National Home Front drill begins

IDF to test SMS warning system, distribute protective kits.

gas mask exercise 311 aj [file] (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
gas mask exercise 311 aj [file]
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
The IDF Home Front Command, the National Emergency Authority, search and rescue forces and other institution began on Sunday morning to prepare for the annual National Home Front drill, set to begin later that day.
Local Israeli authorities, government offices, security organizations, the education system as well as public and private organizations were also set to participate in the exercise.
The drill, aimed at improving national readiness and responses of the home front to emergencies, was expected to improve cooperation between the various organizations and institutions and prepare them for different scenarios.
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The exercise, taking place for the fourth consecutive year, was scheduled and planned as a part of the IDF’s 2010 training plan, and is an additional measure taken by Israel to prepare the public and the local authorities for emergency periods. 
A 1.5-minute-long siren will be heard throughout the country on Wednesday, May 26 at 11 a.m. In addition, between June 25 and June 27, field training exercises will take place, simulating different scenarios. Additional sirens will be heard during these exercises.
The education system will also take part in the exercise. Students and teachers will simulate entering the designated secured areas. 
This year the exercise will focus on the preparedness of the local authorities during emergencies. The exercise will replicate emergency scenarios in more than 30 local authorities throughout Israel in cooperation with the Home Front Command. 
IDF to test SMS warning system, distribute protective kits
The IDF Spokesperson and the IDF Home Front Command ask the Israeli public to take part in the exercise and be aware of instructions given by the Home Front Command, by entering designated secured areas when the siren is sounded, and remaining there for ten minutes.
The exercise will also examine warning systems on cellular phones. Civilians in certain areas may receive text messages that read "Have a nice day," signed by the IDF Home Front Command. 
In addition, the IDF Home Front Command will practice distributing protective kits to the public during emergency periods. The distribution points will be opened for one day on May 26th in several locations; Safed, Yokneam, Tira, Tzur Hadassah, Rishon LeZion, Petah Tikva, Holon and the Reading Power Station in Tel Aviv. Residents of these cities will receive invitations in the mail.
During the exercise, all essential services, including hospitals, public transportation, conventions and public events will continue to work as usual.
The IDF asks that anyone who fails to hear the siren contact the Home Front Command Information Center at #1207.