Toronto Shooting: What Can We Do?

A fun, relaxed evening out turned into terror for hundreds of people in Toronto, Canada on Sunday 22 July when a gunman opened fire outside a restaurant in the busy Greektown district, killing one person and injuring 13 before he was killed in a shootout with police.

At the time of writing the motive for the shooting is unknown. Terrorism has not been ruled out, but nobody has claimed responsibility or links to the attack. Whatever the motive, it’s awful to be reminded that even though the chances of being injured or killed in this sort of attack are still extremely low, it can happen anywhere.

One of the witnesses interviewed by new crews on the scene said he and his brother had been walking nearby, heard the gunshots and, “We just ran.”

 

Run, Hide, Tell

Getting as far away from the danger is the first step recommended by the ‘Run, Hide, Tell’ video – as long as it is safe to do so.

The latest version of this video guide was created in 2017 by UK Counter Terrorism Policing (CT Policing) in collaboration with the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), the Home Office, and ABTA.

It’s not something anyone wants to think about, but these tips are easy to remember and they can save lives in the unlikely even that you are around if there’s a weapons or firearms attack.

In the video, the essentials of ‘Run, Hide, Tell’ are highlighted and viewers are encouraged to, “Plan ahead, minimise the risk, and stay safe.”

 

RUN

  • If there is a safe route – run
  • Insist others go with you
  • But don’t let their indecision slow you down
  • Leave belongings behind

 

HIDE

  • If you can’t run, hide
  • Be aware of your exits
  • Find cover from gunfire
  • Try not to get trapped
  • Lock yourself in a room if possible
  • Barricade yourself in
  • Keep away from doors and windows
  • Be quiet, and silence your phone

 

TELL

  • Call the police when it is safe
  • Give your location
  • Give the direction the attacker(s) is moving in
  • Describe the attacker(s)

 

One of the most important points to remember is not to stop to take videos or photos with your phone. It’s often our first instinct these days, but even a few seconds’ delay can make all the difference. It simply isn’t worth it.

The video also notes that when police arrive they may not be able to identify the attacker(s) right away. Follow their instructions, and make sure your hands are visible at all times – don’t reach into a pocket or wave your hands around.

 

Holiday Safety Updates

CT Policing have been reminding Brits to be conscious of safety over the summer holidays. Their three essential reminders:

  • Check FCO updates (you can do this on the FCO website – look for your route AND destination) – and we post weekly summaries of FCO notifications on our blog.
  • Sort your travel insurance – make sure you have the appropriate cover and that you won’t be unpleasantly surprised by exclusions and limits*.
  • Watch the holiday safety film.

 

We hope you’ll never have to use these safety guidelines, but let’s all be prepared and make our summer safer.

 

 

*Many policies exclude or limit cover for acts of terrorism, but it’s easy to top up with comprehensive cover from only £5.17pp for a single trip of up to 8 days. This includes the option to cancel if there’s an act of terrorism anywhere within a 40-mile radius of your destination, up to 6 weeks before your departure. Read more about this and all the other cover included, as well as terms, conditions and exclusions, in our Policy Wording.

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  • Available for singles, couples and families and with no maximum age limit and no medical screening requirements.
  • For Business and Leisure travellers.
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  • Safe Journey covers up to £2000 per person for travel arrangements, if where you are staying is affected by terrorism and you want to return home.
  • Travel delays caused by acts of terrorism are covered.
  • Personal possessions including money and passports are protected whilst you travel against damage or loss as a result of acts of terrorism.
  • 24 hour (UK based) emergency assistance to help you after an act of terrorism.
  • Maximum excess per claim £100
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