Chemical and biological
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, to try to
convince citizens that their government is powerless to prevent
terrorism, and to get immediate publicity for their causes.
Acts of terrorism range from threats of terrorism,
assassinations, kidnappings, hijackings, bomb scares and
bombings, cyber attacks (computer-based), to the use of chemical,
biological and nuclear weapons. High-risk targets 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, they are
capable of spreading fear by sending explosives or chemical and
biological agents through the mail.
In 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.
Preparing for Terrorism
- Wherever you are, be aware of your surroundings. The very
nature of terrorism suggests there may be little or no
- Take precautions when traveling. Be aware of conspicuous or
unusual behavior. Do not accept packages from strangers. Do not
leave luggage unattended. Unusual behavior, suspicious packages
and strange devices should be promptly reported to the police
or security personnel.
- Do not be afraid to move or leave if you feel uncomfortable
or if something does not seem right.
- Learn where emergency exits are located in buildings you
frequent. Notice where exits are when you enter unfamiliar
buildings. Plan how to get out of a building, subway or
congested public area or traffic. Note where staircases are
located. Notice heavy or breakable objects that could move,
fall or break in an explosion.
- Assemble a disaster supply kit at home and learn first aid.
Separate the supplies you would take if you had to evacuate
quickly, and put them in a backpack or container, ready to
- Be familiar with different types of fire extinguishers and
how to locate them. Know the location and availability of hard
hats in buildings in which you spend a lot of time.