Two Men Standing in the Aftermath of a Terrorist AttackThroughout human history, there have been many threats to the security of nations. These threats have brought about large-scale losses of life, the destruction of property, widespread illness and injury, the displacement of large numbers of people, and devastating economic loss.

Types of Terrorism

Recent technological advances and ongoing international political unrest are components of the increased risk to national security. Acts of terrorism include:

  • Threats of terrorism
  • Assassinations
  • Kidnappings
  • Hijackings
  • Bomb scares and bombings
  • Cyber attacks (computer-based)
  • Use of chemical, biological, nuclear and radiological weapons

Terrorism may involve devastating acts using weapons of mass destruction. These weapons range from chemical agents, biological hazards, radiological or nuclear devices, and other explosives. The primary objective of a terrorist is to create widespread fear. High-risk targets for acts of terrorism include military and civilian government facilities, international airports, large cities, and high-profile landmarks. Terrorists might also target large public gatherings, water and food supplies, utilities, and corporate centers. Further, terrorists are capable of spreading fear by sending explosives or chemical and biological agents through the mail.

Within the immediate area of a terrorist event, you would need to rely on police, fire, and other officials for instructions. However, you can prepare in much the same way you would prepare for other crisis events.

General Guidelines

  • Be aware of your surroundings. Note the location of emergency exits, pay phones, fire alarms and fire extinguishers. Plan how to get out in the event of an emergency.
  • Move or leave if you feel uncomfortable or if something does not seem right.
  • Take precautions when traveling. Be aware of conspicuous or unusual behavior. Do not accept packages from strangers. Do not leave luggage unattended. You should promptly report unusual behavior, suspicious or unattended packages, and strange devices to the police or security personnel.
  • Be prepared to do without services you normally depend on-electricity, telephone, natural gas, gasoline pumps, cash registers, ATMs, and Internet transactions.

If There Is a Terrorist Attack or Threat

  • Stay calm.
  • Be vigilant. Look out for secondary hazards such as falling debris, suspicious packages or persons. Report any concerns to public safety authorities.
  • Follow the instructions of emergency service personnel.
  • Avoid spreading rumors - confirm information with a credible source.

Incident Specific Information