FEMA: Terrorism Fact Sheet
A terrorist attack with conventional weapons such as firearms, explosives or incendiary devices in the United States remains possible, though unlikely.
Learn about the nature of terrorism.
Learn about the different types of terrorist weapons including explosives, kidnappings, hijackings, arson, and shootings.
Prepare to deal with a terrorist incident by adapting many of the same techniques used to prepare for other crises.
Preparing for a Building Explosion
The use of explosives by terrorists can result in collapsed buildings and fires. People who live or work in a multi-level building can do the following:
If you receive a bomb threat, 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.
After you've been notified of a bomb threat, do not touch any suspicious packages. Clear the area around the suspicious package and notify the police immediately. In evacuating a building, avoid standing in front of windows or other potentially hazardous areas. Do not restrict sidewalk or streets to be used by emergency officials.
In a building explosion, get out of the building as quickly and calmly as possible.
If items are falling off of bookshelves or from the ceiling, get under a sturdy table or desk. If there is a fire.
If you are trapped in debris.
Chemical agents are poisonous gases, liquids or solids that have toxic effects on people, animals or plants. Most chemical agents cause serious injuries or death.
Severity of injuries depends on the type and amount of the chemical agent used, and the duration of exposure.
Were a chemical agent attack to occur, authorities would instruct citizens to either seek shelter where they are and seal the premises or evacuate immediately. Exposure to chemical agents can be fatal. Leaving the shelter to rescue or assist victims can be a deadly decision. There is no assistance that the untrained can offer that would likely be of any value to the victims of chemical agents.
Biological agents are organisms or toxins that have illness-producing effects on people, livestock and crops.
Because biological agents cannot necessarily be detected and may take time to grow and cause a disease, it is almost impossible to know that a biological attack has occurred. If government officials become aware of a biological attack through an informant or warning by terrorists, they would most likely instruct citizens to either seek shelter where they are and seal the premises or evacuate immediately.
A person affected by a biological agent requires the immediate attention of professional medical personnel. Some agents are contagious, and victims may need to be quarantined. Also, some medical facilities may not receive victims for fear of contaminating the hospital population.
Source: Federal Emergency Management Agency