Terrorism claims the lives of thousands of innocent people every year. Not only does it disrupt the lives of victims and witnesses, terrorism can also cause huge business disruptions. In 2017, the UK was struck by a number of attacks including the London Bridge incident, in which 8 people were killed.
With terrorism on the rise, businesses need to understand the risks to their company and more importantly their staff. In this blog post, we explore the importance of preparing employees for a terror attack, the best ways to minimise risk and the role technology can play in keeping staff safe.
Is your business prepared for a terror attack?
Terror attacks can occur against any target and in any environment. Over the past decade, the global terrorism death toll has risen from 7,827 deaths in 2010 to 44,490 deaths in 2014. Though the terror attack threat level has fallen from severe to substantial, an attack could still happen at any time. Recently the nature of terrorism has shifted with more attacks being carried out individually in busy streets or establishments during working hours. With this in mind, businesses need to consider how best to protect their employees in the event of an attack.
Preparing for a terror attack may sound like tempting fate, but in practice, being prepared can help to reduce the number of fatalities.
Having measures in place to ensure the safety of employees, is not only good practice but can also ensure businesses are meeting their duty of care. But what can businesses do to help prepare their staff for a large scale incident?
How to prepare your business for a terror attack
There are many useful steps companies can take to prepare their employees and help keep them safe.
Informing employees of any published government advice is a useful way of ensuring that they are better equipped to keep themselves safe during a terrorist attack. Advice varies from country to country but mainly focuses on the best ways to avoid confrontation. In the UK, the government has resources such as a flyer and a film that can easily be distributed to employees via email. The general advice is to ‘run, hide, tell’, which means get as far away as possible from the attack and if you are unable to run, find a safe place to hide. Once safe, tell a police officer any information you have about the incident.
Provide counter-terrorism training
Counter-terrorism is an effective strategy that incorporates the practices of military, law enforcement and government tactics to combat or prevent terrorism. The main aim of counter-terrorism strategies is to reduce the impact of a terrorist attack and give individuals the knowledge they need to handle sensitive incidents.
There are different types of training programs that can equip your employees with the best response tactics for an emergency. The best way to identify how at risk your staff may be is to conduct a full risk assessment. This covers 4 main points:
- Identify the hazard by carrying out a workplace risk assessment
- Determine how employees might be at risk
- Evaluate the risks
- Record and review hazards at least annually, or earlier if something changes
Depending on the risks you have identified, you may decide on general emergency response training or a specific anti-terrorism training program.
In the UK, the Government has developed the ACT (Action Counters Terrorism) Awareness program to protect buildings, business areas and their surrounding neighbourhoods from the threat of terrorism. Over 5000 companies have signed up since its launch in 2017. The program can be taken online and takes under an hour to complete.
Some of the modules covered in the ACT Awareness training include;
- Identifying Security Vulnerabilities
- How to Identify and Respond to Suspicious Behaviour
- What to do in the event of a Bomb Threat
Implement a response plan
To prepare your employees for a large scale incident such as a terrorist attack, you should incorporate a disaster management plan into your existing health and safety policy. A clear and easy-to-understand disaster management policy, distributed as part of your employee handbook, will help employees understand their roles during an emergency.
Locating and communicating with employees can be one of the greatest challenges organisations face in the event of a disaster. If you employ a large workforce, that operate remotely or over several sites, traditional methods of manually calling each staff member to check-in can be time-consuming. Fortunately, a number of solutions have been developed to assist with this issue.
The role of technology in keeping staff safe
IncidentEye’s disaster response technology is a great way to enhance your staff’s safety during a terror incident. Comprised of an app and online hub, IncidentEye helps organisations to rapidly locate and protect employees during a crisis, such as a terror attack. Managers can set a geo zone around an affected area to immediately identify who is in the vicinity of an incident and prompt employees to specify whether they are safe or in danger. Communications can then be sent to employees depending on their location or safety status, advising them on what to do or updating them on the situation.
To summarize, preparing your staff for a terrorist attack is a crucial part of keeping them safe. By following the advice given by the government conducting necessary risk assessments and creating a comprehensive emergency plan, your organization will be able to deal with any incidents in the safest way possible.
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