What Is Terrorism?

Terrorism is a planned criminal act committed with the intent to create a state of fear in the public. It is usually done by a person or group whose goal is to further a political or ideological point of view. Terrorism can take the form of explosive devices, active shooter incidents, or biological, chemical, radiological/nuclear, or cyber attacks.

Why Prepare?

Terrorist attacks can happen anywhere and take many forms. Terrorist incidents may be large- or small-scale events, which could cause loss of life, destruction of property, widespread illness,  injury, and/or the displacement of large numbers of people.

  • Assemble an emergency kit.
  • Create and review your family emergency plan.
  • Be informed by receiving alerts, warnings, and public safety information before, during, and after emergencies. Download the Massachusetts Alerts app.
  • Be aware of your surroundings. This includes taking note of unusual behavior, suspicious packages, and strange devices. If you see something, say something to public safety officials or the police.
  • Find emergency exits in public buildings and venues and identify at least two ways to exit a building in case of an emergency.
  • Be cautious when traveling. Do not accept packages from strangers, watch others’ bags, or leave your own luggage unattended.
  • Follow instructions from public safety officials.
  • Continue to monitor media for emergency information.
  • Call 9-1-1 to report emergencies.
    • If you receive a bomb threat, get as much information as possible from the caller, and record everything that is said.
    • Do not touch any suspicious packages.
  • If you are asked to evacuate, follow instructions from local officials and bring your emergency kit.
  • Continue to monitor media for emergency information.
  • Follow instructions from public safety officials.
  • Implement your family communication plan. If you are separated, each family member should call your designated contact to let them know you are safe and make plans to reunite.
  • Call 2-1-1 to obtain shelter locations and other disaster information.  
  • Be a good neighbor. Check with elders, relatives, and neighbors who may need additional assistance to ensure their safety.

Types of Terrorism and Intentional Acts

For information and safety tips for before, during, and after specific types of terrorism and intentional acts, see the links below:

Active Shooter

Biological Threats

Chemical Threats

Cyber Incidents

Explosions

Nuclear Blast

Radiological Dispersion Device