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The tragic events of September 11, 2001 have left all of us asking, "If a terrorist attack happens here in Hawaii, what can we do to be prepared?"
The FBI defines terrorism as "the unlawful use of force or violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives." Significant terrorism threats we face today are Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD), consisting of Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical (NBC) weapons.
Although bombing has been the most popular method used in terrorist incidents in the United States, terrorism can occur in several forms. In recent years, terrorists throughout the world have used arson, hostile takeovers, and shootings to attain their political and social goals.
In the future, terrorists could use chemical or biological agents. Because the impact of exposure to some organisms, toxins and other biological agents may not cause an immediate illness or reaction, it may take some time for government officials to determine that such an attack has occurred.
In the event of an attack, the Department of Emergency Management (DEM) will instruct residents on the actions the public should take. It is important that you remain calm, cooperate fully with local officials and heed official instructions.
Important Emergency Public Information and instructions will be broadcast regarding personal protection measures, decontamination procedures and health warnings and advisories via the Emergency Alert System (EAS) broadcast over radio and television, as well as the print media.
Domestic and international terrorists can strike at any time. To combat the threat, the City and County of Honolulu has been working with all levels of government to develop and implement effective strategies for deterring, preventing, and responding to incidents.
The most important thing to remember is that you have a role in reducing the impact of terrorism on your lives.
AWARENESS BEFORE AN ATTACK
Prepare for the possibility of a terrorist incident in your area. Most terrorist activities are thwarted when people recognize and report unusual activity. Anyone can report something out of the ordinary and defeat a possible act of terrorism. Our best chance to detect and prevent a terrorist act in our community is to vigilantly report it.
Terrorists look for visible targets where they can avoid detection before or after an attack such as international airports, large cities, major international events, resorts and high-profile landmarks.
Be aware of your surroundings and suspicious activity. Only you know who or what belongs – or does not belong in your neighborhood and workplace.
Categories of Suspicious Activities
(Adapted from the United States Air Force Eagle Eyes program)
What can you do to help in the war on terrorism? One of our biggest assets in the war on terrorism is our citizens. What you see, hear, witness and report could be vital information to thwart a future event. Be aware of the following seven categories of suspicious activity that may be the precursor to a terrorist attack.
Surveillance: Someone recording or monitoring activities. This may include the use of cameras (either still or video), note taking, drawing diagrams, annotating on maps, or using binoculars or other vision-enhancing devices.
Elicitation: People or organizations attempting to gain information about operations, capabilities, or people. Elicitation attempts may be made by mail, fax, telephone, or in person. Examples could include getting a fax (or an e-mail or a telephone call, etc) asking for information on building security or number of security officers and deployment procedures... or the location of the security or managers office... or how many people frequent public common areas, etc.
Tests of security: Any attempts to measure reaction times to security breaches or to penetrate physical security barriers or procedures in order to assess strengths and weaknesses. Examples: a person who jumps over or onto a security fence to see how long it takes for police/security officers to respond; a suspicious driver approaches the main entrance and pretends to be lost or to have taken a wrong term, just to learn the procedures of how he is dealt with and how far into the facility he can get before being turned around; a person places a "smoke bomb" near the fence or throws it over the fence, just to learn how quickly police respond and what effect that has on facility operations, etc.
Acquiring supplies: Purchasing or stealing explosives, weapons, ammunition, detonators, timers, etc. Also includes acquiring official uniforms, decals, flight manuals, passes or badges (or the equipment to manufacture such items) or any other controlled items.
Suspicious persons out of place: People who do not seem to belong in the workplace, neighborhood, business establishment, or anywhere else. This category is hard to define, but the point is that people know what looks right and what doesn't look right in their neighborhoods, office spaces, commutes, etc, and if a person just doesn't seem like he or she belongs, there's probably a reason for that.
Dry run: Putting people into position and moving them around according to their plan without actually committing the terrorist act. An element of this activity could also include mapping out routes and determining the timing of traffic lights and flow. Take note of people moving around from place to place without any apparent purpose and doing it, perhaps, many times.
Deploying assets: People and supplies getting into position to commit the act. This is a person's last chance to alert authorities before the terrorist act occurs. Look for people loading up vehicles with weaponry/explosives, etc, and/or parking that vehicle somewhere, or people in military uniforms (who don't look right) approaching an installation or getting into a vehicle, or people who seem out of place standing by at a certain location as if waiting for something to happen.
IF YOU HAVE INFORMATION ON SUSPICIOUS PERSONS OR POTENTIAL ACTS OF TERRORISM CALL THE HONOLULU POLICE DEPARTMENT AT 9-1-1
Adapt, as appropriate, the same plans used to prepare for earthquakes, fires and other emergencies.
1. Be prepared and observe your environment. Terrorists most often strike with little or no warning.
2. Use caution when you travel. Observe and report unusual activity. Keep your packages with you at all times. Do not accept packages from strangers.
