Terrorism Facts
Bomb Threat
Chemical Agents
If Disaster Strikes


A tool to combat terrorism. Threat Conditions characterize the risk of terrorist attack. Protective Measures are the steps that will be taken by government and the private sector to reduce vulnerabilities. The Homeland Security Advisory System establishes five Threat Conditions with associated suggested Protective Measures:


Click on Condition for Description of Threat Level


Terrorism: Preparing for the Unexpected (Spanish)
Anthrax: Questions And Answers (English) (Spanish)
Letter and Package Bomb Indicators
Coping with Terrorism



Terrorism is 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, to try to convince citizens that their government is powerless to prevent terrorism, and to get immediate publicity for their causes.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) categorizes terrorism in the United States as one of two types--domestic terrorism or international terrorism. Domestic terrorism involves groups or individuals whose terrorist activities are directed at elements of our government or population without foreign direction. International terrorism involves groups or individuals whose terrorist activities are foreign-based and/or directed by countries or groups outside the United States or whose activities transcend national boundaries.


Biological agents are infectious microbes or toxins used to produce illness or death in people, animals or plants. Biological agents can be dispersed as aerosols or airborne particles. Terrorists may use biological agents to contaminate food or water because they are extremely difficult to detect. Chemical agents kill or incapacitate people, destroy livestock or ravage crops. Some chemical agents are odorless and tasteless and are difficult to detect. They can have an immediate effect (a few seconds to a few minutes) or a delayed effect (several hours to several days).

Biological and chemical weapons have been used primarily to terrorize an unprotected civilian population and not as a weapon of war. This is because of fear of retaliation and the likelihood that the agent would contaminate the battlefield for a long period of time. The Persian Gulf War in 1991 and other confrontations in the Middle East were causes for concern in the United States regarding the possibility of chemical or biological warfare. While no incidents occurred, there remains a concern that such weapons could be involved in an accident or be used by terrorists.


Nuclear Power Plant Safety Fact
Radiological Safety Facts
Disaster Supplies Kit (English) (Spanish) (Vietnamese)


For additional information the following web sites may be useful:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
U.S. Department of Energy:
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services:
Federal Emergency Management Agency:
Environmental Protection Agency:
John Hopkins University:
Red Cross:
North Carolina Government Homeland Security:
The Department of Homeland Security
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Designed by Jerren Saunders
Last Updated: June 12, 2002