Homeland Security Advisory System

This information was provided by the International Association of Fire Chiefs based upon recommendations from the American Red Cross and U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
About the Advisory System
This system is intended to create a common vocabulary, context, and structure for an ongoing national discussion about the nature of the threats that confront the homeland and the appropriate measures that should be taken in response. It seeks to inform and facilitate decisions appropriate to different levels of government and to private citizens at home and at work.
Homelad Security advisories with corresponding colors
Severe (Red)
Severe Risk of Terrorist Attacks
Complete recommended actions at lower levels, and:
  • Adhere to any travel restrictions announced by local governmental authorities.
  • Assign emergency response personnel and pre-position and mobilize specially trained teams or resources.
  • Be alert to suspicious activity and report it to proper authorities immediately.
  • Be prepared to work with a dispersed or smaller work force.
  • Close public and government facilities.
  • Contact businesses/schools to determine status of work/school day.
  • Ensure mental health counselors available for employees.
  • Increase or redirect personnel to address critical emergency needs.
  • Listen to radio/TV for current information/instructions.
  • Monitor, redirect, or constrain transportation systems.
  • Perform 100% identification check (i.e.-driver's license retained at front office) and escort of anyone entering fire station.
  • Work with local community leaders, emergency management, government agencies, community organizations and utilities to meet immediate needs of the community.
High (Orange)
High Risk of Terrorist Attacks
Complete recommended actions at lower levels, and:
  • Be alert to suspicious activity and report it to proper authorities.
  • Contact other key emergency response organizations to confirm their emergency response plan procedures.
  • Coordinate necessary security efforts with federal, state and local law enforcement agencies or any National Guard or other appropriate armed forces organizations.
  • Determine need to restrict access to fire department property, fire stations and other key local business facilities.
  • Determine whether private security firm support/reinforcement is required.
  • Ensure communication plan is understood/practiced by all department members.
  • Exercise caution when traveling.
  • Have emergency supplies on hand, shelters readied, and review procedures.
  • Prepare to execute contingency procedures, such as moving to an alternate site or dispersing workforce.
  • Review emergency plans to include continuity of operations and media materials.
  • Take additional precautions at public events and possibly consider alternative venues or even cancellation.
Elevated (Yellow)
Significant Risk of Terrorist Attacks
Complete recommended actions at lower levels, and:
  • Assess whether the precise characteristics of the threat require the further refinement of preplanned protective measures.
  • Be alert to suspicious activity and report it to proper authorities.
  • Check telephone and pager numbers and email addresses in your communication plan and update as necessary.
  • Contact private security firm for security risk assessment and to determine availability of support/reinforcement.
  • Coordinate emergency plans as appropriate with nearby jurisdictions.
  • Develop alternate routes of transit for emergency evacuation and practice them.
  • Implement, as appropriate, contingency and emergency response plans
  • Increase surveillance of critical locations.
Guarded (Blue)
General Risk of Terrorist Attacks
Complete recommended actions at lower level, and:
  • Be alert to suspicious activity and report it to proper authorities.
  • Check communications with designated emergency response or command locations.
  • Ensure emergency communication plan updated and needed equipment is purchased.
  • Establish alternate staging locations.
  • Provide the public with any information that would strengthen its ability to act appropriately.
  • Review and update emergency response procedures.
Low (Green)
Low Risk of Terrorist Attacks
  • Develop a comprehensive disaster/emergency response plan.
  • Ensure personnel receive proper training on the Homeland Security Advisory System and specific preplanned. department or agency protective measures.
  • Institutionalize a process to assure that all facilities and regulated sectors are regularly assessed for vulnerabilities to terrorist attacks and all reasonable measures are taken to mitigate these vulnerabilities.
  • Refine and exercise as appropriate preplanned protective measures.