The FBI defines terrorism as “The unlawful use of force against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof in the furtherance of political or social objectives”.
Terrorism can occur through the use of guns, bombs or arson, but biological, chemical, radiological, and computer (cyberterrorism) means can be used. Terrorism preparedness encompasses good crime prevention plus:
- Be aware of your surroundings – be alert for suspicious activity or packages.
- Do not touch suspicious packages or items- contact the proper authority.
- Know where exits are – especially in public assembly areas.
- Dial 9-1-1 to report emergencies that require police, fire or EMS
- Have an emergency kit in your home and car. An emergency kit can help you with man-made emergencies (like power failures or terrorism) or natural disasters (like floods or storms). An emergency kit can include (at a minimum):
- First aid supplies
- Flashlight with extra batteries
- Non-perishable food
- Drinking water
- Blanket(s) or sleeping bag(s)
- Rain gear or change of clothing
Weapons of Mass Destruction & B-NICE
Weapons of Mass Destruction or WMD are meant to terrorize a population by inflicting many casualties or deaths. wMD can fall into one of five categories represented by the acronym B-NICE.
B – Biological
N – Nuclear
I – Incendiary
C – Chemical
E – Explosive
Although the threats of varying hazards are real – conventional explosives will continue to be the method of choice for terrorists.
For the Computer System…
- All accounts should have passwords that are difficult to guess. Change passwords frequently.
- Audit systems and check logs to help in detecting and tracing an intruder.
- If you are ever unsure about the safety of a site, or receive suspicious e-mail from an unknown address, don’t access it. It could be trouble.
- Change the network configuration when defects become known.
- Don’t discuss personal matters such as travel plans, your job, or your family with people you don’t know.
- Vary your route to and from work, and the time you arrive and depart.
- Avoid routines (time & location) for shopping, lunch, etc.
- Become familiar with the environment. You must know what is normal to be able to detect what is unusual.
- Avoid public disputes or confrontations.
Emergency contingency plans should include:
- Procedure for contacting police/fire/EMS
- Duress communication procedures
-Code words with work or home to communicate an emergency
- Emergency phone lists (contacts, resources, personnel)
- Evacuation routes, assembly areas for evacuated personnel and alternates
- Command post & liaison procedures with police, fire & EMS
For the Office…
- Prepare contingency plans in the event of an emergency – coordinate these plans with the local emergency services.
- Ensure that all personnel are familiar with the appropriate section of these emergency plans and their role.
- Security is everyone’s concern. All staff should be aware and abide by security procedures.
- Report suspicious persons to the appropriate agency.
- Do not give information on personnel or operations over the telephone to strangers.
- Place a barrier between staff and the reception area. Visitors/maintenance personnel should always be escorted.
- Lock private toilets, unused closets and offices, etc…
- Institute visitor control procedures.
- Dangerous devices can come in by mail. Ensure that mail receiving personnel are aware what to look for.
- Be alert for suspicious persons, packages, mail and cars within and near the building.
- Do not mark parking spaces; vary parking places.
Disaster Psychology Preparedness
When disaster strikes, physical assistance may not be only part of what survivors need. “Psychological First Aid” for disaster-induced stress and trauma will help the survivors.
Disaster-induced stress and trauma are “normal reactions” to and “abnormal” event.
Emotional reactions will vary and may be influenced by:
- Prior experience with the same or similar event
- The intensity and length of the event
- Pre-incident stressors
- The length of time since the event
- Loss of loved ones, housing, etc…
Emotional reactions can vary depending upon the phase of the event:
- Before the event, as concern escalates and information is made available through the media and the authorities
- During the event’s impact – responding to the immediate effects of the disaster
- Immediately after the event’s impact when rescue may be needed
- Immediately after the event when an inventory is made of losses – personal and material
- Well after the event during recovery
Traumatic Stress Reactions
A traumatic stress reaction is an emotional aftershock of a disaster or other significantly stressful event. Symptoms may occur immediately after the event or weeks after the event is over.
Some common signs/symptoms of emotional reactions to a disaster:
- Nausea and/or upset stomach
- Difficulty sleeping
- Anxiety and/or fear
- Grief and/or depression
- Confusion and/or disorientation
- Difficulty concentrating
- Avoidance and/or withdrawing
- Emotional outbursts
- Erratic behavior
Emotional emergencies or information 24 hours a day in Bergen: 262-HELP (201-262-4357)
Physical emergencies – dial 9-1-1
Taking care of yourself following a traumatic event…
- Try to rest a bit more
- Contact friends and talk
- Re-establish your normal schedule as soon as possible
- Fight against boredom
- Physical activity can be helpful
- Eat well-balanced and regular meals (even when you don’t fell like it)
- Avoid alcohol and drugs taken with out physician recommendation/prescription
- Recurring thoughts, dreams or flashbacks are normal – don’t try to fight them – they’ll decrease over time and be less painful
- Seek out professional help if the feelings become prolonged or intense
Taking care of others following a traumatic event…
- Listen carefully
- Spend time with the traumatized person
- Offer your assistance and a lending ear even if they have not asked for help
- Help them with the everyday tasks like cleaning, cooking, caring for children, etc.
- Give them time to be alone
- Help them stay away from alcohol and drugs
- Keep in mind what they’ve been through
- Don’t try to explain it away
- Don’t tell them that they are lucky it wasn’t worse
- Don’t take their anger, other feelings or outbursts personally
Get further assistance…
- The person is having life-threatening symptoms
- The person is suicidal or homicidal
- The person is out of control