U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Warning system against terror attacks

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has a system to help people understand the risk of a possible terrorist attack. The system uses different colors to show different levels of danger. These are:

  • Red. Severe condition. There is a severe risk of terrorist attacks. An attack has already happened or is about to happen.
  • Orange. High condition. There is a high risk of terrorist attacks. No specific targets are known.
  • Yellow. Elevated condition. There is a significant risk of terrorist attacks. No specific targets are known.
  • Blue. Guarded condition. There is a general risk of terrorist attacks. No specific threats or targets are known.
  • Green. Low condition. There is a low risk of terrorist attacks.

If a Terrorist Attack Happens

The U.S. government can use the Emergency Alert System (EAS) to provide information to the country in an emergency. The president of the United States can use this system to provide immediate information to the public when an emergency happens.

State and local governments may also use the EAS to provide emergency information to the public in their area. If an emergency happens, listen to the radio or television for information about how to protect yourself and your family.

TIP: If a terrorist attack happens, listen to what local authorities tell you to do. Listen to the radio or television for instructions. Have a television or radio in your home that works on batteries in case electricity in your area is temporarily lost.

Don’t Be Afraid, Be Ready

DHS (Department of Homeland Security) is helping Americans learn about possible dangers, so they can be ready to react during a terrorist attack or natural disaster. DHS provides information to help you make your family, your home, and your community safer from the dangers of crime, terrorism, and disasters of all kinds. Call 1-800-BE-READY for printed information or visit the DHS website http://www.ready.gov.

You can get a citizen’s guide entitled Are You Ready? An In-Depth Guide to Citizen Preparedness, with tips on how to make your family, your home, and your community safer. You can get this guide from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) athttp://www.fema.gov/areyouready, or by calling 1-800-480-2520. You also can get materials from the Citizen Corps website athttp://www.citizencorps.gov/ready/cc_pubs.shtm.


Federal and state officials are asking all people living in the U.S. to help fight terrorism. Be aware of your surroundings, especially when you travel on public buses, trains, and airplanes. If you see a suspicious item that has been left behind, such as a briefcase, backpack, or paper bag, report it immediately to the nearest police officer or other authority. Do not open or remove the item yourself!


Source: U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Office of Citizenship, Welcome to the United States: A guide for New Immigrants, Washington, DC, 2007, Revised Edition.