LONDON – The British government will mail a booklet of advice on coping with a large-scale terrorist attack or other disaster to every house in Britain in the coming weeks.
The 22-page pamphlet, unveiled by the government on Monday, includes details on basic first aid, emergency contacts and the procedure of mass decontamination after a chemical, biological or radiological attack.
The publication, called "Preparing for Emergencies: What You Need To Know," also provides a list of items that each of Britain's 25 million households should store, including candles, matches, a battery-powered radio, a first aid kit, canned food and bottled water.
Its central message is "go in, stay in and tune in," recommending that people stay indoors and listen to the radio for advice if there is an attack.
"This booklet reflects another stage in that process of keeping people informed," Home Secretary David Blunkett (search) said of the document written by government, emergency, medical and intelligence officials.
Home Office Minister Caroline Flint (search) stressed that the booklet was not prompted by a specific threat.
"At the moment, we don't feel that there is an immediate threat, but we have to be on our guard," she said. "If there is a specific threat, that is something we would communicate to the public."
The booklet, which cost the government $15 million to distribute, tells the public it can help prevent a terrorist attack and encourages people to report any suspicious activity. Landlords are urged to report any suspicious tenants; retailers are encouraged to watch out for any strange purchases; and the general public is asked to keep an eye out for any unusual activity.
"Our ability to prevent a terrorist attack does not depend on the authorities alone," the pamphlet says. "How well we cope also depends on you."
The English version of the booklet is available on the Home Office Web site and, from Aug. 2, it will be available there in 15 other languages — Arabic, Bengali, Chinese, Farsi, French, Greek, Gujarati, Hindi, Kurdish, Punjabi, Somali, Turkish, Urdu, Vietnamese and Welsh. The public will also be able to order copies in large print, Braille and on audio tape.