House in Ashkelon after Qassam hit
Photo: Amir Cohen
IDF instructs Ashkelon residents on rocket attack protection
Pamphlets detailing emergency procedures handed out in southern city following Thursday's barrage

Soldiers from the IDF's Home Front Command handed out pamphlets containing specific guidelines on how to act in case of a rocket attack to residents of Ashkelon Friday morning.


The main guideline stated that residents must take cover in a secure room upon hearing the "Color Red" alert system.


A total of 10 rockets hit Ashkelon on Thursday, prompting Defense Minister Ehud Barak to order that the 'Color Red' system be made operational. The warning system is expected to be up and running shortly. It is currently being used in the rocket-battered town of Sderot.


An IDF official said that from the moment the alert system sounds, residents have 15 seconds to take cover.


As part of the IDF's efforts to implement the lessons learned in wake of the Second Lebanon War, the emergency procedures and suggested protective measures will be posted on the Home Front Command's website. Last week an independent military broadcast studio was established in the hopes of providing an effective means of relaying crucial information to Israel's civilian population during a time of national crisis.


"Our objective is to save human lives while not stirring any unnecessary panic among the residents (of Ashkelon)," an IDF official said.


The Home Front Command's emergency guidelines are as follows:


In a structure that does not contain a secure room, residents are asked to:


1. Enter the room farthest from where the rocket is expected to land and shut the door and windows.


2. Sit on the floor below window sill level near one of the internal walls.


3. Residents of the top floor must run to the stairwell and walk down to the floor beneath them. They can use the stairwell or hallway as a secure room.


Residents who are outdoors during a rocket attack are asked to take cover in the nearest structure, or, if there is no structure close by, lie on the ground and protect their heads with their hands.


Residents who are driving during a rocket attack are asked to pull over, step out of the car and enter the nearest structure. If in an open area – residents are to lie down and protect their heads with their hands.


According to the guidelines, residents may leave the secure rooms five minutes after the landing of the rocket, unless instructed otherwise. Those near the rocket's landing site are asked to prevent people from approaching and alert security personnel. 


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