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UK launches terror 'alert' advice

Home Office minister Caroline Flint launching the booklet.
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The British government says it will distribute leaflets advising people what to do in case of a terrorist attack.
London Heathrow Airport
Acts of terror
Great Britain

LONDON, England -- The British government has launched a public information leaflet backed by TV commercials designed to tell people what to do in the event of a terror attack.

Home Secretary David Blunkett said he did not want to raise unnecessary fears but the government wanted people to be "alert not alarmed" about possible terror threats.

"It (the leaflet) is all about helping you to do what you need to do and know what you need to know," he told BBC television.

"This could be from a terrorism attack all the way through to a major fire, to a flood, to a situation where you're actually trying to help other people."

Home Office minister Caroline Flint said: "The message is be prepared but get on with your everyday life."

The 22-page pamphlet is being delivered to all 25 million homes in the UK over the next month in an £8.3 million ($15.3m) public information drive.

It includes details on the operation of mass decontaminations after a chemical, biological or radiological attack, basic first aid and guidance on how to prevent a terror attack.

The leaflet also includes a list of useful items householders should keep at home including bottled water, tinned food, battery radio, torch, spare batteries, first aid kit, mobile phone and cash.

It has been written by government officials and experts from the emergency services, the Security Service MI5, the Chief Medical Officer and the Emergency Planning Society.

President of the UK Association of Chief Police Officers, Chris Fox, said he believed the pamphlet would inform people who have become used to the "convenience culture" of what they must do in an emergency.

"In recent incidents where we have evacuated people from flood we found people quite surprised that they didn't have water -- they were quite surprised not to have things that they have got used to," he said.

"Do people know where to turn their water off? Do you have a radio that works off batteries?

"There are sensible, simple things that people can do to ease themselves through a crisis."

During the launch of the booklet in central London, the chairman of the Emergency Planning Society, John Asquith, said he believed Britain would score nine or even 10 out of 10 for its current levels of preparedness for an emergency incident.

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