This morning’s blast in Times Square failed to harm anyone, disrupt the morning commute or cause severe damage. Authorities – from the NYPD to the FBI to the ATF – are looking into it, but for now we don’t know who did it, with what or if there’s more to come.
If this is brought out your inner boy or girl scout, our government’s agencies have some tips on how to be prepared. Unfortunately, the gallons of water, whistle and dust mask from your Department of Homeland Security supply kit won’t fit in your messenger bag. The National Counterterrorism Center, though, has some practical advice.
NCTC’s Counterterrorism 2008 Calendar, a publicly-available download “designed for anyone concerned with counterterrorism or terrorist threats,” can tell you just how far to run the next time it happens.
For a 5-pound pipe bomb left outside, NCTC recommends you get 850 feet, or about three city blocks, away to avoid any shrapnel. (Guests at the Marriott hotel 4 blocks away from this morning’s explosion said they felt rumblings in their rooms). Don’t wait for the crosswalk sign to change.
The calendar also provides primers on biological incidents, forged documentation and the composition of plastic explosives, among others. Not recommended: the page on VX, a toxic nerve agent. There’s nothing you can do about it, and the symptoms make bouboes sound enticing.