Bombing Incidents: Security Advice

By Emma Drew

March 29, 2016

Bombing Incidents: Security Advice

Perkins Slade guest blog is brought to you by Drum Cussac.

Following more recent terror attacks the blog provides some useful guidance for anyone travelling abroad and outlines the precautionary measures individuals can take to minimise their personal risk.

While some of the following advice may seem obvious, it is worth reiterating. Often taking the simplest precautions can make a dramatic difference.

While travelling or going about your business: 

  • Though by its nature a bombing may occur with little or no warning, stay well informed of the security environment and the threats
  • Read foreign travel advice and information given by your nearest embassy or consulate
  • Be vigilant, take notice of your surroundings, and report any suspicious object, package, person or activity to police immediately
  • Limit the time you spend in hotel lobbies, in the vicinity of security installations and in transport hubs – all of these are popular targets
  • If you are in an environment with a raised threat of improvised explosive devices (IEDs), selection of your hotel room can make all the difference. The optimum floor is the third floor as it offers distance from a vehicle-borne IED and yet keeps you in reach of ladders for emergency services. Try to select a room which is not above reception, preferably at the rear of the building
  • In higher risk geographies, avoid queues (vehicle or pedestrian) outside potential targets such as embassies, night clubs, sports events, refineries etc.
  • Note any individuals loitering outside restricted and controlled security zones, suspicious vehicles and any other unusual incidents
  • Do not leave any luggage unattended. Terrorists have planted bombs in the luggage of unsuspecting travellers. Wrapping bags in plastic may improve security when using airports and train stations
  • Only accept luggage or packages from a friend, colleague or family member whom you know very well indeed – it can be easier to have a blanket ban and refuse all such requests
  • Trust your instincts. If you feel threatened in any way, leave the immediate area. Attempt to put distance between you and the threat and, if possible, stay out of line-of-sight
  • Plan your exit in advance: know how you would get out of a building, public area or transport hub in an emergency. Know where your emergency exits are and identify which floor you are on in case you need to take the stairs or notify someone of your location
  • On arrival at your hotel, walk the route from your room to the street via the fire escape. It will improve your chances of finding it safely in the dark or in smoke. It will also prove that the route is clear and not locked

Potential suspicious activity that may indicate an attack is being planned could take the form of:

  • Groups or individuals taking significant interest in the location of CCTV, parking areas, service yards, doors and entrances
  • Activity inconsistent with the nature and routine of the building or working environment
  • Individuals loitering in restricted areas
  • Missing security passes, uniforms or vehicles
  • A pattern or series of false alarms indicating possible testing of security systems and observation of response behaviour and procedures (bomb threats, leaving hoax devices or packages)
  • Overt or covert photography, video cameras, possession of photographs, maps and blueprints of facilities and critical infrastructures, including electricity transformers, gas pipelines and telephone cables

If there is an explosion:

  • It may sound obvious, but get under a sturdy table or structure if things are falling around you. When they stop falling, leave quickly, watching for obviously weakened structures
  • Leave the area as quickly as possible once it is safe to do so. Do not stop to retrieve personal possessions or make phone calls
  • Do not use elevators or block emergency exits
  • An initial explosion may be designed to force people into a larger, main attack, so be aware of the dangers of secondary devices. A secondary explosion may be larger than the first in a bid to snare emergency responders or those trying to help the injured. Avoid moving to crowded areas as these are obvious targets for secondary attacks
  • Beware of flying glass debris, from either a primary or secondary incidents. Avoid buildings constructed predominantly of glass and be sure to take refuge away from such buildings when evacuating
  • If there is a fire after the blast, stay low to the ground, cover your mouth with a handkerchief or clothing, and leave the area as quickly as possible

Guidance on vehicle bombs

 Be vigilant of:

  • Vehicles that appear weighed-down and may have had their interiors stripped down and rebuilt. The interior of the vehicle may also have odd protrusions or visible wires
  • Vehicles parked outside entrances or unusual areas for longer than normal, possibly with one or more people remaining in the vehicle
  • Delivery vehicles arriving at premises outside normal delivery times
  • Vehicles emitting suspicious odours, such as fuel or gas
  • Vehicles looking out of place (terrorists sometimes use the ruse of a broken down vehicle)
  • Suspicious vehicles left in car parks, possibly for a prolonged period of time
  • Erratic or suspicious driving of vehicles around buildings
  • The same or similar individuals returning to carry out the same activity in different sized vehicles

Please note, for more guidance relating to the locations where you have people and assets or which your business travellers visit, talk to us and we will be able to provide personalised advice. Visit Drum Cussac.

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