Sure – “If you See Something, Say Something!” Great advice. BEFORE an event takes place. But what about after an attack begins? What about, as the experts say, “right of boom?”
In her excellent book, The Unthinkable – Who Survives When Disaster Strikes – and Why, journalist Amanda Ripley makes the excellent point that the people most likely to survive in a disaster are those who act instead of waiting for . . . something. But act how? If caught in a terrorist attack like the one in Manchester, or Paris or Orlando, what should you do?
Here are 10 actions to take.
1. Get down. Not all the way to the ground because that makes it hard to get up, and if you have others with you it might be hard to get them up. Just crouch to down to reduce your profile.
2. Get everybody – everybody who is with you. Communicate. Look them in the eyes. Touch them. Especially children. Tell them what you’re going to do. “We’re going to go straight down this hall to the next exit and then go out. Keep moving – we will get away from the building before we stop. Stay with me. Keep your eyes on me. Don’t look around. Don’t look back.”
3. Get moving. Hurry but don’t run. Keep everyone together. Look ahead, not back.
4. If you have to stop, stop against a wall and get down. Stay away from the middle of the crowd. Stay away from glass. Stay away from packages or backpacks or people who look suspicious. If they are not as afraid as you are, they are suspicious. There may be a 2d or 3d attack.
5. Teach your family: if someone is separated, they should stand with their back to a hard wall (not glass). It is easier to find a lost child against a wall than in a crowd. It is easier for a child to see someone looking for them when backed against a wall.
6. Teach children: if you are lost and someone offers to help, ask to borrow a cell phone. If they say they don’t have one, get away – they are lying.
7. Once outside, if you see smoke, move upwind. There might be something in it besides just smoke.
8. Keep moving – do not stop where there are cars, trucks, or people. Expect another attack.
9. Leave – don’t hang around to watch. Responders need the roads. Clear the area.
10. If you want to notify someone you are OK, text, don’t call. When circuits are jammed, a text might still go through.
And if you want to add an item 11 to this list, here it is: Think about the unthinkable before it happens.