Hazard Information

When terrorists are looking to strike, they are looking for visible targets where they can avoid detection before and after an attack. They look to strike at airports, large cities, major events, resorts, and high-profile landmarks.

General Tips

Prepare for terrorist attacks by adapting many of the same techniques used by us to prepare for other crises:

  • Be alert and aware of the surrounding area. The nature of terrorism suggests that there may be little or no warning.
  • Take precautions when traveling. Be aware of suspicious or unusual behavior.
  • Do not take or accept packages from strangers. Do not leave your luggage unattended.
  • Familiarize yourself with where emergency exits are located. Think ahead about how to evacuate a building, subway, or a congested public area in a hurry. Learn where staircases are located.
  • Notice your immediate surroundings. Be aware of heavy or breakable objects that could move, fall, or break in an explosion.

Prepare for a Building Explosion

Terrorists are known to use explosives to cause building collapses and fires. People who live or work in multi-level buildings can and should do the following:

  • Review emergency evacuation procedures. Familiarize yourself with emergency exit locations.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher in proper working order. Know their locations, and be instructed in their use. Have a basic knowledge of first aid.
  • Keep the following items on hand, portable battery-operated flashlights and a radio with extra batteries.
  • First aid kit with first aid manual.
  • Use fluorescent tape to rope off dangerous areas.

Bomb Threats

If you should receive a bomb threat, try to obtain as much information from the caller as possible. Try to keep the caller on the line and talking and record everything the caller has said. Notify the police, and building management if pertaining to a business.

  • Do not touch suspicious packages.
  • Clear areas around suspicious packages and notify the police.
  • When evacuating buildings, avoid standing in front of windows or other potentially hazardous areas.
  • Do not restrict sidewalks or streets to be used by emergency officials.

During a building explosion, get out of the building as quickly and safely as possible. If items are falling from the ceiling, get under a sturdy table or desk. If there is a fire:

  • Stay low to the floor and exit the building as fast as possible.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a wet cloth.
  • When approaching a closed door, use the palm of your hand and your forearm to feel the lower, middle, and upper parts of the door. If it is not hot, brace yourself against the door and open it slowly. If it is hot to the touch, do not open the door, seek another way out.
  • Stay below the smoke at all times, heavy smoke and poisonous gases collect first among the ceiling.

After the explosion and you are trapped:

  • Use a flashlight if available.
  • Stay in your area so you don't kick up dust. Cover your mouth with a handkerchief or clothing.
  • Tap on a pipe or wall so rescuers can hear where you are located.
  • Shout only as a last resort. Shouting can cause you to inhale amounts of dust.
  • Wait for trained emergency personnel to arrive before attempting to rescue people that are trapped.

Chemical Agents

Chemical agents are poisonous gases, liquids, or solids that have toxic effects on people, animals, or plants. Most chemical agents cause serious injuries or death. The severity of injuries depends on the type and amount of chemical agent used and the duration of exposure. When a chemical agent attack has occurred, authorities would instruct citizens to either seek shelter where they are and seal the premises or evacuate immediately.

Biological Agents

Because biological agents cannot necessarily be detected and may take time to grow and cause a disease, it is almost impossible to know that a biological attack has occurred. If a biological agent affects a person, they require immediate attention from a medical professional. Some agents are contagious, and victims may need to be quarantined. Also, some medical facilities may not receive victims for fear of contaminating the hospital population.