Concerts, festive markets or shopping on the high street – the holiday season is always a popular time for going out. And, as much as these events are to be enjoyed, it is important that anyone attending such events should consider their own personal safety.
Here are my top tips to consider when you are in a crowd:
1. Make trips rewarding, not risky, so ensure you’re familiar with your surroundings.
2. Be vigilant and aware, but not alarmed.
3. Know where the exits are in case you have to react to what is a very unlikely event.
4. Have a charged mobile phone with you, so you are able to get access to information about disruption or any on-going incidents, as well as call for help, if necessary.
5. Follow advice from local authorities, and have confidence in our police, intelligence and security agencies to prevent/disrupt, or warn us appropriately.
6. Walk against the direction of traffic if walking on main thoroughfares or bridges to increase reaction times.
7. If anything happens, immediately depart the scene by a direct route in the opposite direction of any threat, taking shelter when possible.
8. Find a safe location and, once there, move only if you need to find a more secure location.
9. Immediately attempt to communicate. Remember mobile (cellular) communications networks might be unworkable, either as the volume of traffic increases, or as emergency responders reserve the network for their own purposes: landline services are an alternative.
10. In the immediate aftermath, make reasonable attempts to account for other members of your party. If you are in a group, stay together.
11. If necessary, seek medical assistance immediately. Find out where any injured people will be taken and accompany injured friends/relatives to hospital.
12. Don't let it ruin your event!
While it's important to be vigilant about the kind events we've seen in London, France and Germany in past years, you need to keep it in proportion. Expect a heightened security presence during the holiday season. Be mindful of pickpockets and vigilant when crossing the road or travelling by car during the holidays, as road incidents and theft are far more likely to impact your safety than the threat of terrorism.
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