Top Line

Friday, 9 October 2015

Keep Your Family Safe In Case Of Boko Haram Attacks

Keep Your Family Safe In Case Of Boko Haram Attacks

The following ten points are things you can do to prepare for Boko Haram attacks, reduce the stress that you may feel now or later. Taking preparatory action can reassure you and your family, and give you a sense of control even in the face of such events.
Here are the 10 guidelines.

1. Collect information: call the Nigerian Red Cross or Red Crescent

One of the first things you should do is contact your local Red Cross or Red Crescent organization. Tell them you are worried about your and your family’s safety in case of the Boko Haram terrorist attack. Then ask them if they could help you with information to handle your children’s questions and also prepare your family for any eventuality.
All over the word, the Red Cross has developed know-how in public information and training for civilians to prepare for terrorisst attacks, earthquakes or civil wars. The more people start calling them and requesting information and training, the faster they will respond and act in your favor.
You can reach the Nigeria Red Cross Society at 07098832512 and find their branch in your state and city .

2. Talk to your family, especially children

Children are not immune to the news. They can access information on TV, radio. On the Internet, they are exposed to images that could hurt their psychological balance. It’s therefore very important to take the initiative to talk to them, as well as to other members of the family.
The conversation could start with simple questions like: “Have you heard about Boko Haram?” “What do you think about them?” “How do you feel about them?” “What would you like to know?”
These questions would elicit lot of responses from your family members, which should lead to sharing information, tips, and designing a family emergency plan in case of attack.
Talking is the first cure for fear. So talk in non-threatening or inflammatory way to your family, neighbours, colleagues. Eventually, this would lead to a community watch or a vigilance group.

3. Avoid crowds

As much as possible, avoid crowds, as they may be the preferred targets for an attack.
Any success of the army against Boko Haram will lead to the terrorist group conducting, in retaliation or desperation, more spectacular and large-scale attacks on civilians in order to traumatize the population. This is the reason why we must be more vigilant during this period of the army engagement with the insurgents and their sponsors.
Boko Haram main targets may be markets, shopping centers, bars, nightclubs, large autobuses, open-field concerts, stadiums, beaches, etc. Stay away from such places where large crowds gather. Only visit such places when you are well aware of the security measures taken by the managers of the event and local authorities.
In cases you have no choice but to go to a crowded place, learn alternate routes and exits, think about a fallback location where you will go to regroup with your family or group. Do what you have to do as quickly as possible and get out of there.

4. Avoid unattended cars and trucks, as these may contain explosives

Most terrorist attacks on civilians are conducted either with car/trucks bombs or automatic rifles. Both are usually unexpected and sudden. They are therefore difficult to predict, so few precautions could help.
As general guideline, avoid taking street in front of police stations where cars are parked. Make sure you quickly enter public building, and don’t stay too long on streets full of people and parked cars.
In the end, listen to your instincts, and follow their guidance as swiftly as possible. Sometime our sixth sense knows more than we think.

5. Plan your reactions

People who know in advance where are the exit signs and routes in a building have better chances to survive in case of a disaster. This means the best way to protect yourself is to plan ahead few gestures and conducts you’d take in case of attack.
You can ask your local civil protection organization or the local Red Cross how you should react in various events like a car bomb, a suicide bomb, a rifle attack, a kidnapping, a school attack, etc.
Make sure you learn the necessary gestures and practices with your children if necessary. Few of these gestures are listed below.

6. Keep these things with you

If possible, always carry a bottle of water with you. The first thing you might look for when under stress is water to drink.
Some disaster and emergency experts suggest to always keep a small knife and small pocket lamp. Put your family numbers on a short dial list in case you’d need to send a distress or a notification message. For example, some people stick on the back of their phone a list of numbers to call in case of emergency.
The national emergency numbers are toll-free dial 767 / 112 for police, ambulance, emergency services. Your local police emergency numbers are listed . Save them in your phone and memorize the most important ones.
Finally, think about installing  application to notify your family and friends about our status updates.

7. If there is a sudden explosion or shooting around you

— Here are few reflexes you should prepare yourself to act on:
— Get under a sturdy table or desk. If things are falling around you, wait until they stop falling, then try to leave quickly. Watch for obviously weakened floors and stairways.
— If you see people choking and collapsing, it may mean that some chemical stuff has been released in the air, so cover your nose and your mouth, even with the thin fabric of a scarf or a shirt (especially if it’s wet). This will make a difference and reduce the chances of inhaling chemical/biological agents, not to mention the smoke and dust that will be in the air after the explosion.
— Find a spot behind a support beam or a concrete pillar; this will protect you from random bullets or even stop debris from hitting you in the eventuality of an explosion.
— If danger is somewhere outside and you’re inside of a building, control your curiosity and stay away from the windows to avoid random bullets or debris in case of a second explosion. Do not stand in front of windows, glass doors, or any object that might easily break and hurt you.
— Move away from damaged buildings or shops.

8. If you are trapped under debris

In case you are trapped under debris, try to find a tight area where you still can breathe. If you can move, make sure you carefully check the surroundings. Get close to a door or a window where you can call for help or access light. If the building you’re in is not severely damaged or burning, you should stay inside and call for rescue.

9. Keep calm, but call for help

Panic kills more than bombs and diseases. Therefore, it’s important that you keep calm, so you still keep a clear head to outsmart the tragic events around you.
If you are wounded, don’t hesitate to shout for help. Emergency people would first notice people who would call for help, and would first evacuate those who are visibly asking to be evacuated. Be polite, but express your need to be seen by a doctor immediately.

10. Help others who are hurt or need assistance

In such a troubled period in our country, it’s important to bring your family members to the civil protection training, or the Red Cross first-aid training camps. Those are generally free, or for very a little fee.
In case of emergency, you’d be able to help your family members, your children and save your own life. Those are life-long skills that would be helpful beyond just a terrorist attack threat.
In conclusion, the most important guideline is to have a united family in the face of common terrorist threat. Talk about terrorism, spend time with your family and talk to your children about their fears of terrorist incidents.
If possible, make a family presentation about how you understand the origins of Boko Haram, share your ideas about how collectively you can contribute to defeat them. Use simple words that even young children can understand.
There is more knowledge in your family than you think. Be safe.