Terrorists have frequently used explosive devices as one of their most common weapons. Terrorists do not have to look far to find out how to make explosive devices; the information is readily available in books and other information sources. The materials needed for an explosive device can be found in many places including variety, hardware, and auto supply stores. Explosive devices are highly portable using vehicles and humans as a means of transport. They are easily detonated from remote locations or by suicide bombers.

Conventional bombs have been used to damage and destroy financial, political, social, and religious institutions. Attacks have occurred in public places and on city streets with thousands of people around the world injured and killed.

Parcels that should make you suspicious:

  • Are unexpected or from someone unfamiliar to you.
  • Have no return address, or have on that can’t be verified as legitimate.
  • Are marked with restrictive endorsements such as “Personal,” “Confidential,” or “Do not X-ray.”
  • Have protruding wires or aluminum foil, strange odors, or stains.
  • Show a city or state in the postmark that doesn’t match the return address.
  • Are of unusual weight given their size, or are lopsided or oddly shaped.
  • Are marked with threatening language.
  • Have inappropriate or unusual labeling.
  • Have excessive postage or packaging material, such as masking tape and string.
  • Have misspellings of common words.
  • Are addressed to someone no longer with your organization or are otherwise outdated.
  • Have incorrect titles or titles without a name.
  • Are not addressed to a specific person.
  • Have hand-written or poorly typed addresses.

Take Protective Measures If you receive a telephoned bomb threat, you should do the following:

  • Get as much information from the caller as possible.
  • Keep the caller on the line and record everything that is said.
  • Notify the police and the building management.

During an Explosion If there is an explosion, you should:

  • 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. Do not stop to retrieve personal possessions or make phone calls.
  • Do not use elevators.

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:

  • If possible, use a flashlight to signal your location to rescuers.
  • Avoid unnecessary movement so you don’t 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.)
  • 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 a person to inhale dangerous amounts of dust.

After an Explosion Follow the instructions for recovering from a disaster in Part 5.

For More Information[edit | edit source]

If you require more information about any of these topics, the following are resources that may be helpful.

Publications American Red Cross: Terrorism, Preparing for the Unexpected. Document providing preparation guidelines for a terrorist attack or similar emergency.

Page data
Part of Are You Ready? An In-depth Guide to Citizen Preparedness
Type Technical brief
SDG Sustainable Development Goals SDG11 Sustainable cities and communities, SDG13 Climate action
Authors FEMA
Published 2010
License CC-BY-SA-4.0
Affiliations FEMA
Ported from https://www.fema.gov/pdf/areyouready/basic_preparedness.pdf [see first revision]
Impact Number of views to this page. Updated once a month. Views by admins and bots are not counted. Multiple views during the same session are counted as one. 49