The higher the threat condition, the greater the risk of a
terrorist attack. A Red level indicates an attack is happening.
Risk includes both the probability of an attack occurring and
its potential gravity. Our national threat level is currently
at Orange, which signifies a high risk of terrorist attacks.
This color code system has been adopted by the state of Hawai‘i.
Hawai‘i sits at Yellow, or a less-elevated risk level.
Despite best efforts, there can be no guarantee that, at any
given threat condition, a terrorist attack will or will not
occur. At all threat levels, we must remain vigilant, prepared,
and ready to deter attacks.
Heightened threat conditions can be declared for the entire
nation or for a limited geographic area or sector. For example,
last May, FBI officials received warning of terrorists planning
to attack New York City landmarks such as the Brooklyn Bridge
and the Statue of Liberty. In Hawai‘i, reports circulated about
the al-Qaeda network’s plans to attack the nuclear-powered submarines
and ships at Pearl Harbor.
The duration of a threat condition depends on the individual
circumstances of each threat. An initial and important factor
is the quality of the information itself. The following factors
are used to assess the information and thus the seriousness
of the threat:
§ To what degree is the threat credible?
§ Is the threat corroborated?
§ Is the threat specific and/or imminent?
§ How grave are the potential consequences of the threat?
The Hawai‘i Homeland Security Advisory System is for use only
in the state of Hawai‘i. This system is the same as the National
Homeland Security Advisory System except that the color black
has been added. Black signifies that a terrorist attack has
occurred in the state of Hawai‘i.
Upon the advice and recommendation of the Federal Bureau of
Investigation, the Joint Terrorism Task Force, County Police,
and the military, HHSAS threat conditions are determined by
the Director of Civil Defense who issues an advisory to key
state, county, and private sector agencies reflecting the possibility
of a terrorist threat against a potential target in Hawai‘i.
The HSAS and the HHSAS differ in that the HSAS reflects a threat
against the nation and may not necessarily affect Hawai‘i. The
HHSAS is the same across all the Hawaiian Islands.
The HSAS also does not necessarily apply to U.S. holdings on
foreign territories—embassies, military bases, naval ships,
for example. The Secretary of State retains the authority to
establish threat levels for foreign embassies and posts, while
the Secretary of Defense sets threat levels for defense forces.
According to the Office of Homeland Security, military facilities
in the United States are excluded from conforming to this system
because they must operate under one unified threat system that
applies to forces at home and abroad (www.scd.state.hi.us).
Following the recommended actions for each color code can help
you to reduce the stress and anxiety created by future threats.
When each of us takes an active role in our communities, we
all stand alert, united, and prepared. With the war in Iraq,
preparation is probably the strongest defense we have against
In the meantime, as on the other occasions when the national
threat level has been increased, continue your daily work, family,
and leisure activities with a heightened awareness.
What to do
Would you know what to do if there was a direct attack on Hawai‘i?
In partnership with Central Pacific Bank, the State and County
Civil Defenseand the Hawai‘i State Chapter of the American Red
Cross recommend the following actions in the event of an attack:
Green—Low: Determine your current level of preparedness
and develop a plan tailored to your needs; learn basic first
aid and CPR; have a fully stocked first aid kit; examine volunteer
opportunities in your community.
Blue—Guarded: Be alert to suspicious activity and, if
necessary, report it to the proper authorities; review stored
disaster supplies and replace any outdated items; develop an
emergency communication plan with family, neighbors, and friends;
volunteer with a local organization.
Yellow—Elevated: Check telephone numbers and e-mail
addresses in your emergency communication plan and update as
necessary; develop alternate routes to/from work/school and
practice them; continue volunteering.
Orange—High: Review your disaster plan; exercise caution
when traveling; assign a meeting location for the family. If
a need is announced, donate blood at a designated blood drive
or the Hawai‘i Blood Bank. Prior to volunteering, contact the
agency to determine its needs.
Red—Severe: (* Note: All actions listed under the previous
advisories should be completed by this stage.) Listen to radio
and TV commercials for current information or instructions;
contact your office to determine the status of your work day
or site; follow any travel restrictions announced by local government
authorities; provide volunteer services only as requested. Be
prepared to evacuate.
Black (only for the state of Hawai‘i): Limit outside
activity and travel; report suspicious activity to law enforcement;
connect with family members and close friends about their whereabouts.
Additional information can be found at www.scd.state.hi.us