By Marian Lebor
June 2, 2009
The siren has just sounded and I’m sitting next to our secure room in the corner of the basement. We have two minutes to get there and are supposed to stay for ten minutes. I had to strain to hear the siren, because the wailing made the local dog population go barking mad. Needless to say, Chloe the cat has gone AWOL. I work in the opposite corner of the basement and I’m staying put for the moment, watching the exercise as it is reported on TV. There’s currently a slightly wacky information film featuring a man in drag who looks like Klinger from “Mash”.
The drill is called “Turning Point 3”, for reasons best known to the person whose job it is to dream up names for this type of national event. (Does anyone recall Turning Point 1 and 2?) The exercise is the largest ever in Israel's history, the idea being to test national and personal emergency preparedness.
The recommended equipment for the secure room is a three-day supply of water and non-perishable food; TV and/or Internet connected computer; battery-operated radio; emergency lighting, flashlight and batteries; emergency telephone numbers and a first aid kit. I have to admit that I only have some of these items.
Ten minutes are up. Most of the dogs have calmed down but Chloe has yet to emerge from whichever dark corner she has placed herself. I’m off to the supermarket: my state of preparedness for lunch is somewhat lacking.