Skip to comments.UK steps up preparations for terror attacks
Posted on 12/08/2002 6:41:58 AM PST by knighthawk
LONDON: A major shake-up of Britain's Cold War era emergency planning system is being mapped out to help the country cope with a large-scale terrorist attack, newspapers reported Sunday.
Legislation was likely to be put before parliament early in the New Year to create a system better able to deal with nuclear, biological and chemical strikes, The Sunday Times said.
Current plans for emergencies were based on legislation dating back to the Cold War period, rather than geared to coping with catastrophes on the scale of the suicide strikes on New York and Washington on September 11 last year.
Local government minister Nick Raynsford told The Sunday Times: "We want people to know we are ready for any eventuality without alarming the public."
A Cabinet Office spokesman said: "The government does take this very seriously and is looking for a structure for the 21st century.
"We are consulting with the local authorities who have to plan on the ground for major emergencies.
"It will be a fairly substantial piece of legislation, coming out next year and going through parliament as soon as time permits."
The spokesman said it was too early to confirm a Sunday Times report that every household in the country would be provided with a leaflet advising them how to survive a major attack.
The newspaper quoted Raynsford as saying that UK Resilience, a body set up after September 11 to help draw up contingency plans for the country, was creating a network of "gatekeepers".
These would be trusted members of the community who would be able to inform local people on the nature of an attack and help in any evacuation.
The Cabinet Office spokesman was unable to confirm claims by the Independent on Sunday that officials within the government's Civil Contingencies Secretariat were pessimistic about Britain's capacity to cope with a major attack.
The paper quoted an internal document as saying that, since the end of the Cold War, "civil defence effectively no longer exists in the UK as a stand-alone practical activity".
Meanwhile, the Sunday Telegraph reported that the government was buying more than 120,000 decontamination suits to protect people from a chemical or biological attacks, as well as thousands of decontamination showers, shelters, stretchers, and 5,000 body bags.
The equipment would be stored at 16 locations, ready to be distributed within minutes of a terrorist strike, the paper said.
If people want on or off this list, please let me know.
I wonder how long ago they ordered all that and when they expect to have it. I imagine they want to have it on hand before we attack Iraq.
I've also been keeping an eye out for white cotton garments that can be bleached when washed (and there aren't very many out there). If we start seeing epidemics, I want clothes I can disinfect in the washer after I've been out in public.