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National Terrorism Advisory System

The National Terrorism Advisory System (NTAS) communicates information about terrorist threats by providing timely, detailed information to the public, government agencies, first responders, airports and other transportation hubs and the private sector.

It recognizes that Americans all share responsibility for the nation's security. We should be aware of the heightened risk of terrorist attack in the United States and know what we should do.

NTAS Alerts

The Secretary of Homeland Security decides, in coordination with other Federal entities, whether a NTAS alert should be issued.

NTAS alerts will only be issued when credible information is available.

There are two types of alerts:

  • An Imminent Threat Alert warns of a credible, specific, and impending terrorist threat against the United States.
  • Elevated Threat Alert warns of a credible terrorist threat against the United States.

These alerts will include a clear statement that there is an imminent threat or elevated threat. Using available information, the alerts will provide a concise summary of the potential threat, information about actions being taken to ensure public safety, and recommended steps that individuals, communities, businesses and governments can take to help prevent, mitigate or respond to the threat.

The NTAS alerts will be based on the nature of the threat. In some cases, alerts will be sent directly to law enforcement or affected areas of the private sector, while in others, alerts will be issued more broadly to the American people through official and media channels.

NTAS alerts contain a sunset provision indicating a specific date when the alert expires. There will not be a constant NTAS alert or blanket warning that there is an overarching threat. If threat information changes for an alert, the Secretary of Homeland Security may announce an updated NTAS alert. All changes, including the announcement that cancels a NTAS alert will be distributed the same way as the original alert.

What Citizens Can Do

Citizen's Guide to Terrorism Preparedness (PDF) is available for review.

In addition to previously mentioned precautions, you should do the following:

  • Report suspicious activities and call 911 for immediate responses.
  • Expect delays, searches of purses and bags and restricted access to public buildings.
  • Take personal security precautions to avoid becoming a victim of crime or terrorist attack.
  • Avoid crowded public areas and gatherings.
  • Do not travel into areas affected by the attack or is an expected terrorist target.
  • Keep emergency supplies accessible and automobile fuel tank full.
  • Be prepared to evacuate your home or shelter in place on order of local authorities.
  • Be suspicious of persons taking photographs of critical facilities, asking detailed questions about physical security or dressed inappropriately for weather conditions (suicide bomber). Report these incidents immediately to law enforcement.
  • Closely monitor news reports and Emergency Alert System (EAS) radio and TV stations.
  • Assist neighbors who may need help.
  • Avoid passing unsubstantiated information and rumors.
Revised March 29, 2017         


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