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Terrorism is the unlawful use of force or violence by a person or group.

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The goal of terrorism is to intimidate or coerce societies or governments in an effort to promote political or ideological beliefs. These attacks can take many forms, and could happen at any time in any place. Terrorists typically exploit vulnerabilities, and may use technology, hazardous materials, biological agents or other methods to create devastating disruptions to the community. Terrorism thrives on fear. By planning how to respond to a terrorist attack, you can greatly improve your chances of survival. You can also lessen the impact of the attack by reducing the fear in the aftermath.

The New Hampshire Information and Analysis Center recommends that individuals be aware of their surroundings and report suspicious activities by calling 603-223-3860 which will be answered 24 hours a day or 9-1-1 (for more information, visit US Department of Homeland Security). If a situation seems uncomfortable or does not seem right, move or leave the location. Take precautions when traveling. Do not accept packages from strangers and do not leave luggage unattended.

Learn where emergency exits are located in buildings you frequent. Plan how to get out in the event of an emergency. Also, be prepared to do without services you normally depend on – electricity, telephone, natural gas, gasoline pumps, cash registers, Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs), and Internet transactions.

In case of a terrorist attack, you can find detailed information from local public safety agencies, and your local TV and Radio stations. Also, contact your local police department or local emergency management agency for preparedness information or visit the United States Department of Homeland Security website.

Take Action Before Terrorism

Some actions can be taken prior to a terrorist incident to prepare you and your family. This may include informing yourself about the risks that might impact your community and planning for how you may respond.

Steps to Be Ready

  1. Complete the Family Emergency Plan pdf file and discuss it as a family. This is a simple way of keeping each member of the family informed on critical information: where to reconnect should you become separated, who to call, and what you will do should a terrorist attack occur.
  2. Complete the Emergency Contacts Card pdf file and place one in your Emergency Kit.
  3. Prepare an Emergency Kit. The Emergency Kit should be easily accessible should you and your family be forced to shelter in place (stay at home) for a period of time.

Be Safe During Terrorism

If a terrorist attack occurs, it is important that you remain calm and follow instructions from local officials and emergency service personnel. You should be aware of your surroundings and watch for additional attacks. Listen to local TV and radio for directions and travel information and instructions from local officials. If you are in a position where the attack occurs near you, check for injuries and provide first-aid.

Be Safe In Your Home

  • If the disaster occurs near your home while you are there, check for damage using a flashlight. Do not light matches or candles or turn on electrical switches. Check for fires, fire hazards and other household hazards. Sniff for gas leaks, starting at the water heater. If you smell gas or suspect a leak, turn off the main gas valve, open windows, and get everyone outside quickly.
  • Shut off any other damaged utilities.
  • Confine or secure your pets.
  • Call your family contact – do not use the telephone again unless it is a life-threatening emergency. In some cases, cell phones will not work. Consider texting or other ways of communicating.
  • Check on your neighbors, especially those who are elderly or disabled.

Be Safe If There is an Explosion

  • Call 9-1-1.
  • Get under a sturdy table or desk if things are falling around you. When they stop falling, leave quickly, watching for obviously weakened floors and stairways. As you exit from the building, be especially watchful of falling debris.
  • Leave the building as quickly as possible. Crawl low to the floor if there is smoke. Do not stop to retrieve personal possessions or make phone calls.
  • Do not use elevators.
  • Check for fire and other hazards.
  • Once you are out, do not stand in front of windows, glass doors or other potentially hazardous areas.
  • Move away from sidewalks or streets to be used by emergency officials or others still exiting the building.
  • If you are trapped in debris:
    • Use a flashlight, if possible, to signal your location to rescuers.
    • Tap on a pipe or wall so rescuers can hear where you are.
    • If possible, use a whistle to signal rescuers.
    • Shout only as a last resort. Shouting can cause you to inhale dangerous amounts of dust.
    • Avoid unnecessary movement so you do not kick up dust.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with anything you have on hand. (Dense-weave cotton material can act as a good filter. Try to breathe through the material.)

Take Action After Terrorism

After a terrorist attack, expect heavy law enforcement involvement at the local, state and federal levels. These agencies will investigate the incident and the location will be treated as a crime scene. Your workplace or school may be closed, and there may be restrictions on domestic and international travel. You and your family may have to evacuate the area, as instructed by local law enforcement officials. Further, expect extensive media coverage and increased law enforcement presence, even if the attack did not occur in your community.

Terrorism Key Terms
Biological Threat
The deliberate release of germs or other harmful substances that can cause illness.
Chemical Attack
The deliberate release of toxic gases, liquids, or solids that can poison people and the environment.
The spread of harmful radiation through an explosion such as a "dirty bomb."
Nuclear Blast
The deliberate detonation of a nuclear device resulting in intense light, heat, radiation, and collateral damage.
The use of explosions to cause mortal injury or destruction of property. This may include use of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) or homemade bombs.

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