ShareThis Page
Ridge seeks support for alert system |

Ridge seeks support for alert system

The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — Homeland Security chief Tom Ridge said Monday a multistage alert system will provide “a common vocabulary” of danger to help communities all over the nation respond to threats.

Ridge, speaking to the National League of Cities, sought to bring local officials on board with the proposal, designed to provide more specific guidance when the government determines there is a new threat of terrorism.

The four broad terror alerts issued so far by the federal government have been criticized by local leaders and law enforcement for raising alarm without providing useful information.

A new five-stage, color-coded system, which Ridge said would be unveiled soon, will identify specific threat levels based on the information the government receives. Published reports have said green will be the lowest status, followed by blue, yellow, orange and red as the perceived dangers intensify.

Without giving further details, Ridge promised the new advisories would be easy for local officials to understand.

“What we’re trying to do is to work with, again, states and local communities together, but also the private sector, so that we have a common vocabulary, a consistency of language,” Ridge said.

The government will begin using the new system after its formal announcement, Ridge said. It will be subject to a 45-day comment period, after which it could be revised.

Ridge also said the federal government will suggest standards for how states and local communities should respond to each threat level.

Ridge urged local officials to prepare their own anti-terrorism plans and disregard the turf battles that historically have hampered coordination among different communities and levels of government. Planning at the local level should be fused with that at the county, regional and state levels, Ridge said.

“Unless we work together so that we have a seamless strategy through the states and down to the local government,” Ridge said, “I’m afraid we won’t be as strong as we need to be to confront what I consider to be a permanent condition that we as a country need to accept as a fact of life.”

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.