How to Survive Terrorist Threats

Terrorism can be defined as the use or threat of force or violence against property or persons in violation of the United States’ criminal laws. It is used to intimidate, coerce or ransom. Terrorists frequently use threats to create fear in the public to convince citizens that their government can’t prevent terrorist acts and to gain immediate attention for their causes.


Threats of terrorist acts include assassinations kidnappings hijackings bomb scares bombings and computer-based cyberattacks. Targets that pose a high risk include civilian and military government facilities, large cities, and landmarks with high profile.


Terrorists may also attack large public gatherings, water, food, utilities, and corporate centers. Terrorists can spread fear via mail, sending chemical and biological agents or explosives. For instructions, police, fire, or other officials would be your best sources of information in the event of a terrorist act. But you can prepare just as you would for other emergencies.


Preparing for terror


Pay attention to your surroundings wherever you may be. Terrorism can happen without warning. Be aware of your surroundings when you travel. Be wary of unusual or conspicuous behavior. Never accept packages from strangers. Do not leave luggage undisturbed. Report unusual behavior, suspicious packages and strange devices immediately to the police or security staff.


Don’t be afraid of moving or leaving if you feel uneasy or something is not right. Find out where emergency exits can be found in buildings you frequent. If you are entering unfamiliar buildings, make sure to note the location of exits. You should plan how you will get out of buildings, subways, congestion-prone public areas or traffic. Notice where the staircases are located. Be aware of heavy or broken objects that could be moved, fallen or exploded.


Prepare a disaster supply package at home. Learn first aid. Take the supplies that you would need if you were forced to evacuate quickly and separate them. Then, put them in a bag or container. Learn the different types of fire extinguishers available and how to locate them. It is important to know the exact location and availability of hard-hats in any buildings where you spend a lot.


Bomb threats


You should get as much information as possible from a caller who has made a bomb threat. Keep the caller on the telephone and take down all information. If possible, inform the police and the building managers. You should not touch any suspicious packages if you’re notified about a bomb threat. You must immediately clear any suspicious packages from the area and inform the police. Avoid standing in front windows or glass doors when you are evacuating a building.


You should not block the sidewalks or streets that emergency officials and others may use to exit the building. Suspected Parcels & Mails: Be cautious about suspicious parcels and letters. They could contain explosives, chemical, or biological agents. You should exercise caution at your work place. Some common signs that postal inspectors have noticed over the years are parcels that contain:


  •       If they are unexpected or come from someone new to you. Are marked with restrictive endorsements like “Personal,” or “Confidential” or “Do Not X-ray.”


  •       Protruding wires, aluminum foil, unusual odors, or staining


  •       In the postmark, indicate a city/state that isn’t the return address.


  •       Are unusually weighed, or have unusually odd shapes.


  •       Are marked with any threatening language


  •       Do not use unusual or inappropriate labeling


  •       Do not send excessive postage.


  •       Common words may be misspelled


  •       Send them to someone who is no longer associated with your organization, or are otherwise out-of-date.


  •       Do not use incorrect titles or a title that isn’t associated with a name


  •       They are not addressed to a particular person.


  •       Handwritten or badly typed addresses


If suspicious packages and envelopes contain explosives, you should take additional precautions. Put suspicious envelopes and packages in a bag or another container to stop leakage. Never touch or sniff suspicious mail.


If you don’t own a container, cover your envelope or package with whatever is available (e.g. clothes, paper, trash cans, etc.). Cover the envelope or package with anything you have (e.g., clothing, paper, trash can, etc.) and don’t remove it. You can leave the room, close the door, or create a barrier to stop others from entering. Use soap and water to wash your hands to avoid spreading powdery substances to your skin.


If you are working, notify your building security representative or a supervisor about the incident. He should immediately inform the police. List all individuals who were present when the suspicious letter or package was detected. This list should be given to the local law enforcement officers and public health officials. If you are home, notify the police.


Man-Made Disaster


Man-made disasters can be caused by negligence, human incompetence, or human intention. Natural disasters are caused by natural hazards. Crime, arson, civil disorder and cyber-attacks are all examples of man-made catastrophes.

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