It has been an awful month, you’ll agree with me on that. In the past three weeks, we have seen several attacks which have been classified as terrorist attacks occurring around the world. These include the Orlando shooting, the killing of a French policeman, the police escort ambush in Mandera and, most recently, the attack on the Istanbul Ataturk airport. In total, we have seen at least 90 fatalities and over 300 injuries, all in 18 days! This scenario has left me feeling guilty as maybe some of the dead may have come across this article if I had written it earlier and maybe they would still be with us. Anyway, I hope that this article will be helpful to anyone who may get caught up in such an attack. Some of these tips are courtesy of the BBC.
- Be prepared
In many situations, people who are not expecting gunshots will assume they are something else because they do not fit in with their environment or expectations. This was seen in the Orlando attack where some witnesses said that they initially thought the gunshots were part of the music that was playing. We need to always be prepared for possible worst case scenarios as people who usually do this take less time reacting and hence are able to take action faster. This includes locating all emergency exits, keeping an eye out for suspicious people particularly sweaty, twitchy ones or those with backpacks and keeping loved ones close to you in case you need to make a run for it. Also, if possible, have the right equipment like gas masks and helmets around you at all times. This may sound silly and inconvenient but will definitely come in handy in case of chemical attacks or fires.
- React quickly
A vast majority of people will be too confused to do anything during an attack. In fact, studies show that in life threatening situations worldwide, only 15% of people will react in a way that will help them survive. 75% of will be too perplexed to do anything while the remaining 10% will react in a way that reduces their chances of survival. In such situations, acting decisively is important for survival and waiting for other people to act first, as some studies have shown, might actually lead to doom. Remember, in such situations, every split second counts.
- Make yourself a smaller target
Get out of the way of attack. Take cover, preferably behind a hard reinforced concrete wall. Hide in offices and toilets if possible. Lie down and keep quiet. Run if it is safe to do so and if so, take others with you and leave belongings behind. Basically, keep out of the line of sight of the attacker. Attackers are always looking for movement. Therefore, any sound or movement will definitely catch their eye and this could result in more injuries and fatalities.
This is definitely not the best idea, particularly if you have no training. This is because most attackers usually move in groups and some of them have explosives and body armor. However, some people argue that fighting back may be important if necessary. This is particularly illustrated in situations where the terrorists seem to only be motivated to kill or if opportunities present themselves, for example, if the attacker is distracted and the hostages can overpower him/her.
- Co-operate with others
One assumption that is usually made that in major attacks; it’s usually everybody for himself and God for us all. However, that is not the case. Studies have shown that in such situations, people always help each other out. This increases the people’s chances of survival and definitely avoids situations whereby everyone gets jammed at crucial exits like fire escapes. So, if you get caught up in such an attack, help a brother or sister out as well.
We live in the day and age where almost everyone has a mobile phone and internet access. Therefore, communication is crucial in case of an attack. If you are able to hide in a secure location and have a means of communicating with the outside world like a mobile phone, use it. Contact friends, relatives or the police and constantly keep them filled them in on what is going on in the premises. If possible, take videos and pictures of where you are. This goes a long in helping authorities to figure out how to react and rescue hostages. But remember, DO NOT GET CAUGHT! It is therefore advisable to put your phone on silent to avoid detection and use messaging services.
- After the escape
Once someone has escaped from the situation, it is important to be vigilant. Get as far away as possible, get as much hard cover as possible and avoid big groups nearby or taking public transport. This is based on the assumption that there may be a secondary device or action. Always go to the nearest authorities and take advice from them as they may have better knowledge of the situation.
Too many lives have been lost to the global scourge of terrorism. It is therefore our duty to unite so as to ensure that no more lives are lost. On that, I would like to offer my condolences to all those who have lost their loved ones to the recent series of loved ones and particularly whose died during the Turkish airport attacks. You will always be in our hearts.
As always, I look forward to your feedback so feel free to comment and if you liked it, go on to give it a thumbs up and share. Cheers!
PS, Happy Social Media Day!!