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U.S. Department of Homeland Security

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Threats & Protection

Homeland Security Advisory System

Homeland Security Advisory System
Homeland Security Advisory System
Current Threat Level

August 1, 2004 -  The United States Government raised the threat level to Code Orange for the financial services sector in New York City, northern New Jersey and Washington, D.C.  The rest of the country remains at Code Yellow.

  • The Department of Homeland Security issued a bulletin to private sector owners and operators of critical facilities about indicators of terrorist attack planning.  
  • CEOs of the companies included in the threat reporting are working with senior Homeland Security officials.
  • Federal officials have been sent to New York, northern New Jersey and Washington, D.C. to work with local law enforcement and security managers.

Recommended Activities

All Americans should continue to be vigilant, take notice of their surroundings, and report suspicions items or activities to local authorities immediately.  Everybody--whether living in New York City, Washington, D.C., or another part of the country--should establish an emergency preparedness kit as well as a communications plan for themselves and their family, and stay informed about what to do during an emergency situation.

Learn More About Preparedness


About the Homeland Security Advisory System

The Homeland Security Advisory System is designed to target our protective measures when specific information to a specific sector or geographic region is received.  It combines threat information with vulnerability assessments and provides communications to public safety officials and the public.  

  • Homeland Security Threat Advisories contain actionable information about an incident involving, or a threat targeting, critical national networks or infrastructures or key assets.  They could, for example, relay newly developed procedures that, when implemented, would significantly improve security or protection.  They could also suggest a change in readiness posture, protective actions, or response. This category includes products formerly named alerts, advisories, and sector notifications.  Advisories are targeted to Federal, state, and local governments, private sector organizations, and international partners.  
  • Homeland Security Information Bulletins communicate information of interest to the nation’s critical infrastructures that do not meet the timeliness, specificity, or significance thresholds of warning messages.  Such information may include statistical reports, periodic summaries, incident response or reporting guidelines, common vulnerabilities and patches, and configuration standards or tools.  It also may include preliminary requests for information.  Bulletins are targeted to Federal, state, and local governments, private sector organizations, and international partners.
  • Color-coded Threat Level System is used to communicate with public safety officials and the public at-large through a threat-based, color-coded system so that protective measures can be implemented to reduce the likelihood or impact of an attack.  Raising the threat condition has economic, physical, and psychological effects on the nation; so, the Homeland Security Advisory System can  place specific geographic regions or industry sectors on a higher alert status than other regions or industries, based on specific threat information.  

>> Citizen Guidance on the Homeland Security Advisory System  (PDF - 1 page, 132 KB) Download this one-page guide with recommended actions for each level.  Developed with input from the American Red Cross.  (link to an external site)

>> Guidance for federal departments and agencies


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