I have written previously about the importance for the ordinary citizen going about their daily lives to maintain an appropriate level of situational awareness Most of us anyway do that without thinking. Driving though a country village, down a suburban residential street, when using an ATM or when a train is approaching a station platform, our awareness becomes elevated then drops when the road widens out, when we have our money or when we have boarded the train. From that point it is an easy jump for the average person to train themselves to lift and soften their 'situational awareness,' as the environment demands and to do so automatically. This is a good step forward in staying safe.
Sometimes though, bad things just happen. How we react will depend on many, many factors and we can never ever know how we will respond under pressure until we are there, in the moment as it were.
It is a good plan if moving as a family, or a couple, to have an emergency rendezvous point. That is, 'if we're separated for any reason, lets meet at that junction.' Not to complicate things too much but having a 2nd RV is also good thinking. That is, 'if for any reason we can't make the RV at the junction in the first hour, move to the 2nd RV,' (which should be a good distance back from the first, if not some miles).
If, God forbid, you find yourself close to an incident, or involved in one, what then?
If you are with family, your responsibility is clear; get them to safety. The choices here are not easy and are mostly down to individual decision making and despite what anyone may say, luck. Personally, I would avoid going underground in cities like London, I would avoid obvious exit points or public transport hubs like stations. I would avoid likely points for secondary explosions which for example, might be nearby supermarket car parks or similar spaces where the terrorist might make a reasonable assumption that the emergency services might place their incident control centres there. I would be wary of law enforcement or security officers on the ground, who will know not much more about the bigger picture than do you, blindly directing crowds to obvious meeting points. Beware falling glass from modern high rise buildings, (which will persist long after any explosion), and beware panicking citizens behind you.
What though, if you are caught in the midst of things. This is when you wish you had stayed at home to do some ironing while watching Question Time. But you didn't and no one has taught or trained you in what to do. First, stay safe. As I have previously described, there may be a secondary danger with, for example, a live shooter following a detonation of a loud bangy thing. When you are confident the threat has passed or been neutralised your duty is clear. Help the wounded. Easier said than done I know but help is at hand.
A group of civilian and military doctors have just released an App called Citizen Aid. It is a basic Go-To aide memoir for life saving first aid and it is written specifically for the bad situations we have discussed and aims to prevent avoidable deaths by informing us of life saving actions to take with casualties before the professionals appear. Think of it as St Johns first aid ++.
Sir Keith Porter, professor of clinical traumatology at the University of Birmingham, is one of four clinicians behind the initiative.
He said: ‘I have treated hundreds of soldiers whose lives have been saved by the simple applications of tourniquets when they have been shot or blown up. Teaching individual soldiers these skills has saved lives. I think it is essential we train the public in those skills and that is exactly what CitizenAID does.’
Do please consider downloading the free App and of course, share the knowledge. It could save lives.