Terrorism and Intentional Acts

Terrorism can take the form of explosive devices, active shooter incidents, or biological, chemical, radiological/nuclear, or cyber attacks.

Table of Contents


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.

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.

Before Terrorism and Intentional Acts

  • 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.
  • 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.

During Terrorism and Intentional Acts

  • 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.
  • In an active shooter situation, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) recommends that you Run, Hide, Fight

After Terrorism and Intentional Acts

  • 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.

Additional Resources

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