As the events of the new go across our computers and cellphones on the terrorist attack overseas in Istanbul and the lives wasted by some nut bar off his or hers meds for the day, are you afraid or thinking about the what if and being prepared. In Health and Safety we always teach prevention through education and not just standing around for other to save our day!
When horrible events happen, people want to know why. Why was a random group of people targeted to have their innocent day destroyed by violence and terror? Why did the culprit choose that group of victims, that day on the calendar, that specific location? And who? Who was the mastermind behind the event? Who were the members of the group that perpetrated the horror?
Every time, that speculation includes accusations that our own government is behind it, pulling the strings. Other frequent theories are that the events never actually happened at all and that the victims are 100% made up of crisis actors.
The pursuit of the truth is an important quest. Some journalists have dedicated their entire lives to uncovering the Machiavellian plots of those who pull the strings and it’s a noble and meaningful calling.
Whether you believe what happened in Paris was at the hands of Muslim extremists waging a jihad or a state-sponsored act of terror to clamp down and take away more freedom, the single most important thing you can take away from this is a lesson in survival.
Survival is the focus
Massive disasters happen when people are going about their daily business. People go to concerts, fly to visit relatives, take vacations, run marathons, walk to work, take public transit, and shop at the mall. No matter who you are and where you live, if you aren’t an agoraphobic hermit, there are going to be times when you are part of a target-rich environment.
And if you find yourself in the midst of an attack, the motivation of the people attacking doesn’t matter at all. You are in just as much danger whether the perpetrator is a member of ISIS or a member of a secret government agency. A bomb is a bomb, an AK-47 is an AK-47, and a machete will lop off your head, regardless of the motivation of the person wielding it.
If you find yourself suddenly in the midst of an act of terrorism, your actions should be one of the following:
1. 1) Escape. Get as far away from the threat as possible. …
2. 2) Take cover. If you can’t get away, get behind something solid and wait for your opportunity to either escape or fight back. …
3. 3) Take out the threat.
Perhaps the worst thing about preparing for terrorist attacks is that they are totally random and they have the nasty habit of occurring when you expect them the least.
The element of surprise is often a terrorist’s best weapon. One of the main motives behind terrorist acts is to create a constant state of paranoia, a psychological tactic meant to instill fear in the targeted population.
Being prepared for a terrorist attack feeds into that to a certain extent – just thinking about terrorist threats all the time can have the same effect as a terrorist act that already happened. However, it’s a matter of finding a balance between being psychologically bullied and being prepared.
Steps to Take for Survival sometimes it is MORE THAN RUN, HIDE, FIGHT!
As you enter crowded spaces, identify your exits, particularly the nearest, quickest, widest, non-electrical exit. Identify these exits as you enter, so that you don’t need to search for them during an emergency. Don’t use the elevator or escalator, which tends to be a chokepoint and may lose electrical power. Use fixed steps. If you have a choice of stairs, use the building’s main staircase, rather than the narrower stairways that are more frequently and conveniently located.
PRACTICE it should be part your ERP
If you visit a site repeatedly, practice entering and exiting by the safest route, so that you train yourself to it. If you must flee, don’t get sucked into fleeing the way you came in just because it’s the way you came in, or get sucked in the direction that the crowd is moving. Comply with your prior evaluation of the safest exit, unless a threat gets in the way.
Once you’ve identified a threat, flee immediately and don’t consider any other action. In other words, don’t think about it, just react. Don’t take time to consider what happened. Some people will do nothing—they may be cognitively overloaded. Some people will question what is happening. Some people will panic without completing a single choice.
If you’re confident of an emergency, act immediately, stick to your emergency plan and get out via the best exit as soon as possible. You’re helping everybody else by removing your body from the crowded space, after which you can consider helping others.
If you can’t flee, then lay down behind the hardest cover available, ideally reinforced concrete or masonry. Forget everything you’ve seen in the movies. Don’t rely on tables, cars, chipboard/pasteboard walls, appliances or furniture—except to hide from view or to shield you from falling objects. Don’t err toward metals: Most metals in buildings and automobiles are thin sheets of soft aluminum or mild steel, which are easily perforated by bullets and blown into secondary projectiles by blast. Get out of the way of windows, which are easily blown into hundreds of projectiles. Bullet-proof walls are 7-8 inches (15-20 cm) of reinforced masonry or concrete; most load bearing walls in that material are only 6 inches thick; most non-load bearing walls are of thinner, inferior materials. Be aware that even if the material is bullet-proof, bullets can flow through joints in masonry or paneling, bounce around corners and even bounce backward with enough energy to kill, while objects overhead can be dislodged by blast, so don’t be complacent about the many directions in which you need protection. Stay prone on the ground: A standing target offers more surface area to projectiles traveling horizontally; blast tends to travel upward; and collapsing structures can be held up by objects around you.
If you can’t find hard cover, at least hide from the attackers’ line of sight. If you find a good hiding place, barricade yourself in, wirelessly communicate with officials if safe to do so, be patient in waiting for official help and be wary of threats that pretend to be official helpers. Popular culture tends to describe modern multi-method attacks as “simultaneous” or “coordinated,” as if they finish in seconds to minutes, but in fact they can be consecutive over a period of many hours, as terrorists strike at different responders in the same area or move to different locations.
