Bombs: Stay Alert and Stay Safe
Be bomb aware
For most of my adult life I lived in Britain. On the surface this seems like a safe place to live but for many years there was always the threat of terrorism. In England's case it was from the IRA (Irish Republican Army). Now the threat comes from other places including 'home grown terrorists'. I am not going to speak of politics and the reasons behind the bombs, I am going to help you as an individual stay safe by giving you advice on things to look out for.
By being alert and having an action plan, you can carry on your life as normal whilst keeping you and your family safe.
Bombs in trash cans
This is an obvious place to put a bomb. Who looks for anything suspicious in a trash can? No one! When I was in England, I went to the Opening of Parliament which the Queen of England attends. The security in London was extreme and one of the things the police did, was seal all the public trash cans. This ensured that no bomb could be placed inside without detection. It is much easier to clean up the small amount of trash after the event is over.
You may have heard announcements in the airports about not leaving your bag or cases unattended. The reason of course is the threat of a bomb. In Britain, this level of security is always expected in stores, restaurants and railways stations as well. In fact, anywhere where there are people there are normally signs posted to be aware of unaccompanied bags.
If you see one, tell a member of staff in whichever premises you are in. If you are on the street, telephone the police from a safe distance.
In England I worked at a retail outlet where I was a store trainer. One of the areas I would instruct managers in was what to do if there was a potential threat such as an explosive device. They would evacuate the store through one of the many fire exits that were away from the suspected device.
All of the staff, were trained every 6 months what to do in the event of a fire and how to safely evacuate customers.
The police and fire department would be called to handle the potential threat before anyone would be allowed to return to the building. Although a nuisance to a busy day, everyone understood the reasons behind it.
One of my nephews forgot his school bag in a train station. The alert was sounded and the fire department was called. Using a water cannon they eliminate what could have been a potential explosive device. In the end, my nephew was spoken to by the fire department about the seriousness of the situation.
Suspected mail bomb
Another item we trained office staff and managers in was what to look for in packages delivered through the mail or from a courier. If any packages had something protruding from the envelope or was something out of the ordinary, this was treated with suspicion.
Although people receive junk mail, unordered packages should be treated with caution.
Safety as an individual
What can you do as an individual to keep you and your family safe?
- Find out what type of security plans your city has in place for various events. Plan your activities to those you feel safe attending.
- When you enter a building such as a store, locate other exits than just the door you came in. These will have signs in place.
- Be alert for unaccompanied bags or backpacks.
- Learn basic first aid.
- Be aware of unusual behavior of people.
- Contact numbers. If there is a major emergency, normally out of town numbers will be the ones to be restored first. Have an out of state contact for you and your family to phone. They can relay messages as to the whereabouts and safety of other members of your family or group.
- At work, keep a pair of walking shoes just in case public transportation is disrupted.
Business manager or owner
As a manager or an owner of a business you have the obligation to train your staff on how to deal not just with customers but what to do in an emergency.
This could be necessary if there is a fire, explosion, or even a robbery. A bit of forward planning will help you put measures into place that show you have shown due diligence in protecting not just your staff but the customers and the premises as well.