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Last Updated: Monday, 26 July, 2004, 15:54 GMT 16:54 UK
Terror advice pamphlet unveiled
Men in masks at Bank Tube Station
Emergency services have simulated a terror attack in London
An 8m government campaign to help the public prepare for terror attacks and other emergencies has been launched.

Advice booklets will be sent to every UK household and a series of radio and television adverts begins on Monday.

The 22-page booklet has first aid advice, contact numbers and practical tips such as keeping supplies of tinned food, bottled water and batteries.

The Home Office says the campaign is in response to research showing the public wanted more practical advice.

Launching the booklet, Home Office minister Caroline Flint said it is not in response to a specific or heightened threat.

She said: "At the moment we don't think there is an imminent threat (of a terrorist attack) but we have to be on our guard.

"What we have tried to do here is provide information that is easy to understand - very practical, very straightforward."

Is the pamphlet a good idea?

She said that the booklet's key message in the event of a major disaster is to "get in, stay in and tune in" for more detailed advice.

The pamphlet was launched on Monday by Ms Flint alongside representatives from safety pressure groups and the Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo).

Chris Fox, president of Acpo, told BBC News Online that people are less likely to plan for emergencies because they have been "weaned away from risk".

"People are less used to thinking about having stocks of food because they can access shops and cash machines at all times," he said.

Save a life

Also at the launch, Red Cross chief executive Sir Nicholas Young said he hopes the booklet will encourage more people to take first aid courses.

He said: "Seventy percent of incidents which require first aid intervention involve family and friends.

"There can't be a better reason for wanting to save a life than the fact that you might save someone close to you."

Earlier, shadow chancellor Oliver Letwin said the information campaign would not necessarily reassure anybody unless the government also trained people.

8 million for a campaign of this sort is not a bad spend of money
Mike Grannatt

Most computers will open PDF documents automatically, but you may need to download Adobe Acrobat Reader.
"It is a bit like issuing a new car with a set of instructions on how to change a tyre," he said.

"It's good to read the instructions but you physically need to change the wheel or the tyre before you fully understand."

Mike Grannatt - who recently headed the cabinet office's civil contingencies secretariat - agreed specific instructions could be given to groups such as tube users, on the underground system.

But he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that information being delivered to 20 million households had to be robust and simple, to ensure people had quick access to help.

Mr Grannatt said: "I think that 8 million for a campaign of this sort - which is rather less than the cost of a daily newspaper for each household involved - is not a bad spend of money."

The BBC's Margaret Gilmore
"Critics say there is not enough emphasis on how to behave during an attack"

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