If, while hiding, you identify an exit, take it as soon as the attackers are distracted or reloading. To be discovered or taken hostage by a new terrorist is usually fatal. If you’re confronted by official personnel as they approach to rescue you or to confront the threats, keep your hands open, up and away from your body. If you can, point out the threats with an open hand and verbally identify the threats. Obey official instructions to get out of the way and exit.
Once you’ve exited, follow any official instructions to a safe area, or keep putting distance between you and the threats, or put taller buildings between you and the threats. Don’t just stop in the open. Blast, blown objects and bullets can travel more than a kilometer (1,000 yards) with enough energy to kill.
Be mindful that terrorists sometimes prepare a second attack on the route by which survivors are likely to flee the first attack. Get away from any further chokepoints or confined spaces until you find official help, and then calmly describe to the officials what you observed—your accurate observations could save lives. Don’t embellish, assume, exaggerate, conflate or imagine: Inaccurate observations could waste time or misdirect resources.
Don’t be tempted to leave a safe area in order to see what is happening at the attack site, and don’t go back to help unless you are sure that security personnel have made the site safe and will not mistake you for a threat.
Keep in mind that there’s no magic formula for surviving a terrorist attack; there are no guarantees that anything that you do will save you, and anyone that will tell you otherwise is full of BS. The main factor in surviving a terrorist attack is luck, to begin with, and the proper state of mind.
But there are a few steps to follow, if you want to reduce the risks and increase your chances of survival after the initial attack, so stick with me and find out. Basically, we need to talk about three stages of survival during a terrorist attack: let’s take a look at each one and see how to stay alive:
1. In the first stage of a terrorist attack, the most important thing is that you’re still alive and didn’t die in the first sneak attack – it means you’re lucky. Now you must keep staying alive, hence if you hear gunshots or explosions and you don’t know what to do, go find yourself some proper cover!
· Duck and cover, and keep moving until you reach your cover. By proper cover, we don’t mean “hide under your desk”; that won’t help much. A good shelter, maybe the ideal spot, is behind a support beam or a concrete pillar, they will protect you from random bullets or even stop debris from hitting you in the eventuality of an explosion.
· Call 911 if you can, and if the attack is localized. If there are other people alive around you, you should join them – there really is safety in numbers as long as they group isn’t in an absolute panic. United we stand, divided we fall, especially if it comes to a “stand and fight” situation.
· If you hear announcements on the radio or on TV, you must do what you’re told. During a terrorist attack is not the best time to question authority, no matter how much you hate it.
· If you see people choking and collapsing, it may be some chemical stuff floating in the air, so cover your nose and your mouth. Even the thin fabric of a scarf or a shirt (especially if it’s wet) will make a difference and it will reduce the chances of inhaling chemical/biological agents, not to mention the smoke and dust that will be in the air after an explosion.
2. The second stage of surviving a terrorist attack is to try to escape from ground zero (if you’re at the ground zero).
If you’re inside and the problem is inside, just get out of there! The general rule of thumb when you’re indoors is to know exactly where the exit points are at all times; that knowledge may save your life some day.
If the danger is somewhere outside and you’re inside of a building, stay away from the windows in case of a secondary explosion. Next, close all the doors and windows, shut off the air conditioning system in order to keep the eventual toxic substances (after an explosion, fire or biological attack) from sneaking inside.
Try to make the building as air tight as possible. If the building you’re in is not severely damaged or burning, you should stay put until you know that it’s safe to evacuate the premises.
If you think you were exposed to toxic substances, strip and shower as soon as possible. Keep in mind that there are some toxic agents that can react to water in a dangerous way, so keep your eyes peeled in case of anything fishy.
3. In the third stage of a terrorist attack, supposing that you’re trapped inside a building that was taken over by terrorists, things can get messy. Basically you have two choices : being a sheep or being a wolf. You can wait for somebody to save you if you’d like.
The other choice is to fight for your life. Use a piece of broken glass, a knife, a heavy object (use your imagination) and hide somewhere hard to spot. If you can escape to get help, do so unless you’re a trained combatant. Terrorists are generally trained fighters and you don’t want to go head-to-head with them unless you’re capable of doing so.
When the opportunity arrives, do what you have to do to survive. If you’re forced to fight, fight to kill. If you defeat the terrorist, you can use his weapons/body armor for your escape. Improvise, think ahead! Obviously, if you go for this course of action, you should be physically fit and capable of fighting. Otherwise, you’re going to be dead fairly quickly.
The most important thing in a survival situation is to stay calm and to use your head. Fear is natural but don’t let it control you. Try not to panic, use your common sense, and stay safe. Having a first aid /survival kit with you at work/in your car at all times will dramatically increase the chances of survival in case of injury.
The bottom line is that in a terrorist attack, you’re going to have to keep it together. Fighting may be your only option but if you can escape, do so unless you’re trained in combat. Otherwise, you’ll just end up dead and you may get others killed along with you. Do what you need to do to survive.