By Liliana Stoianova, Account Manager & Will Geddes, Managing Director
The last thing any organization or its employees want to focus on, while traveling, are potential terrorism threats. But the reality is, terrorism and danger are becoming more integrated into the global psyche. During the past two years, more than 70 attacks throughout the world have been attributed to the Islamic State (ISIS) alone. This doesn’t count domestic terrorism or attacks initiated by so-called “lone wolves” drawn to extremism and violence.
Historically, companies addressed and revised security measures following a violent incident or attack. But, in these times, organizations must ensure their employees’ safety by developing risk-assessment plans, understanding the worst-case scenario, and being prepared in the event that such a scenario should occur. Important aspects of such a plan include communication protocol and employee training.
Employees should understand what to do, and how to behave, before, during and in the immediate and long-term aftermath of a terrorist attack. The following are general tips that should be impressed upon an employee before he or she goes on that next business trip.
TIP #1. Know Your Surroundings. If you’re in a shopping mall, hotel, restaurant or a café, look around and determine an escape route in the event your original point of entry is blocked. This should be done before anything else. Familiarizing yourself with exits is a good rule of thumb for all situations, not just in preparing for potential acts of terror.
TIP #2. Trust Your Instincts. If something appears out of place, or causes discomfort, pay attention, no matter how silly or ridiculous that feeling might be. Gut instinct is useful when it comes to self-preservation. Being alert can save your life.
TIP #3. Run. You’re not a coward if you run from potential danger. Your life is more important than being an eye-witness to a dangerous situation. Though you might be drawn to a strange noise, resist your curiosity and head in the opposite direction as quickly as you can.
TIP #4. Hide. If running is out of the question, find a hiding place with more than one exit; one that can be secured with a locked door or barricade. Look for a “hard cover” spot behind or beneath a solid structure with concrete walls.
TIP #5. Silence is Golden. If you are hiding, keep still, and ensure those with you are quiet as well. Silence all electronic devices. Don’t make it easy for terrorists or insurgents to find you, and turn you into a hostage or victim.
TIP #6. Seek Out a Safe Haven. This goes hand-in-hand with the first tip, to know your surroundings. Important safe havens include hotels, restaurants, cafés or shops. Once inside, keep away from the main entrance, windows and any large glass walls or panels.
TIP #7. Regroup. Ensure a pre-arranged destination for a group to meet in the event of an emergency. Also set up a second location, in the event the first might prove too dangerous or too close to ground zero.
The above are very general tips. They can, however, be modified to your organization’s procedures. The main aspects to impress upon your employees are: Be alert, be aware, be safe.
Liliana Stoivana is an EMEA Account Manager, for the Global Occupier Services Group for Cushman & Wakefield.
Will Geddes is the Managing Director for the International Corporate Protection Group.