3. Locate stairways and emergency exits and develop plans for evacuating buildings and crowded public areas.
4. Have a Family Preparedness Plan.
If you live or work in high-rise buildings:
1. Learn where emergency exits are located in buildings you frequent. Notice where exits are when you enter unfamiliar buildings. Plan how to get out of a building, subway or congested public area or traffic. Note where staircases are located. Notice heavy or breakable objects that could move, fall or break in an explosion
2. Locate and maintain fire extinguishers in working order. Train everyone how to use them.
3. Organize and exercise evacuation plans.
4. Obtain training in first aid and CPR.
5. Assemble a disaster supply kit at home. Separate the supplies you would take if you had to evacuate quickly, and put them in a backpack or container, ready to go. A list of these items is also included elsewhere in this document.
DURING AN ATTACK
If there is an explosion, leave the building or facility as quickly and safely as possible. Do not stop to retrieve personal possessions or make phone calls. If things are falling around you, get under a sturdy table or desk until they stop falling. Then leave quickly, watching for weakened floors and stairs and falling debris as you exit.
If there is a fire:
1. Stay low to the floor and exit the building as quickly as possible.
2. Cover your nose and mouth with a wet cloth.
3. When approaching a closed door, use the back of your hand to feel the lower, middle, and upper parts of the door. Never use the palm of your hand or fingers to test for heat: burning those areas could impair your ability to escape a fire (i.e., ladders and crawling).
4. Heavy smoke and poisonous gases collect first along the ceiling. Stay below the smoke at all times.
AFTER AN ATTACK
If you are trapped in debris:
1. If possible, use a flashlight or whistle to signal rescuers regarding your location.
2. Stay in your area so that you do not kick up dust. Cover your mouth with a handkerchief or clothing.
3. Rhythmically tap on a pipe or wall so that rescuers can hear where you are. Use a whistle if one is available. Shout only as a last resort when you hear sounds and think someone will hear you—shouting can cause you to inhale dangerous amounts of dust.
Protective actions are actions we take to safeguard our family members and ourselves from harm. The most common emergency protective actions are evacuation and shelter-in-place.
1. Evacuation means to leave the area of actual or potential hazard.
2. If an evacuation is ordered, follow the instructions of local officials regarding evacuation routes and the location of shelters. Remember, important Emergency Public Information will be broadcast over TV and radio.
4. Seal edges of windows and doors with duct tape or stuff rags or towels in the gaps.
5. If shelter-in-place is recommended, local officials will provide additional instructions on necessary actions.
6. Do not leave your sheltered location or return to the evacuated area until local officials tell you it is safe to do so.
7. If caught outdoors, move immediately away from the scene in an upwind, uphill direction.
PROTECTING YOURSELF FROM WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION –WMD
The most widely used definition of "weapons of mass destruction" in official U.S. documents is those weapons employing Nuclear, Biological, or Chemical (NBC) agents.
Protecting our country and citizens from the threat of weapons of mass destruction is one of our Nation's most important and challenging national security issues.
Once again, awareness and preparedness are the keys.
In the event of a Nuclear attack
The danger of a massive strategic nuclear attack on the United States involving receded with the end of the Cold War.
Nuclear weapon delivery systems are extremely complicated and require enormous amounts of support to operate and deploy. In general the greatest nuclear threat that we might have to face would be caused by a terrorist "Dirty Bomb".
A "Dirty Bomb" is also reffered to as a radiological dispersal device and is a radiological weapon utilizing a combination of conventional explosives and radioactive material designed to scatter dangerous and sub-lethal amounts of radioactive material over a general area. Such weapons appeal to terrorists because they require very little technical knowledge to build and deploy compared to a nuclear device. These radioactive materials, used widely in medicine, agriculture, industry and research, are readily available and easy to obtain compared to weapons grade uranium or plutonium.
While the detonation of a dirty bomb would not cause the number of casualties associated with a large nuclear weapon, the resultant dispersal of a limited amount of radioctive material would cause much wide spread panic amongst an unprepared and uninformed public.
Should a dirty bomb be detonated the following actions should be considered to protect against radioactive fallout:
Remember that any protection, however temporary, is better than none at all. The more time, shielding, distance that you can take advantage of, the better.
In the event of a Biological attack
In case of a biological weapon attack in the State of Hawai'i, local authorities will instruct you on the best course of action. This may be to evacuate the area immediately, to seek shelter at a designated location, or to seal the premises and Shelter-in-Place as was discussed. The best way to protect yourself is to take emergency preparedness measures ahead of time and to get medical attention as soon as possible, if needed.
Remember, the delivery of medical services for a biological event may be handled differently to respond to increased demand. It will be important for you to pay attention to official instructions via the Emergency Alert System. If your skin or clothing comes in contact with a visible, potentially infectious substance, you should remove and bag your clothes and personal items and wash yourself with warm soapy water immediately. Put on clean clothes and seek medical assistance.
