Homeland Security

Homeland Security Advisory System 

The Homeland Security Advisory System was designed to provide a simple, straightforward means to communicate the federal government’s assessment of the level of risk of terrorist acts. The system provides warnings in the form of a set of graduated "threat conditions" that increase as the risk of the threat increases. At each threat condition, federal departments and agencies implement a corresponding set of "protective measures" to further reduce vulnerability or increase response capability during a period of heightened alert. There are also protective measures that every American can take to be better prepared.

The American Red Cross has developed a listing of appropriate actions that you can take as an individual, as a family, and in your neighborhood, schools, and businesses for each level of the Homeland Security Advisory System.

FEMA publication H-34, Are You Ready? An In-Depth Guide to Citizen Preparedness offers specific protective measures that you can take for an "Elevated Condition (Yellow)" threat level.

Regardless of the estimated level of threat of terrorist activity, it is always important for you and your family to take preparedness measures that will help you better manage any kind of emergency or disruptive situation, whether caused by terrorism, natural disasters, or other unforeseen events. This is also a good time for you to learn more about "sheltering in place" and how to prepare a room in your home in the event of a chemical or biological release.

We recommend that you take the following steps:

  • Develop a household disaster plan -- have a household meeting to discuss what members would do and how they would communicate in the event of an incident;
  • Assemble a disaster supply kit with food, water, and first aid supplies at home, at work, and for your car;
  • Be sure to have a battery operated radio and extra batteries to stay informed;
  • Have a list of emergency contact numbers, including fire, police, and hospitals, near the phone;
  • Review and practice evacuation plans;
  • Learn about community sheltering resources and how to "shelter in place;"
  • Check with school officials to determine their plans for emergency procedures;
  • Apartment residents should discuss emergency procedures with building managers;
  • Contact neighbors to discuss their plans and needs and how you can help each other;
  • If you have special needs, be sure to discuss your plans with family, friends, and your employers;
  • Be observant of any suspicious activity and report it to authorities;
  • Avoid high profile or symbolic locations;
  • Exercise caution when traveling; and
  • Schedule a course in first aid training and CPR and work with your local fire department, emergency managers, and law enforcement to help expand CERT training in your community.

If an event does happen, be sure to listen to what local authorities announce about the situation in surrounding areas.

Please also consider volunteering to support your first responders -- law enforcement, fire, emergency medical services, and emergency management -- disaster relief organizations, and community safety efforts. Not only will you be supporting your community, but you will learn more about how these vital services help protect us all every day. New Citizen Corps Councils are being formed every day check https://www.ready.gov/citizen-corps to see if your community has now started one.