Pre­par­ing for a ter­ror at­tack

New train­ing course aims to equip peo­ple with the skills to save lives

Harefield Gazette - - NEWS - By Robert Cum­ber robert.cum­ber@trin­i­tymir­ror.com

HOW would you re­act if you were caught in a deadly ter­ror­ist at­tack?

It’s a ques­tion we’ve prob­a­bly all asked our­selves when watch­ing dis­tress­ing footage of an­other mas­sacre or bomb­ing flash up on our TV screens.

Now you can pre­pare for such an even­tu­al­ity dur­ing a new course launched by a med­i­cal train­ing firm in west Lon­don. Code Blue Ed­u­ca­tion (CBE), based in Brent­ford, claims the one-day work­shop is the first of its kind in the UK and – with Bri­tain’s ter­ror threat level set at “se­vere” by MI5 – is much-needed.

Par­tic­i­pants will learn skills like first aid, how to hide from at­tack­ers when nec­es­sary and how to ef­fi­ciently in­for­ma­tion to emer­gency ser­vices.

The train­ing is aimed at staff within or­gan­i­sa­tions where large num­bers of peo­ple typ­i­cally gather, mak­ing them a pos­si­ble tar­get for ter­ror­ists, like ho­tels, schools and col­leges or shop­ping re­lay the cen­tres.

They will learn the the­ory be­fore be­ing put to the test in role play sce­nar­ios sim­u­lat­ing in­ci­dents like mass shootings and sui­cide bomb­ings.

CBE di­rec­tor Chantelle New­man says the knowl­edge gained could equip par­tic­i­pants with the skills needed to save some­one’s life, for ex­am­ple by ap­ply­ing a tourni­quet to stem heavy bleed­ing be­fore paramedics can reach the wounded.

While she ac­cepts that no amount of train­ing can ever truly pre­pare you for the shock of be­ing plunged into a killing zone, she says know­ing the plan can help quell the in­evitable panic.

“With ter­ror­ist at­tacks hap­pen­ing now at any place peo­ple gather, it’s im­por­tant key mem­bers of staff are as pre­pared as pos­si­ble,” she said.

“We will teach them how to help one an­other and mem­bers of the pub­lic, and how to get them­selves and others away from dan­ger as quickly as pos­si­ble.

“They will learn med­i­cal tech­niques which could save peo­ple’s lives, such as how to use tourni­quets and pres­sure ban­dages. Noth­ing can pre­pare you fully for a ter­ror­ist at­tack, but it’s im­por­tant to have a clear idea of what you need to do and how to do it should the worst hap­pen.”

As an ex­am­ple, she cites the shootings on the beach in Tu­nisia, where 38 peo­ple were gunned down in 2015.

She says ho­tel staff were run­ning around shout­ing “what should I do?” as the wounded lay dy­ing on the sand.

Had they re­ceived train­ing and been given an ac­tion plan, she sug­gests, they may have been bet­ter pre­pared to re­spond to such a tragedy.

Ms New­man speaks from ex­pe­ri­ence, hav­ing tended to vic­tims of nu­mer­ous at­tacks in her role as a para­medic part­ner in South Africa while vi­o­lence flared around the end of apartheid.

She re­counted one par­tic­u­larly har­row­ing day when she was called to a mas­sacre at King Wil­liam’s Town Golf Club, where gun­men shot dead four peo­ple dur­ing a wine tast­ing event.

She was treat­ing a pa­tient with shrap­nel wounds when one of the at­tack­ers threw a hand grenade at gas cylin­ders yards from where she was crouched.

Ms New­man de­vised the course in con­junc­tion with Dr Richard Cullen, a for­mer Met Po­lice com­man­der who led the re­sponse to the IRA mor­tar at­tack on Heathrow Air­port; and Adrian Heili, a Lon­don 7/7 bomb­ings sur­vivor who pro­vided life-sav­ing treat­ment to vic­tims at Edg­ware Tube sta­tion.

She said it was cre­ated fol­low­ing ad­vice from Home­land Se­cu­rity in the US, and with sup­port from the Met’s Counter Ter­ror­ism Unit and other se­cu­rity ex­perts in the UK.

In the US, she says, med­i­cal staff are now pre­pared to at­tend what is known as the “warm zone” at ter­ror­ist at­tacks, where the dan­ger is not as se­vere as in the “hot zone” but still rep­re­sents a risk to their safety. This change was in­tro­duced fol­low­ing the mas­sacre at

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