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How to Handle a Lone Wolf Attack

Five helpful tips to follow

In partnership with Protaris, below are five things you should do if you find yourself in a lone wolf attack.

Take preliminary actions:

Before an attack occurs, try and have a mental response plan in place ahead of time. Consider the following for your home, workplace and while in public: do you know where the exits lead? (Particularly in hotels and cafés) Are there any obstructions that may hinder an evacuation? Are there alternative exits available? Are windows accessible? Are windows at a safe height to escape from? Do you have a mental plan to evacuate quickly in an event?

Trust your instinct, intuition, sixth sense (or whatever you want to call it):

As human beings, our inherent instinct has kept us alive as a species for thousands of years. Use your fear and control your actions: If somebody tells you to leave, do not take anything just leave. If you hear gunfire, screams or shouts or see an attacker, you must react. People react differently in critical situations, they often hit a state of denial or disbelief. You may have heard of people literally freezing in serious situations. This is known as ‘status shock’; people often just freeze in fear. Do not second guess your instinct. React on your intuition.

Don’t panic:

Taking deep breaths and exhaling out often clarifies your thought process whereas panicking will limit your response and chances of survival. Deep breathing will oxygenate your brain and give clarity of thought in highly stressful situations. Try circular breathing: breathe, in hold your breath for approximately four seconds, breathe and repeat up to five times.

Create distance between yourself and the attacker:

Most people can put 25 metres between them and an attacker in a few seconds. It becomes increasingly difficult to hit a target at distance, so put as much distance between you and the attacker as possible when making an escape. Note: If you wear high heeled shoes, consider carrying flat shoes to change into when travelling to and from work. Do not try to run in high heeled shoes, take them off and run. If the attacker is shooting, it is easier to shoot at a target that is running in a straight line. Run at angles and zig zags to make it difficult for the shooter to acquire you as a target.

Conceal and cover:

There are differences between the two that should be considered:

  • Concealment examples: ​prevents the attacker from seeing you, but does not offer any protection from gunfire and explosions hollow walls (dry walling, partitioned walls), doors, desk, empty boxes, blinded, tinted or curtained windows, bushes and shrubs.
  • Cover also prevents the attacker from seeing you with the added benefit that it also provides a shield against gunfire and explosion. You can check structural integrity of buildings such as your work environment, hotels, cafes etc. for potential cover by simply tapping on walls and supporting structures. If it sounds solid, it will likely offer some form of ballistic protection in the event of an attack. Cover examples: concrete or brick walls, structural columns, trees (with substantial trunks), cars (behind the engine block), heavy filing cabinets, heavy book cases that are full will work as good cover.​

If you cannot escape, hide. You may not be able to escape or evacuate and may have to hide as an alternative. If the incident is happening in a place you are familiar with such as a work location, you will know the best places to hide as this should be part of your planning. These hiding or safe locations will offer both concealment and cover from attack.

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