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
- Create fear among the public.
- Try to convince citizens that their
government is powerless to prevent
- Get immediate publicity for their
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
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.
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
and strange devices to the police or
- 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 transactions.
- Work with building owners to ensure
the following items are
located on each floor of the building:
- Portable, battery-operated radio
and extra batteries.
- Several flashlights
and extra batteries.
- First aid kit and manual.
- Hard hats and dust masks.
- Fluorescent tape to rope off
Terrorists have frequently used explosive
devices as one of their most common
weapons. Terrorists do not have to look
far to find 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 financial, 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.
Parcels that should make you suspicious:
- Are unexpected or from someone
unfamiliar to you.
- Have no return address, or have one
that can’t be verified as legitimate.
- Are marked with restrictive endorsements
such as “Personal,” “Confidential,” or “Do
- Have protruding wires or aluminum
foil, strange odors, or stains.
- Show a city or state in the postmark
that doesn’t match the return address.
- Are of unusual weight given their
size, or are lopsided or oddly shaped.
- Are marked with threatening language.
- Have inappropriate or unusual labeling.
- Have excessive postage or packaging
material, such as masking tape and string.
- Have misspellings of common words.
- Are addressed to someone no longer
with your organization or are otherwise
- Have incorrect titles or titles without
- Are not addressed to a specific person.
- Have hand-written or poorly typed
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
During an Explosion
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 floors
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 officials or
others still exiting the building.
If you are trapped in debris:
- If possible, use a flashlight
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 filter. 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
- Shout only as a last resort. Shouting
can cause a person to inhale dangerous
amounts of dust.
If you require more information about
any of these topics, the following resource
may be helpful.
for the Unexpected.
Document providing preparation guidelines
a terrorist attack or similar emergency.
Available online at http://www.redcross.org/services/disaster/0,1082,0_589_,00.html