Bunkers, sealed rooms, gas masks and emergency procedures, are all part of life in Israel. Sadly, our neighbors have not come to terms with our existence and the average citizen is forced to be familiar with many types of emergency situations.
Armed guards at schools, armed guards on class trips, teachers carrying firearms, are all part of our everyday life. The 'Home Guard' must always be on guard.
During July and August 2006 Israel was hit with about 4,000 rockets, all aimed at civilian targets. This disrupted daily life, destroyed business, and took the lives of 42 Israeli citizens; both Jews and Arabs.
War and Emergency situations can occur at any time. Be prepared!
Conventional Rockets and Missiles
What Happens: When the rocket hits the ground, an explosion takes place which will damage property and people nearby.
Solution: Bomb shelters.
Every home built in Israel after 1967 must have a bomb shelter. I watched when my house was being built; the room is pure, rock solid, cement. The windows and doors are all designed for maximum protection. Our experience here in Israel has shown conclusively that people staying in the bomb shelters during conventional missile or rocket attacks, fare very well. During the Second Lebanon War, despite thousands of rockets, those in bomb shelters were unharmed.
Unconventional Rockers or Missiles containing chemicals
What Happens: When the missile hits the ground, there will be a relatively minor explosion, this will cause the spread of chemical matter. These chemical substances can enter the body in three ways; by breathing, by swallowing, and by absorbing it through the skin or eyes.
Solution: Wearing a gas mask and staying in a 'sealed room'. Every residence built in Israel since the 1990's must, by law, have a sealed room. Special windows and doors prevent any chemical substances from entering.
Note: It is important to keep bomb shelters and sealed rooms ready for emergencies. In some apartment buildings the bomb shelters have become storage places; filled with old bikes and junk. In times of war they will be unusable or uncomfortable. You should make sure these areas are clean and in good working order. Make sure the bathrooms work properly, so too the air conditioning or fans; keep the shelter comfortable with couches or beds. It is a good idea to have bottled water or food ready as well. Be prepared. Have a radio or TV handy so you can follow order from the 'Home Front'.
What if you don't have a bomb shelter?
Choose a room that has as many walls as possible separating between you and the outer walls of the building. Do not choose a room with a window to the outside, do not chose a room with a door to the outside. Choose the room with the fewest external walls or windows. If you must chose a room with a window, chose one with the smallest window. Hallways and stairways (staircase) are often a safe choice.
Bathrooms are not a good choice as the glass from the mirror could shatter and hit you.
If you live in an apartment building, under no circumstances should you stay in the top floor; it is the most dangerous. Most likely the missile will hit the roof and penetrate at least one floor downward. Get out.
How to Prepare a "Sealed Room"
Strengthen the Windows – This is designed to lessen the chance of being hit by shattered glass caused by the explosion.
Method A: Use clear tape all across the length and width of the window. Both sides of the window should be completely covered.
Method B: Tape plastic sheets on both sides of the window.
Seal the Window:
Seal the space between the glass and the window frame, and between frame and the wall. Make sure there is no space for air to come in. Use Nylon coverings over the entire area of the window, tape it to the wall. Criss-cross the entire window, now covered with nylon, with extra tape.
Entering the seal room, completion of the sealing, and exiting the seal room; should only be done after receiving instructions from the Home Guard.
Equipment You Should Have in the Sealed Room
Water – Have three liters of water per person per day. The Israeli Home Guard recommends preparing for three days.
Food - It is suggested to have prepared food in sealed containers.
Basic Emergency Equipment - Emergency lighting device or flashlight, radio, batteries, a fire extinguisher.
First Aid Kit – Have a basic first aid kit and make sure you know how to use it.
Material to seal the room – Plastic covers, tape etc.
Emergency Behavior If You Are Outdoors
In a built-up area: Enter the building and follow the directions for those in a building.
In an open area: Lie down on the ground, and protect your head with your hands.
If you are in a vehicle
In a built-up area: Carefully stop at the side of the road, exit the vehicle, and enter the nearest building or shelter.
In an open area: Carefully stop at the side of the road, exit the vehicle, lie down on the ground, and protect your head with your hands.
After 10 minutes, you may exit the secure space unless otherwise instructed.
It is important to stay far away from unidentified objects or a missile lying on the ground. In such an event, keep people away from the site, and call the police.
In addition to the physical preparations, there should also be
Emergency Phone Numbers
Home Guard 1207
Magen David Adom 101
Fire Department 102
Hazardous Materials Information Center
For more information, click on
Respect the Threat