Do not T-E-S-T: Taste, Eat, Smell, Touch
As with a Chemical attack, get away from the scene immediately to safety in an upwind, uphill direction and wait for emergency responders to arrive.
Follow the self-decontamination rule: Remove your outer clothing and wash off contamination with plenty of cold water. If available, use soap.
In event of a Chemical attack
1. Cover your nose and mouth with a cloth.
2. Take frequent, shallow breaths.
3. Stay calm and do not panic.
4. Move immediately away from the scene in an upwind, uphill direction.
Immediate symptoms of exposure to chemical agents may include blurred vision, eye irritation, difficulty breathing and nausea. A person affected by a chemical or biological agent requires immediate attention by professional medical personnel. If medical help is not immediately available, decontaminate yourself and assist in decontaminating others. Decontamination is needed within minutes of exposure to minimize health consequences. (However, you should not leave the safety of a shelter to go outdoors to help others until authorities announce it is safe to do so.)
If you can not seek immediate decontamination assistance at a medical facility, use the following decontamination proceedures:
2. Remove all items in contact with the body.
3. Flush eyes with lots of water.
4. Gently wash face and hair with soap and water; then thoroughly rinse with
5. Decontaminate other body areas likely to have been contaminated. Blot
(do not swab or scrape) with a cloth soaked in soapy water and rinse with
6. Change into uncontaminated clothes. Clothing stored in drawers or closets
is likely to be uncontaminated.
7. If possible, proceed to a medical facility for screening.
National Terrorism Advisory System
In May of 2011 Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano announced the implementation of the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) National Terrorism Advisory System (NTAS)—a robust terrorism advisory system that provides timely information to the public about credible terrorist threats and replaces the former color-coded alert system.
Here is a public guide outlining the new system to the American public, along with an example of an NTAS Alert that would be issued to the public if the government were to receive information about a specific or credible terrorist threat.
The National Terrorism Advisory System, which was developed in close collaboration with federal, state, local, tribal and private sector partners, will provide the American public with information about credible threats so that they can better protect themselves, their families, and their communities.
Under NTAS, DHS will coordinate with other federal entities to issue detailed alerts to the public when the federal government receives information about a credible terrorist threat.
“Elevated Threat”: Warns of a credible terrorist threat against the
“Imminent Threat”: Warns of a credible, specific, and impending terrorist threat against the
Depending on the nature of the threat, alerts may be sent to law enforcement, distributed to affected areas of the private sector, or issued more broadly to the public through both official and social media channels—including a designated DHS webpage (www.dhs.gov/alerts), Facebook, and via Twitter @NTASAlerts.
NTAS alerts and posters will also be displayed in places such as transit hubs, airports and government buildings.
NTAS threat alerts will be issued for a specific time period and will automatically expire. Alerts may be extended if new information becomes available or as a specific threat evolves.
DHS encourages citizens to follow NTAS Alerts for information about threats and take an active role in security by reporting suspicious activity to local law enforcement authorities through the “If You See Something, Say Something” public awareness campaign.
For more information on the National Terrorism Advisory System or to receive NTAS alerts, visit www.dhs.gov/alerts.
Listed below are a few websites that provide emergency preparedness information.
United States Department of Homeland Security http://www.ready.gov/
Federal Emergency Management Agency http://www.fema.gov/
Department of Emergency Management http://www.oahudem.org
State Civil Defense http://www.scd.hawaii.gov/
American Red Cross Hawaii http://www.hawaiiredcross.org/
American Red Cross Hawaii http://www.hawaiiredcross.org/
Centers for Disease Control (SARS Information) http://www.cdc.gov/
Centers for Disease Control (SARS Information) http://www.cdc.gov/
EMERGENCY SUPPLY KIT
An emergency supply kit is a good idea for any emergency including a possible terrorist attack. Individuals and organizations should be prepared to be self sufficient for a minimum of 5-7 days.
Battery-powered or hand crank radio, flashlights, batteries, whistle
First aid kit and manual
Duct and masking tape
Fluorescent tape to rope off dangerous areas
Drinking Water (2 quarts/person/day)
Food (canned, no-cook, packaged snacks)
Manual can opener
Cash and credit cards
Change of clothing, rain gear, and sturdy shoes
Blankets or sleeping bags
Fire extinguisher (A-B-C type)
Infant and feminine hygiene supplies
Essential medicines and eyeglasses
Names, addresses, and telephone numbers of doctors and pharmacist
Food and water for pets
Large plastic bags for trash, waste, water protection
Toilet paper and paper towels
Charcoal grill or camp stove for outdoor cooking
Remember, local telephone whitepage directories contain handy disaster preparedness guides, evacuation maps and other useful emergency information.
|Last Reviewed: Friday, April 29, 2011|