Heightened awareness for the Healthcare and Public Health sector: Brussels Attack

Members of the Healthcare and Public Health (HPH) Community and HPH Sector Members-

 Your SCC and GCC leadership participated in a Department of Homeland Security call held for Critical Infrastructure Cross-Sector Council leaders this afternoon to discuss last night’s terror attacks in Belgium and protective measures we can take during this period of heightened awareness. There are no specific credible threats against the United States at this time but one can never overlook copycats or homegrown violent extremists. Anyone with employees in the affected region or planning a trip to Brussels should refer to the State Department ( for up to date information.

Incidents like this give us another opportunity to review our response plans with our employees for situational awareness, maintaining vigilance for behaviors, objects, and activities that depart from the norm of their experience, that are out of place for the area, that prompt suspicion, or that otherwise raise safety or security concerns:

Review your security plans and exercise them regularly, using scenarios based on tactics recently used.
Reinforce with your employees that they are well positioned to apply: familiarity  with their surroundings; attentiveness to what’s common and varies from the norm; vigilance throughout their shifts, across work areas, and in places they visit off duty; and reporting in a timely manner to appropriate authorities.
Review Active Shooter, Suspicious Activity Reporting, and Counter-IED preparedness in training and awareness initiatives and in organizational safety briefings.
Ensure proper functioning of emergency communications equipment and conduct regular tests. 

Resources for each of these activities are provided below. 

In addressing the importance of reporting, a key point merits emphasis. Previous investigations of successful terror attacks or serious violent crimes uncovered witnesses who, after the fact, commented on what they had seen, why it had bothered them but did not report it.  Expanding the “See something – Say something” concept, guiding parameters for employees can be along these lines:  

You’ve seen something, You’ve heard something, You’re right to be concerned, Maybe it’s nothing, But at times it’s been something, So please say something and give the authorities the chance to make a difference. 

Early recognition and reporting of potential terrorist activity is the first line of defense against those who intend to harm us and our critical infrastructure.

 Additional information and resources:

Resources to promote the “If you see something, say something” campaign
Training for personnel on recognizing and reporting suspicious behavior in healthcare settings

For updated threat briefs, see the HSIN Critical Infrastructure page and look to “Today’s Newest Documents” for latest FOUO threat briefs