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Emergency Response Guide: Terrorism


The threat of terrorism is being closely monitored by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) working with other federal, state and local agencies, as well as our foreign counterparts and allies around the world by sharing and exchanging intelligence. Since the tragic events of 9/11 much has been learned. Government officials appear to have a better understanding and insight as to the types of threats terrorists present. There is more cooperation between the government and the private sector. We also realize that even with the vigilant preventive measures our country has instituted, it still may not prevent another act of terrorism on our soil. That is why we need to work together to be prepared as best we can to respond to an act of terrorism.

Terrorist Attack

In the event of a terrorist attack, the actions you take could help to minimize the extent of damage, injury, and, most importantly, loss of life. Terrorists may look to spread fear through an explosion, chemical agent, biological attack, or through a nuclear incident. It is important to increase your knowledge and awareness of what to do in reacting to these threats.

  •   In the event of an explosion, determine whether it is safer to evacuate the area or shelter-in-place.
  •   Be alert to falling debris.
  •   Do not use radios, cell phones, or electronic equipment in the immediate area; it could activate a secondary explosive device.
  •   Try to account for all staff and visitors. Determine extent of any injuries and damage.
  •   Maintain contact with first responders: police, fire, EMS for additional instructions.
  •   It may be necessary to shut down utilities.
  • Call 911, evacuate if safe to do so.
  • If you shelter in place, turn off air-conditioning and heating system. Try to seal off room, close doors/windows.
  • Interior rooms may offer better protection.
  • Monitor radio/TV for situational updates.
  • If physically exposed to the chemical, remove all clothing and any items in contact with your body, seal in a plastic bag.
  • If possible, shower. If you are unable to shower, wash face and hands with soap and warm water. Flush eyes with clean water.
  • Obtain medical assistance as quickly as possible.
  • Call 911; follow instructions of medical personnel/first responders.
  • If physically exposed, remove and bag any clothing or other items you are wearing that may have come into contact with an infectious substance.
  • Seek medical assistance as quickly as possible.
  • Isolation may be necessary.        
  • Follow all warning system alerts.
  • Monitor radio/TV for updated news reports.
  • If evacuation is necessary, listen for traffic advisories. Keep windows closed; turn off air conditioning and/or heating system.
  • If necessary to shelter-in-place, took to move to the lowest level in your building.
  • Cover and filter your mouth and nose to prevent breathing in radioactive dust.
  • Discard any food items that may have been contaminated.
  • If physically exposed, remove clothing, seal in a plastic bag and shower thoroughly.
  • Seek medical assistance for any unusual symptoms, i.e., nausea due to radiation exposure.