If you're present during an attack
Terrorism is unfortunately a reality in our changing world. Although the likelihood of being caught in an attack is still relatively low, the reality is that we all need to be aware and be prepared so that we can keep ourselves and our families safe.
As we explained in Part 1, prevention is the best outcome of all, but here’s what the experts recommend if you do find yourself in peril.
“Run, Hide, Tell”
The National Police Chief’s Council (NPCC) has set out recommendations in case of a weapons or firearm attack, and while they focus on potential incidents within the UK, their advice is just as pertinent anywhere else in the world. What does it all mean?
RUN: Get as far away as possible, as quickly as possible
- Wherever you go, keep an eye out for emergency exits and routes. If there’s any sort of emergency – such as a fire – these escape routes can save your life.
- Consider the situation calmly and quickly before you act: what is the safest option?
- Many people believe that it’s a good idea to drop to the floor and “play dead” but NPCC advise against this unless it’s impossible to get away or take cover.
- Use those exits immediately, as long as it doesn’t put you in greater danger.
- Do not wait around to find out what has happened or stop to take photos. Don’t laugh, people have done just that.
- Insist that others leave with you. But if someone refuses to leave, don’t let them stop you.
- Leave belongings behind
Leave bags, suitcases, and other belongings where they are. These things can seem really important but remember that they are just things. Those extra seconds that it takes to pick up a handbag or gather your camera and tickets can be absolutely critical.
We can’t stress this enough: escape if you can and leave things behind. Those items can easily be replaced if you have appropriate travel insurance that covers terrorism.
If you can’t run, HIDE
- If you can’t leave, move away from open spaces
- If there has been an explosion, move away from any potential falling debris. Stay close to a wall or under a sturdy table. Don’t like matches or lighters as there could be gas leaks.
- If the attack is a shooting, get behind a solid wall or structure (brick, concrete, etc. that can’t be penetrated by bullets) and then look for a way out.
- Remember that if you can see the attacker, they may be able to see you.
- Keep completely silent – don’t even whisper.
- Put your mobile phone on ‘silent’ – we’ve all seen those films where one tiny beep gives away a location.
- If you’re hiding in a room, barricade yourself in
- Keep away from doors and windows
- Stop others from entering the scene if you can
- If someone has been injured, you can assist with basic First Aid until help arrives – if it is safe for you to do so.
If you’re able to make a call without being heard or endangering yourself, contact local emergency services.
- Provide details of what has happened, where you are, where the attackers are headed, and any other information available
- It’s always a good idea to programme these into your mobile when you travel, in case of any kind of emergency.
- Don’t call friends or family who may still be at the scene of the attack.
You can watch the NPCC’s ‘Stay Safe’ film here.
Additional Safety Tips
If you hear something that sounds like gunfire or an explosion, get as far away as possible. Even if you aren’t sure what it is, don’t wait to find out. And please don’t stop to record or take photos with your mobile.
If there has been an attack, it may be part of a broader plan, as was the case when bombs were detonated at Brussels’ main airport and a metro station. If there has been an explosion, avoid crowded areas and get as far away as possible.
Follow the instructions of security or safety personnel if they’re on the scene. They are trained in handling emergency situations, and they know the best routes to get you to safety. However, if there is nobody directing you, don’t wait around – get out!
Do not confront an attacker or a suspected attacker. Leave the area and tell the relevant authorities as soon as you are able to.
Consider that police won’t always know who the attackers are, so make sure you follow instructions calmly. Don’t be afraid if they point guns and tell you to put your hands up; they need to know you aren’t a threat!
When travelling with family or friends, work out what to do if you’re separated for any reason – natural disasters, lost mobile phones, accidents, etc.
- Pick a place to meet and have a plan
- Ensure that you all have emergency contact details and information.
Being prepared can make all the difference. Talk about emergency situations before you travel so everyone knows they must RUN, HIDE, and get to safety. We hope you never have to use this information, but it’s always so much safer to be informed and have a plan.
As always, we wish you a Safe Journey!
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