What to do in case of a terrorist attack?

By @jldecastellvi *

There is by now  a long period of surprises related to terrorist attacks in Europe. Not forgetting the Spanish 11-M, in the last two years there have been terrible attacks in France, Belgium and Germany. Certainly it has been even worse in other countries, but the ones that have rocked the Europeans in general have been those of their neighbours in Europe.

There have been also numerous arrests of suspected terrorists, recruiters or informants by the police. Which has prevented many more attacks in Europe, but there is always the possibility that it may finally carried out a new attack on our soil.

That’s why I have gathered a few tips, as a Decalogue, but explaining each point as widely as possible, about what can a “normal” person should do if involved in such unfortunate situation. And remember, throughout Europe, the emergency number is 1-1-2.

The most important thing is to lead a normal life. They seek for your fear. But applying some simple self-protection measures you will increase the chances of doing well in case of being victim of a terrorist attack as we have seen in the media in recent months.

While the situation is normal:

1. When you are in public places, locate emergency exits and escape routes. Whether indoor or outdoor parties, locate where to leave if something bad happens, so you will not be disoriented looking for a way out in the middle of an emergency.

2. Stay on the alert levels of your country, the official links are:

For Spain, for UK, for France, for Belgium , for other countries you can look for the link on Google.

3. Stay informed with official twitter accounts. In many countries there are VOST teams (Virtual Operations Support Teams), who will tell you which ones to follow in each incident. You can find yours here: VOST Europe and the official list around the world HERE.  For French speaking countries: @VISOV1  , Belgium @VOSTbe and Spain @VostSpain

If you see yourself involved in a terrorist attack by active shooter:
4. Do not risk yourself by taking pictures or videos. Your safety first. Call 1-1-2 as soon as possible for help.
5. If you’re at home, stay away from windows. Turn out the lights, check curtains or blinds down and do not lean out. Call 1-1-2 and gives all the information you have available (if there had been gunfire or explosions, more accurate address possible, if you’ve seen smoke or not, if you’ve seen the number of attackers and weapons they carry, etc.).
In the United States they have popularized the use of “RUN-HIDE-FIGHT” against active shooters (people who come armed in one place and shoot everyone until they run out of bullets or are killed), extending through Europe. Even the Belgian Red Cross provides training to people with these guidelines after recent terrorist attacks in the country, (Here you can see the video of the United States Department of Homeland Security, LINK. And here a version translated into Spanish, LINK), so:
6. If they attack where you are, you FLEE without hesitation for your escape route. If possible, take along as many people as you find in your way out. But do not even argue with those who do not want to follow you. Just RUN away. Neither stop to help the wounded.
7. If you can not run away, HIDE and tries to block access with furniture or whatever you find at hand. Put your mobile in silence and do not make noise (remember that vibration can draw attention from several meters away). Call 1-1-2 and report your position if you see it for sure. So the police know where to find you. Do not post it on social networks, do not know if the attackers are accessing them.
8. If they find your hideout, FIGHT. Attack with all your strength and then flees until you find the police.
9. Approach to the police with your hands up and empty (no mobile or other objects). It is likely that you will be handcuff until they can prove that you are a victim, do not protest and do not resist. Until everything is cleared up, it is done for the safety of all. Do not scream and stay calm at all times.
Police may enter the place while the shooter is still active, precisely to try to neutralize it. If the police find you, they will not stay with you, they will keep looking. So do not make any sudden movements and follow their instructions, whether or stay where you were or going out to meet the agents waiting outside.
If you are not involved but are around or reading what happens in social networks:
10. Do not spread hoaxes on attacks. No reports on social networks about the location of police controls.
There is another thing that can happen, you find a suspicious package. If for some reason you think that may be an explosive device:
1. Move. Get away and leave the visual line with the object. If you can see it, the shock wave can reach you.
2. From a safe distance, warns the 1-1-2 to report to the police and other relevant services.
3. Do not use your phone or radio near the suspicious package.
4. Do not touch the suspicious package.
5. If you can, do not let anyone handle the suspicious package.
I hope this information is useful, and above all, never have to use it. Thank you for spreading it to reach as many people as possible.
Images: Both taken from the Internet, without being able to prove his authorship, but google brings me to this link to the first.
* Safety and Security Specialist. Personal views. LinkedIn.

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