Protecting Ourselves & Our Property Against Acts of Terror

Not only am I a travel blogger but I am also an Emergency Planning professional. What’s that? Well, basically I write plans for when bad things happen i.e. floods, pandemics, and severe weather. I also write plans on how to respond to terrorist-related attacks and acts of terror. That of course in no way makes me an ‘expert’ on ways to prevent something from happening. However, after 14 years during the job, I do have a lot of knowledge on ways we can protect ourselves and our property prior to an event and at the time, should the worse happen. Therefore, I thought I would pull this post together to give some information about terrorism and how we can help protect ourselves, our loved ones and our property.

Terrorism is something that people don’t really like to talk about and that is completely understandable. However, it is a fact that acts of terror are becoming more frequent both at home i.e. Manchester Arena, London Bridge and Finsbury Park Mosque and abroad including the Tunisia, Barcelona and Nice attacks for example where Brits were killed or injured whilst on holiday. So now really is the time to start talking openly and honestly about it. We all need to think about how we can mitigate the effects of an attack and what we would do should be caught up in one. The aim of discussing terrorism is not to scare anyone; it’s to raise awareness because as we have seen a lot recently, an act of terror can happen anywhere and at any time.

What is Terrorism?

The word terrorism has been used for centuries. It is believed to date back to 1793 during the Reign of Terror during the French Revolution, although many argue that it was not an act of terrorism towards the state but actually by it. However, the term terrorism has then been used, as has the word terrorist, since. Therefore,  I’m sure we all know what, or at least have an idea of what, terrorism is. There is an official definition of terrorism as defined by the UK Terrorism Act 2000. It is as follows:

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(1) In this Act “terrorism” means the use or threat of action where-

(a) the action falls within subsection (2),

(b) the use or threat is designed to influence the government [or an international governmental organisation] or to intimidate the public or a section of the public, and

(c) the use or threat is made for the purpose of advancing a political, religious[, racial] or ideological cause.

(2) Action falls within this subsection if it-

(a) involves serious violence against a person,

(b) involves serious damage to property,

(c) endangers a person’s life, other than that of the person committing the action,

(d) creates a serious risk to the health or safety of the public or a section of the public, or

(e) is designed seriously to interfere with or seriously to disrupt an electronic system.

(3) The use or threat of action falling within subsection (2) which involves the use of firearms or explosives is terrorism whether or not subsection (1)(b) is satisfied.

The Organisations Who Work To Protect Us

There are a number of organisations in the UK and across the world that work to protect us from terrorists with the main aim being to prevent acts of terror. The Police have a number of departments including Special Branch and the Counter Terrorism Unit, who monitor activity and respond should something happen. The Secret Service, MI5 and MI6 (the Secret Services), particularly have major roles in countering covertly organised threats both to the UK and internationally. We also have a responsibility to protect each other, therefore to report an immediate threat to life or property call 999 or the police anti-terrorist hotline on 0800 789 321. To report a suspected terrorist, terrorist activity or threat to national security then you can call MI5 in confidence on 0800 111 4645 or report it via the MI5 website.

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How To Protect our Home

As a proud homeowner, I do everything in my power to protect it. Most people have buildings insurance which covers the usual things like fire, storm damage, falling trees etc. But did you know you can now take out terrorism insurance? Currently, only blocks of flats can opt for the additional cover and Deacon Insurance offer such policies. Therefore, if you live in a block of flats either as a renter or property owner you may want to check whether or not your management company has invested in the extra level of cover. Having terrorism insurance in place is, at the moment, optional. However as I mentioned before there is an increased risk of an attack happening, so maybe asking the question/suggesting a policy is taken out is worthwhile? Or maybe consider taking out a policy yourself to ensure that at least you are covered? Also, and something that you may never have considered, or not want to have considered, one of your neighbours may actually be a terrorist themselves? A bomb factory being found in blocks of flats is not unheard of.

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How to Protect Ourselves

I urge you to watch the YouTube video, it is something that could save your life. Protecting our property by having the relevant insurance in place is important, however not as important as protecting ourselves. It is important that we have situational awareness and take in what is happening around us. If you are a seasoned traveller, you will do this naturally anyway, I know we do, and by knowing what’s going on close by, it helps us pick up on when something isn’t right. There are a number of things that are suggested when it comes to protecting ourselves including ensuring our mobile phone is fully charged at all times, carrying a doorstop to wedge doors shut, carry a whistle to attract attention etc. Also, even though it has been proved that acts of terror could happen anywhere, there are still some places that are more dangerous to travel to than others. Therefore, check the government website for advice on countries to avoid when travelling before you book your next holiday.

It is important to remember that the likelihood of acts of terror, especially actually being involved in one, is still statistically low, however, the impact would be very high. Therefore, it’s important for us to protect ourselves and our property as best we can and keep talking about how we are doing that. We live in a scary world, of that there is no doubt, but life is for living and I for one will not live in fear.

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