We have all seen the aftermath of a terror attack on the news. What can we do to protect ourselves? How can we avoid being a target or permanent part of the landscape after a terror attack? You would be surprised how easy it is to instantly become safer. No plan is completely foolproof but being 90% safer is much better than no safety at all. The following things are proven to reduce your profile to terrorists. You only have to make minor changes and you will be much safer now than yesterday.
- Terrorists are primarily cowards. They will not stand and fight the military or the police. They rely on the fear generated by previous attacks to effect political change.
- Terrorists often have limited resources and accesses. This means that they will be far more resourceful than you can possibly fathom when it comes to dreaming up new ways to kill people in the name of whatever this weeks’ “cause” is.
- Terrorists do not have a set of “gentlemen’s rules” to be followed.
How can I avoid being a high profile target?
This is a fairly simple question with a not so simple answer.
- Avoid a routine as much as possible. Take various different routes to and from home, work, and shopping. This also includes changing the times you leave and arrive on a regular basis.
- Avoid distractions in public. Let me say that again…AVOID DISTRACTIONS IN PUBLIC! Do not text while walking, talking on your cell phone, listen to headphones etc.
- Be completely aware of your surroundings. Keep your head on a swivel and check behind you at regular intervals.
- Avoid areas that do not have adequate lighting.
- Avoid crowds as much as possible…especially crowds in confined spaces.
- ALWAYS…ALWAYS…ALWAYS KNOW YOUR ESCAPE ROUTE!!!!!!!!!!!!!
- You should be constantly calculating the quickest means to a safe exit from where ever you are. If this means climbing over seats and jumping over counters so be it!!! What is important is getting out with your life intact.
- Most people that die in fires do so because they try to exit an area by the way they came in. DON’T BE THAT CORPSE! Always look for the exit signs and have a plan to get there as quickly as possible. This course of action works for all life-threatening events. You may not be able to stop the fight or flight reflex but you can use it to your greatest advantage.
- Avoid confined spaces and mass transit as much as possible. It does not take much smoke, toxin or CO2 to very quickly put a lot of people in dire straits in a confined area. A good example is the chemical agent attack in the Tokyo subway a few years ago. A very little agent was use and a lot of people got hurt or killed.
- Soft targets are just that…no protection whatsoever. Outdoor cafes may be quaint but they are also within the kill radius of the average terrorist’s car bomb. Avoid outdoor cafes, markets and the like that have vehicle parking or roadside access within 300 feet.
- Airports, bus stations, and train depots sometimes cannot be avoided in the course of business travel. Minimize your exposure by not loitering outside in the unsecured areas. Find seating that allows you to see the main entryways and again find your escape routes. Keep a constant watch on everyone and everything. If something does not feel “right” your gut may be telling you there is more going on than meets the eye.
- Avoid being the “ugly American”. Keep incendiary remarks to yourself in public and do not draw attention to yourself by mentioning (bragging) about your job, money, house, car or exploits. These are just a few of the things that the terrorists of today feed upon. Don’t give them a reason to make you there next cause of the week target.
These ten steps will hopefully help keep you safer as you travel and make you more aware and secure of your surroundings. Read any material you can on Situational Awareness and on Operational Risk Management. Both of these can be very helpful in your day to day safety.