With the increasing amount of terrorist attacks and active shooters, it has become that much more important to learn how to survive an attack.
March 22, 2016: The Brussels terrorist attack that left 32 dead and 320 injured in two large public spaces in the city. It was committed by three suicide bombers who were active in ISIS. A memorial was unveiled on the first anniversary.
March 22, 2017: Four people, including a police officer and the suspect, are reported dead in central London. At least 20 are reported injured. The event is investigated as a terrorist incident. A suspected “lone wolf” had crashed into the British Parliament’s perimeter fence, threatening the political elite of the nation and wreaking havoc on bystanders.
With these two incidents on the books, it is likely the date — March 22 — will be recorded as a day of infamy.
With these incidents as just two in a string of terrorist attacks in Europe, Americans continue to question when the next 9/11 will hit our nation. In fact, terrorism tops off our nation’s list worries, superseding local crime, healthcare, and unemployment woes. There is a lot in place at the federal level: the FBI’s National Joint Terrorism Task Force operates and manages more than 100 local teams around the nation, allowing private and public sector agencies to share information to counter terrorism; the Department of Homeland Security is devoted to preventing terrorist activities; and we have a National Counterterrorism Center that is teamed up with nearly all federal departments to prevent terrorist activities.
Even with all of these agencies working to protect the public, we have a tendency to work ourselves into a frenzy of questions and anxiety about when we will be directly impacted. While this is a natural reaction, we need to take steps to learn how to react effectively in a terrorist situation so as to protect ourselves and others.
Enhancing your general situational awareness is key to ensuring your safety in the event of a terrorist incident, particularly if it involves an active shooter. In London, the sound of gun shots triggered immediate response for law enforcement and the Parliamentary offices to go into lockdown. This is the positive outcome of effective trainings and drills. Additionally, being aware of your environment — who is there, what they are holding, how they are behaving, nearest entrances and exits — offers you a chance to identify suspicious activity, report a suspicion, and prepare to run, hide, or fight.
As soon as you suspect there is a terrorist incident, be prepared to run, hide, and fight. Put yourself into a mindset that keeps you calm yet reactive. Your first instinct should be to run away from the situation. Once you can confirm you are safe, locate or call police officers or local security.
If running is not possible, find a hiding place. This can be into a room with a lock or objects to barricade the door, behind dense objects, or in a dark space in which identifying a target would be difficult. Keep it in mind that you may need to move to a new space as the threat gets closer and that you may also end up fighting. Wherever you are, fashion yourself an improvised weapon with which to fight.
If you are forced to engage in a fight with the instigator, you have three key goals: defend yourself, incapacitate the perpetrator, and secure his/her weapon as quickly as possible. Heavy objects from your surroundings that can be thrown at or bashed into the perpetrator are ideal weapons. If there are others with you, work as a team.
Remember, your safety is primary in any terrorist situation.
For terrorist incidents the involve a bomb threat, knowing the DHS bomb threat checklist and quick tips on how to handle a bomb threat is a necessity. We recommend posting this material, or others like it, in your organization’s facility. It is also useful to host a bomb threat training. AEGIS’ Workplace Violence & Security Awareness training program is designed to provide information on how to identify, predict, mitigate and respond to workplace violence, crime, and terrorism. Specific training on bomb threat protocol can be incorporated into your personal resiliency program to enhance your workplace’s ability to effectively and safely handle such a situation.
While the terrorist attacks described in the post include suicide bombings and using a car as a weapon, the shocking reality is that the most common form of terrorism is active shooters. We encourage all organizations to host active shooter trainings to help ensure the safety of their members.
AEGIS offers two unique opportunities for active shooter training, both of which thoroughly engage participants in practicing the run, hide, fight method and mode of thinking. Our live active shooter training course puts participants in a situation in which they are forced to react and “survive” the scenario. This course works most effectively for group trainings. We also have a new online active shooter training course that utilizes videogame-like technology to put participants through a similar scenario to that of our live version, but it can be completed on one’s personal time rather than as a group.
Trainings from AEGIS are hosted in a controlled, safe space that imitate real-world threats and orient participants to appropriately react and protect themselves and others should such a scenario become a reality.
AEGIS Security & Investigations is a Los Angeles region company that is licensed and insured in the State of California to provide high-end armed and unarmed regular and temporary off-duty police officers, bodyguards, security officers, loss prevention agents, and event staff. Additionally, we offer services for private investigation, consultation, people tracing, and background investigation. Our trainings and workshops in the field of security licensure and counter-terrorism have been featured in news media and are renowned for their efficacy. For more information or to contact us, visit www.aegis.com.
Authors: Jeff Zisner & Chelsea Turner