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Last week, Mr.
Ridge, Director of Homeland Security, announced the new Homeland Security
Advisory System. Tonight's training is about this system and the five threat
levels. There are many federal alert systems in our country -- each tailored and
unique to different sectors of our society: transportation, defense,
agriculture, and weather, for example. These alert systems fill vital and
specific requirements for a variety of situations in both the commercial and
government sectors. The Homeland Security Advisory System will provide a
national framework for these systems, allowing government officials and citizens
to communicate the nature and degree of terrorist threats.
Security Advisory System will provide for the Attorney General, in consultation
with the Director of the Office of Homeland Security, to assign Threat
Conditions, which 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. Some factors for assignment of Threat
· Is the threat credible?
· Is the threat
· Is the threat specific and/or imminent?
· How grave is
The new system ranks threats by colors,
starting with green at the bottom and followed by blue, yellow, orange and red
as perceived dangers intensify. The warning level can be upgraded for the entire
country or for specific regions and economic sectors - such as the nuclear
industry, Homeland Security Director said.
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Low Condition - Green
Low risk of
terrorist attacks. The following Protective Measures may be applied: · 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
= = = = Guarded Condition - Blue
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.
= = = = Elevated Condition
Significant risk of terrorist attacks. In addition to the previously
outlined Protective 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.
= = = = High Condition - Orange
High risk of terrorist attacks. In addition to the previously outlined
Protective 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
= = = = Severe Condition - Red
Severe risk of terrorist attacks. In
addition to the previously outlined Protective 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.
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The Homeland Security Director said the
system is designed to motivate local leaders to develop emergency response plans
that would include ways to inform residents about how to react to attacks.
America is at yellow alert because the al-Qaeda terrorist network is trying to
re-form after defeats in Afghanistan and has trained thousands of terrorists,
some of whom have probably slipped into the United States, the Homeland Security
Director said. The system's guidelines give government officials advice on what
to do as threats grow, but no such guidance is offered for the general public.
The system will be subject to a 45-day comment period, after which Homeland
Security Director plans to turn it into a national framework. During a series of
Washington visits in February, was ARRL's participation in a National Public
Safety Telecommunications Council (NPSTC) brainstorming session. The meeting
considered improved means to incorporate Amateur Radio into public safety and
homeland security planning. Topics included further upgrading the level of
professionalism among Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) and Radio Amateur
Civil Emergency Service (RACES) volunteers. Discussion focused on the
possibility of forming a highly trained first-response cadre of Amateur Radio
volunteers who would undergo ongoing training and accreditation. The session
also touched on the need for a universally recognized identification card for
Within the scope of Homeland Security RACES and Amateur
Radio involvement at the present time is not defined. Amateur Radio is being
discussed at various forums within governmental agencies. As the various
Federal, State, and Local emergency managers define our function, we will be
advised by our Radio Officers. Currently we need to keep our gear ready, our
grag-n-go kits and 72 hour kits packed and keep on training.