Terrorism is the use of force or violence against persons or property in violation of
the criminal laws of the United States for purposes of intimidation, coercion, or
ransom. Terrorists often use threats to:
• Create fear among the public.
• Try to convince citizens that their government is powerless to prevent
• Get immediate publicity for their causes.
Acts of terrorism include threats of terrorism; assassinations; kidnappings; hijackings; bomb scares and bombings; cyber attacks (computer-based); and the use of
chemical, biological, nuclear and radiological weapons.
High-risk targets for acts of terrorism include military and civilian government
facilities, international airports, large cities, and high-profi le 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,
fi re, and other offi cials for instructions. However, you can prepare in much the
same way you would prepare for other crisis events.
The following are general guidelines:
• Be aware of your surroundings.
• 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.
• Learn where emergency exits are located in buildings you frequent. Plan how
to get out in the event of an emergency.
• Be prepared to do without services you normally depend on—electricity,
telephone, natural gas, gasoline pumps, cash registers, ATMs, and Internet
Work with building owners to ensure the following items are located on each
fl oor of the building:
– Portable, battery-operated radio and extra batteries.
– Several fl ashlights and extra batteries.
– First aid kit and manual.
– Hard hats and dust masks.
– Fluorescent tape to rope off dangerous areas.
Terrorists have frequently used explosive devices as one of their most common
weapons. Terrorists do not have to look far to fi nd out how to make explosive devices; the information is readily available in books and other information sources.
The materials needed for an explosive device can be found in many places including variety, hardware, and auto supply stores. Explosive devices are highly portable
using vehicles and humans as a means of transport. They are easily detonated from
remote locations or by suicide bombers.
Conventional bombs have been used to damage and destroy fi nancial, political,
social, and religious institutions. Attacks have occurred in public places and on city
streets with thousands of people around the world injured and killed.
If you receive a telephoned bomb threat, you should do the following:
• Get as much information from the caller as possible.
• Keep the caller on the line and record everything that is said.
• Notify the police and the building management.
If there is an explosion, you should:
• Get under a sturdy table or desk if things are falling around you. When they
stop falling, leave quickly, watching for obviously weakened fl oors and stairways. As you exit from the building, be especially watchful of falling debris.
• Leave the building as quickly as possible. Do not stop to retrieve personal possessions or make phone calls.
• Do not use elevators.
Once you are out:
• Do not stand in front of windows, glass doors, or other potentially hazardous
• Move away from sidewalks or streets to be used by emergency offi cials or others still exiting the building.
If you are trapped in debris:
• If possible, use a fl ashlight to signal your location to rescuers.
• Avoid unnecessary movement so you don’t kick up dust.
• Cover your nose and mouth with anything you have on hand. (Dense-weave
cotton material can act as a good fi lter. Try to breathe through the material.)
• Tap on a pipe or wall so rescuers can hear where you are.
• If possible, use a whistle to signal rescuers.
• Shout only as a last resort. Shouting can cause a person to inhale dangerous
amounts of dust.