New York State Division of Homeland Security & Emergency Services: Office of Counter Terrorism
Learn how to spot suspicious activity
The eight signs of terrorism:
(1) Surveillance: Terrorist cells have been known to record and monitor activities, taking pictures and making drawings. Be alert to those individuals you see at emergency scenes on a repeat basis. Being observant supports homeland security and fire prevention efforts.
(2) Information Gathering: Be aware of individuals attempting to gain information about your operations, staffing and security protocols that appear to be more than just typical curiosity.
(3) Tests of Security: Be alert to any attempts to measure reaction times to entering restricted areas. Be alert to who is in and around your station. Emergency vehicles and uniforms have been stolen in an attempt to use them during acts of terrorism.
(4) Funding: Suspicious transactions involving large cash payments, deposits, withdrawals, or transfers of money; bulk cash smuggling; suspected financial fraud; sale of counterfeit goods; or misleading charities.
(5) Acquiring Supplies: Through your full-time or part-time employment be alert to those attempting to obtain explosives, weapons, uniforms, badges, credentials, etc. Amassing large quantities of equipment should send up a red flag if the individual acquiring those materials has no business doing so.
(6) Suspicious Persons Out of Place: This may include people who are in places they should not be, as well as people who do not fit into the daily routine of surroundings or the emergency scene.
(7) Dry or Trial Run: Be alert to people that just look out of place or you have seen at multiple emergency scenes as they could be part of a dry run exercise for illegal activity. Be alert to multiple false alarms to the same location, especially areas considered critical infrastructure such as government buildings and schools.
(8) Deploying Assets: Beware of what looks like people and supplies getting into position to commit an act of violence. Remember scene safety, if you spot something or get information on the way to a call that suggests you and your crew would be in danger consider staging at a safe distance and follow your department's scene safety protocols.