Terrorism is a broad term that describes 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 and to try to convince citizens that their government is powerless to prevent terrorism. The effects of terrorism can include a significant number of casualties, structural damage to buildings, and disruptions in basic services such as:

  • Communications
  • Electricity
  • Healthcare
  • Public transportation
  • Water supply

How to Prepare

You can prepare to deal with a terrorist incident by adapting many of the same techniques used to prepare for other crises:

  • Be alert and aware of the surrounding area. The very nature of terrorism suggests that there may be little or no warning.
  • Learn where emergency exits are located. Think ahead about how to evacuate a building, subway, or congested public area in a hurry. Learn where staircases are located.
  • Notice your immediate surroundings. Be aware of heavy or breakable objects that could move, fall, or break in an explosion.
  • Take precautions when traveling. Be aware of conspicuous or unusual behavior. Do not accept packages from strangers and do not leave luggage unattended.