Terrorist attacks in the UK are rare, however this does not mean that we can ignore the risk. There were a number of terrorist attacks in mainland Europe over recent years. There have also been very recent attacks in Northern Ireland, suspected to be the work of the New IRA. Learn about prepping for terrorist attacks and keeping yourself and your family safe in this article.
The UK government maintains a terrorism threat level, which indicates the likelihood of a terrorist attack in the UK. Currently the UK national terrorist attack threat level is SUBSTANTIAL, which means that the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre (JTAC) considers a terrorist attack to be likely. The Northern Ireland threat level from a Northern Ireland related terrorist attack is SEVERE, meaning that the JTAC consider an attack to be very likely.
Are Terrorist Attacks Likely To Happen In The UK?
There have been a number of terrorist attacks in the UK over recent years. A stabbing attack with multiple fatalities happened in a park in Reading in June 2020, another stabbing attack in Streatham in February 2020. During 2019 there were also stabbing attacks at London Bridge and in a Manchester shopping centre. In 2018 a terrorist drove a car into pedestrians before crashing into security barriers outside parliament. There were several major terrorist attacks during 2017, including an explosive device on a tube train in London, a van driven into pedestrians at Finsbury Park in London, another van driven into pedestrians followed by several stabbings on London Bridge, the Manchester Arena bombing which killed 22 people, and a car driven into pedestrians followed by a stabbing in Westminster.
There were several terrorist attacks in Europe in 2020, including a shooting in Vienna in which 4 people died, a knife attack in Nice in which 3 people died, and the murder of a teacher in Paris. The UK government raised the terrorism threat level to severe following the Vienna shooting. A terrorism threat level of severe means that the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre (JTAC) considered an attack in the UK to be highly likely. It was lowered to substantial in February 2021 due to a reduction in the momentum of terrorist attacks in Europe. This means that the JTAC consider that an attack is still likely, but not as highly likely as previously.
Prepping for terrorist attacks is important because although they are rare, terrorist attacks are a genuine threat.
What Are The Consequences Of Terrorist Attacks?
Direct consequences of terrorist attacks might seem obvious however there are also many indirect consequences.
For people directly involved in a violent terrorist attack, the most obvious direct consequence is the risk of death or serious injury. There is also a risk of damage to property, for example terrorist attacks involving bombing may destroy homes or businesses.
Indirect consequences of terrorist attacks can be very wide ranging and affect large numbers of the population. Indirect consequences of a terrorist attack could include:
- Restrictions on travel (e.g. attack on transport network)
- Grid down (e.g. attack on power station or infrastructure)
- Financial (e.g. stock market freeze, bank closures)
- Fuel shortages (e.g. attack on fuel supply chain infrastructure)
- Job loss (e.g. attack destroys business)
Prepping For Terrorist Attacks
Prepping for terrorist attacks can seem difficult as terrorist attacks are unpredictable and chaotic events. There are, however, many ways that prepping for terrorist attacks can keep you and your family safe. The steps that you can take to prep for a terrorist attack are:
- Have an emergency plan that covers a variety of scenarios and ensure all the family is aware of it
- Arrange meeting places in case you and your family are separated. This is important to consider if you are in a location not already covered by your family emergency plan.
- Understand responsibilities of each family member, in particular if you have children or dependent relatives that will need assistance.
- Always have an Every Day Carry (EDC) bag or kit with you
- EDC should include the most important items that will be vital to have to hand in any situation. A first aid kit is a very useful item to have with you at all times.
- Keep up to date with events around the world that may affect the risk of a terrorist attack in the UK
- Stay aware of the UK terror threat level.
- Remain vigilant to activity of people around you.
- If you consider people to be behaving suspiciously, trust your instincts, get away from the area and contact the police.
- Be prepared to shelter at home for a period of time if a terrorist attack has wide ranging effects such as shutting down the travel network.
What To Do During A Terrorist Attack
If you find yourself in the middle of a terrorist attack, the main priority is keeping yourself safe. If you can, get away from the area as quickly as possible. Find a safe place to hide, and contact the police so that security services to ensure that security services are alerted.
Stick to your emergency plan as much as possible. Planning before an event happens gives you a way to deal with the event in a relatively controlled way. You will know what your responsibilities are, where your family is, and where any supplies you need are.