Terrorism – General Mitigation (Actions Before, During, After)


Arriving on the scene, or in the midst of a potential terrorist incident, certain steps must be taken in order to survive the incident and render aid to others. The first concern must be self-protection.

The Keys to Self-Protection – Time, Distance, and Shielding (TDS)

Self-protection to terrorism is based on avoiding or minimizing exposure through the principals of time, distance and shielding:[1]

You should spend the shortest amount of time possible in the hazard area and minimize the time of exposure to the hazard. Time is an ally when the hazard can be expected to become gradually less hazardous.

Whenever you can distance yourself from the hazard, you should. It should be an absolute rule always to maintain a safe distance from the hazard area or projected hazard area. Remember that the greater the distance from the source of harm, the less the exposure. Finally, it is advisable to be upwind and uphill of the source.

While making time and distance work in your favor, maintaining significant physical barriers between you and the hazard makes equally good sense. Shielding can take various forms: vehicles, buildings, walls, etc. However, you need to remember that no matter how much shielding is available and how safe you think it is, always take full advantage of time and distance.


General Preparatory Actions

Use these receommended general actions to help you get through terrorism or a terrorist incicident emergency: [2] [3]

  • Determine the disaster risks in your locale and the hazards that accompany them.
  • Increase your knowledge about the emergency warning signals and alert notifications used in your community.
  • Instruct family members how to shut off water, gas and electricity to your house.
  • Make the necessary property preparations to reduce the damage from the hazard.
  • Acquire a backup generator in case of a prolonged power failure.
  • Check into insurance (property, health, life, and hazard type).
  • Make the necessary financial arrangements in case of a sudden evacuation and power outage that shuts down local ATMs and banks.
  • Organize important documents and records and store them in a portable lock box or safe-deposit box.
  • Perform home inventory video taping and store tape in a portable lock box or safe-deposit box.
  • Develop an Emergency Communication Plan with evacuation plan and ask an out-of-state person to serve as the “family contact”.
  • Assemble a shelter-in-place Emergency Supplies Kit.
  • Assemble a mobile Emergency Supplies Kit that can serve as a “grab and go” bag?
  • Get a family member trained in first aid and CPR.
  • Make the necessary preparations and arrangements for pets, seniors, and the disabled.
  • Familiarize yourself with the emergency plans of your family member’s employment building, school, day care center, or nursing home.