Terror attacks: How you can stay safe
New Delhi: The September 7 terror attack at the Delhi High Court is clearly not going to be the last attack on Indian lives. Terrorism is a reality and our geopolitical situation ensures that we have to live with it.
It is also a reality that we can't rely on our government machinery and security apparatus to keep us safe. Our system suffers from multiplicity of authority and bureaucratic loopholes. Agencies, more often than not, do not share leads and information. Inputs are routinely neglected.
Even otherwise, no system in the world is 100 per cent terror-proof.
In such a situation, safety becomes your personal concern. The ibnlive team compiled some tips on how to stay vigilant, possibly help avert attacks and how to react in case of a terrorist attack.
Reporting suspicious looking objects, people or activities; verifying the identity of tenants; visiting usually crowded places markets, malls etc during off-peak hours; surveillance of parking lots come readily to mind.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) of the United States of America lists the following as things to take note of to help pre-empt a terror strike.
Surveillance: Anyone video recording or monitoring activities, taking notes, using cameras, maps, binoculars, etc near key facilities/events?
Suspicious Questioning: Anyone attempting to gain information in person, by phone, mail, email, etc, regarding a key facility or people who work there?
Tests of Security: Any attempts to penetrate or test physical security or procedures at a key facility/event?
Acquiring Supplies: Anyone attempting to improperly acquire explosives, weapons, ammunition, dangerous chemicals, uniforms, badges, flight manuals, access cards or identification for a key facility/event or to legally obtain items under suspicious circumstances that could be used in a terrorist attack?
Suspicious Persons: Anyone who does not appear to belong in the workplace, neighbourhood, business establishment or near a key facility/event?
Dry Runs: Any behaviour that appears to be preparation for a terrorist act, such as mapping out routes, playing out scenarios with other people, monitoring key facilities/events, timing traffic lights or traffic flow, or other suspicious activities?
Deploying Assets: Abandoned vehicles, stockpiling of suspicious materials or persons being deployed near a key facility/event?
If you answered yes to any of the above, you may have observed a stage in planning and execution of an attack. In that case, report the matter to the nearest police station or by dialing the control room immediately.
James Daywalt, in his instructional DVD: Terrorism – You May Be The Target, says that there are some basic things terrorists do before launching an attack. He has created a seven-parameter indicator for a possible terrorist strike.
3. Test of security
4. Acquiring supplies
5. Suspicious persons
6. Dry runs
7. Deploying assets
All these usually happen in plain and public view. One just needs to be observant enough. "If you feel you've observed something suspicious, do not dismiss it," says Daywalt. "Many criminal and terrorist plots have been averted just because someone was observant enough, and reported what they saw to the authorities," he adds.
The travel safety hub at www.worldnomads.com says the following:
Travellers involved or close to a terror incident are advised to exercise heightened security awareness and to follow the directives of local authorities. Here are a few safety first tips:
Stay within the confines of your residence or accommodation.
Do not go out into the public streets.
Be alert to local news developments.
Adhere to any imposed curfews or security restrictions.
Be aware of conspicuous or unusual behaviour. Unusual behaviour and strange devices should be reported to the police or security personnel promptly.
If you are in a building located close to the site of a terrorist attack, stay away from the windows.
If in the vicinity of an attack, do not stay to watch what is happening, as you will only get in the way of the emergency services. There is also a risk that additional attacks may occur.
Make a mental note of safe havens, such as police stations and hospitals.
In case of a bomb blast
Leave the area as soon as possible
Do not run you may be suspected as the bomber.
If you are in a crowd stay at the fringes.
Stay clear of glass shop fronts.
If you are injured, attend to yourself before others.
Obey all instructions and orders that are given by local police.
Make your way to a pre-planned secure area.
Write down what you saw before and after the blast it may help the authorities in their investigation.