There is usually little or no warning for a terrorist incident. An individual must use his/her own discretion during a terrorist incident as to how to respond. However, best practices for a terrorist incident are listed below:
At all times:
- Be aware of your surroundings.
- Note suspicious items, packages, or vehicles that seem out of place and report them to the appropriate authorities.
- Note suspicious activities or behaviors and report them to the appropriate authorities.
Potential targets recognized by the U.S. Government:
- Airports, seaports, and harbors. Major cities or landmarks.
- Large crowded areas such as malls and sporting venues.
- Infrastructure such as power plants, transportation centers, or communication centers.
- Business and industrial centers such as Wall Street.
Types of terrorist attacks:
- Explosive devices cause detonations which throw debris into the air and start fires. Explosive devices can be left in place and detonated remotely or carried by a vehicle or even an individual. Explosive devices are used in most terrorist attacks.
- Biological agents such as bacteria, viruses, and toxins typically make people sick.
- Chemical agents are toxic to people, plants, or animals, and are found in the form of solids, liquids, vapors, or aerosols.
- Radioactive attacks include nuclear explosions and “dirty bombs.” A “dirty bomb” is designed to spread radioactive material over a region.
Protective measures to implement following a terrorist incident:
- Distance yourself from the location of the incident and seek shelter as soon as possible.
- Follow instructions from Public Safety and other Emergency Response personnel.
- If exposed to a chemical agent or if you have trouble breathing, use your clothing as a simple filter by covering your face and breathing through your clothing.
- If exposed to a chemical, biological, or radioactive agent, change out of any contaminated clothing, shower, put on clean clothing, and seek medical attention as soon as possible.
- Seek medical attention as soon as possible for any injuries, if you have trouble breathing, or believe you were exposed to a contaminating agent.
For additional information see the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) website on terrorism.