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 terrorism.
  • 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.

Terrorism Preparedness

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 for a terrorist event in much the same way you prepare for other disasters. 

The following are general guidelines for preparing for a terrorist event:

  • 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.  Your 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 transactions.