Army prepares public for missile attack

Home Front Command to mail brochures about potential conventional and non-conventional threats.

gas mask 88 (photo credit: )
gas mask 88
(photo credit: )
While the IDF does not foresee a war in the immediate future, the Home Front Command launched an unprecedented media campaign on Sunday, and in the coming days will begin mailing brochures to homes across the country explaining to civilians how to prepare for missile onslaughts against Israel. The campaign is led by Col. Hilik Sofer, head of the Population Division at the IDF Home Front Command, and Lt.-Col. Ariella Ben-Avraham, head of the unit's public relations department. Part of the campaign, which cost the IDF NIS 5.2 million, includes brochures that will be sent to homes in various languages as well as a number of commercials - including one intended for children - on radio and television. One of the commercials features Gadi Sukenik, until recently anchorman for Channel 2 News. The campaign's slogan is "Being ready means being protected." "The campaign is one of the main lessons we learned from the Second Lebanon War," a senior HFC officer said Sunday. "This is our way of helping the public get ready for the possibility that war will break out in the future." The brochure provides details about potential conventional and nonconventional threats. It recommends that civilians prepare basic supplies - water, flashlights, batteries and plastic sealing paper - now, ahead of a possible missile attack on Israel. The information can also be accessed at the HFC's new Web site "Emergency situations including a war can break out without any time to prepare," the brochure reads. The campaign was initially planned to be launched several months ago, but Defense Minister Ehud Barak decided to postpone its publication out of concern that the Syrians might interpret it as Israeli preparations for war. The brochure explains which room of a house that does not have a bomb shelter to designate as a "safe room" and enter during a missile attack. The brochure does not focus on the use of gas masks during missile attacks; it emphasizes safety measures that should be taken in a conventional missile attack. The Defense Ministry is currently in the process of collecting from the public and rehabilitating close to seven million gas masks. "The best way to protect oneself during a missile attack is to stay indoors in a bomb shelter or an inside room that does not have windows to the outside," a top HFC officer said. "During the Second Lebanon War, 90 percent of the civilians who were hurt from Hizbullah rockets were outside."