Homeland Security to provide alert categories
Mar 13, 2002 12:00 PM
The Homeland Security Advisory System (HSAS) has announced a new warning system to disseminate information in the event of terrorist attacks on the United States, according to information from Tom Ridge, Homeland Security director. Attorney General John Ashcroft will be responsible for developing, implementing, and managing the system.
The attorney general, in consultation with the homeland security director, will assign threat conditions that can apply nationally, regionally, by sector, or to a potential target. Cabinet secretaries and other members of the Homeland Security Council will be consulted as appropriate.
Public announcements of threat advisories and alerts help deter terrorist activity; notify law enforcement, state and local government officials of threats; inform the public about government preparations, and provide the information necessary to respond to the threat. State and local officials will be informed in advance of national threat advisories when possible. Heightened threat conditions can be declared for the nation, or for a specific geographic area, functional, or industrial sector. Changes in the assigned conditions will be made when necessary.
HSAS has established five color-coded threat conditions with associated suggested protective measures: green (low risk), blue (general risk), yellow (significant risk), orange (high risk), and red (severe risk).
For a green condition, protective measures may be applied that include refining and exercising preplanned protective measures; ensuring personnel receive training on HSAS, departmental, or agency-specific protective measures; and regularly assessing facilities for vulnerabilities and taking measures to reduce them.
Guarded condition blue defines a general risk of terrorist attack. In addition to the previously outlined protective measures, the following may be applied: checking communications with designated emergency response or command locations; reviewing and updating emergency response procedures; and providing the public with necessary information.
Condition yellow refers to significant risk of terrorist attacks. In addition to the previously outlined measures, the following may be applied: increasing surveillance of critical locations; coordinating emergency plans with nearby jurisdictions; assessing further refinement of protective measures within the context of the current threat information; and implementing, as appropriate, contingency and emergency response plans.
Condition orange warns of a high risk of terrorist attacks. In addition to the previously outlined measures, the following may be applied: coordinating necessary security efforts with armed forces or law enforcement agencies; taking additional precaution at public events; preparing to work at an alternate site or with a dispersed workforce; and restricting access to essential personnel only.
Condition red is the highest level of warning and suggests a severe risk of terrorist attacks. In addition to the previously outlined measures, the following may be applied: assigning emergency response personnel and pre-positioning specially trained teams; monitoring, redirecting or constraining transportation systems; closing public and government facilities; and increasing or redirecting personnel to address critical emergency needs.
In conjunction with the development of this new system, the attorney general will open a 45-day comment period in order to seek the views of officials at all levels of government, law enforcement, and the public. Ninety days after the conclusion of the comment period, the attorney general in coordination with the director of the Office of Homeland Security, will present a final Homeland Security Advisory System to President Bush for approval. Written comments on the new advisory plan may be sent to: Director, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Homeland Security Advisory System, Room 7222, 935 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington DC 20535. Comments also may be submitted electronically to HSAS.