance you could impede rescue workers.
  • If you are on a subway, train or bus, stay inside the car unless you are in immediate danger. Listen for instructions from the local authorities. If it is safe, open windows and doors to reduce injuries in the event of another explosion.
  • If you leave the train, car or bus, be aware of hazards as you make your way to safety.
  • Provide first aid if you can safely do so. For many victims, the most immediate danger is bleeding. You should apply direct pressure to the wound to help control it.

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