Written by Andy Lam
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Thursday, 19 August 2004

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Stop, Drop and Roll

Washington, DC - In response to continuing questions and concerns about individual security during these uncertain times, the Department of Homeland Security has issued new and sweeping guidelines to help individuals maintain their personal safety.

The guide, entitled "Simply Safe: Steps You Can Take to be More Securer In Your Person", is available on the Department of Homeland Security's Web site. The guide offers practical advice on how to recognize, respond and react to a number of threat types.

"We are very proud of these new guidelines," said Tom Ridge, Secretary of Homeland Security, "our focus has been so laser-like on the big threats that we'd almost forgotten John Q. Public; ‘Simply Safe' will rectify this situation."

A preview of the guide was made available to the media. The document, which runs upward of 1200 pages, includes an introduction inexplicably penned by Martha Stewart. In her introduction, Ms. Stewart writes, "Nothing is more important to domestic tranquility as domestic security. The most lovely home isn't important if you and your loved ones are dead or tragically injured. This guide will help you make yourself Simply Safe - and is there any other state you'd care to be in these days?"

What is curious about the guide are the types of emergencies it includes. For example, there is a lengthy section on safety related to moving vehicles:

"When being pursued by a moving car, truck, boat, train or aircraft, it is important to remember that the vehicle can probably move more quickly than you can. Therefore, do not attempt of outrun a moving vehicle but rather run away from the vehicle at an angle of not less than five degrees and not more than 175 degrees."

Another section touched on eluding pursuit by an attacker on foot:

"In an urban environment, buildings may appear to be ideal hiding places - and in some cases this is true; but remember, what goes up, must come down. Avoid the natural inclination to run up the stairs or take the elevator to the roof. Once there, you will be trapped and easily captured. The same holds true for fleeing into basements."

On dealing with flammable materials:

"If you should be in the unfortunate position of catching on fire, remember three simple words - stop, drop and roll. These words may save your life. This is particularly important if you find yourself on fire near drums of fuel. Your flaming clothing may be the only catalyst needed to create a tragic conflagration. Remember - stop, drop and role."

On the food safety:

"The US Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration are committed to keeping America safe from unhealthy or injurious foodstuffs. As an American, you too have a role in this important endeavor. Be certain to check the sell-by date on the food you purchase for your family and observe all of the safe handling information. The terrorists would like nothing better than for American's to suffer from eating bad pork."

On operating power tools:

"When operating power equipment, be sure to wear task-specific safety gear. Goggles to protect the eyes, gloves the hands, a sturdy steel-toed boot and a helmet combine to create a personal shield between you and danger."

When asked whether these seemingly obvious rules would actually have any impact on people's safety, Secretary Ridge became visibly testy, "Listen, you'd think that these things would be known, but let me tell you, these terrorists work in wily ways. Often, they operate as sinister fifth column, lulling American's into a sense of complacency. It is in exactly this type of situation that people lower their guard and don't let the meat thaw fully or run around on fire. We need to make sure these things end."

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The story above is a satire or parody. It is entirely fictitious.

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