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NTAS Public Guide

National Terrorism Advisory System

The National Terrorism Advisory System, or NTAS, replaces the color-coded Homeland Security Advisory System (HSAS). This new system will more effectively communicate 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, and should always be aware of the heightened risk of terrorist attack in the United States and what they should do.

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NTAS Alerts

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.

After reviewing the available information, the Secretary of Homeland Security will decide, in coordination with other Federal entities, whether an NTAS Alert should be issued.

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

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 both official and media channels.

Sunset Provision

An individual threat alert is issued for a specific time period and then automatically expires. It may be extended if new information becomes available or the threat evolves.

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 an NTAS Alert, will be distributed the same way as the original alert.

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The NTAS Alert – How can you help?

Terrorism Information

Terrorism information and intelligence is based on the collection, analysis and reporting of a range of sources and methods. While intelligence may indicate that a threat is credible, specific details may still not be known. As such, Americans should continue to stay informed and vigilant throughout the duration of an NTAS Alert.

Each alert provides information to the public about the threat, including, if available, the geographic region, mode of transportation, or critical infrastructure potentially affected by the threat; protective actions being taken by authorities, and steps that individuals and communities can take to protect themselves and their families, and help prevent, mitigate or respond to the threat.

Citizens should report suspicious activity to their local law enforcement authorities. The “If You See Something, Say Something™” campaign across the United States encourages all citizens to be vigilant for indicators of potential terrorist activity, and to follow NTAS Alerts for information about threats in specific places or for individuals exhibiting certain types of suspicious activity. Visit www.dhs.gov/ifyouseesomethingsaysomething to learn more about the campaign.

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Alert Announcements

NTAS Alerts will be issued through state, local and tribal partners, the news media and directly to the public via the following channels:

The public can also expect to see alerts in places, both public and private, such as transit hubs, airports and government buildings.

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Sample NTAS Alert

Review a sample NTAS Alert (PDF, 1 page - 89 KB).

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Frequently Asked Questions

View Frequently Asked Questions about NTAS.

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If You See Something Say Something™ used with permission of the NY Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

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Last Published Date: September 12, 2012
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