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After a Bombing: Health and Safety Information for the General Public

Immediately after the event

  • If you or others have life-threatening injuries, such as severe bleeding, difficulty breathing, chest pain, or burns, provide or seek first aid and get help from officials or others at the scene.
  • If you or someone else has minor injuries seek first aid as a first step until those more severely injured can be cared for first. If possible, go to a hospital that is not in the immediate area of the blast. Hospitals closest to the blast(s) will quickly become crowded.
  • Listen to emergency officials at the scene. If no one is near you to give instructions and you are in the immediate area of the blast(s), leave as soon as you can.
  • To keep safe, move away from the area. Avoid crowds, unattended cars and trucks, public transportation, and damaged buildings.
  • Hospitals and roads will become crowded quickly, which can make it difficult for emergency workers to care for severely injured patients. If you have loved ones who are not with you, and who are not in the area of the blast(s), call and tell them to avoid driving to the area.
  • Follow the instructions of local officials who are responding to this situation. Listen to the television news, radio, or Internet to stay informed.

Hours or days after the event

  • Until authorities learn more about the situation, stay away from the area of the blast(s).
  • Stay informed by turning to the radio, television, or Internet news for updated health and safety announcements during the immediate hours after the event.
  • Even if the bomb or explosion doesn’t cause physical injuries, it can cause fear, confusion, and uncertainty. It is normal to have strong feelings after such an event. You may feel sad, helpless, anxious, dazed, or even numb. These are all normal reactions to stress.
  • There is no simple fix to make things better right away. But there are actions that can help you, your family, and your community heal. Try to:
    • Follow a normal routine as much as possible.
    • Eat healthy meals. Be careful not to skip meals or to overeat.
    • Exercise and stay active.
    • Help other people in your community as a volunteer. Stay busy.
    • Accept help from family, friends, co-workers, or clergy. Talk about your feelings with them.
    • Limit your time around the sights and sounds of what happened. Don’t dwell on TV, radio, or newspaper reports on the tragedy.
  • If you or someone you know is having trouble dealing with the tragedy, ask for help. Asking for help is smart. Talk to a counselor, your doctor, or community organization, such as the suicide prevention hotline (1-800-273-TALK) or the American Red Cross (1-866-GET-INFO)

How to get more information

  • Federal, State, and local officials are working together to help people who have been affected by the blast and will provide updated information as soon as they learn more.
  • For more information on bombings and other types of mass casualties, go to Mass Casualties or call the CDC Hotline at 1-800-CDC-INFO.

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