What to do if you’re caught in a terrorist attack abroad and where to hide

The chances of getting caught up in a terror attack while on holiday are extremely low, but it’s important to know your options should you find yourself in the terrifying situation.

With the news that Brits are returning to holiday ‘terror attack’ spots such as Turkey, Egypt and Tunisia, it’s important to remain vigilant even when you are relaxing on a break.

The police advises that in the event of a terror attack, whether abroad or in the UK, you should follow the ‘Run, Hide, Tell’ format.

But where are the safest places to hide?

Travel expert Lloyd Figgins told the Daily Express that he recommends a jewellery store; an unusual location, but it actually makes quite a lot of sense.

He explained: "They are good places to go to. You have to remember that they have CCTV, panic buttons, and shutters. If you were to go into one, they can just press a button and call the police. Tell them there is a terrorist attack out there and they need to get the shutters down."

Lloyd also suggests that places of worship could be a safe place because they are rarely targeted in Western destinations.

Of course, these are just suggestions – and they shouldn’t be your immediate go-to if they’re not easy or safe for you to reach.

The FCO has a dedicated page with advice on what to do if you’re caught in a terrorist attack , including a section specifically aimed for those travelling abroad.

At the heart of the message is that you should Run, Hide, Tell, first launched in December 2015 by the police after the terror attacks in Paris, and was re-issued to the public following the London Borough Market attack.

What to do in a firearm attack abroad

If you hear gunshots, you should immediately look for the safest route where you can run.

Leave your belongings with you, insist others come (but don’t let their indecision slow you down), and search for a safe route.

If you can’t find one, then look for somewhere safe to hide. Consider any escape or exit routes first, and then find somewhere that offers a physical barrier between you and the attacker.

For example, a hotel room or a cupboard where you can lock yourself in, and then barricade yourself in. Make sure to move away from the door, turn your phone to silent and off vibrate, and stay quiet.

If you have managed to run along a safe route, the FCO advises running away as far as you can, and only call the police once you are somewhere safe.

Then explain where you are, where the attack is happening, how many attackers you have seen, and if you can, describe what they look like/the direction they’re moving in.

When the police arrive they will deal with the immediate threat first, but if you are hiding, be prepared that they may be firm as they won’t know whether you are the attacker – do everything they say.

Detective chief superintendent Scott Wilson, National Coordinator for Protect and Prepare, said:

"The chances of being caught up in a terrorist incident are still low, but sadly we have seen atrocities take place in the UK and abroad. So it is important everyone – staff and customers – stays alert and knows what to do if the worst was to happen.

"Understandably people want to go on holiday to relax and enjoy themselves, but we need to remain vigilant at all times.

"We want people to think of this in the same way they do the safety film airlines show before take-off. They don’t expect anything bad to happen but it is a sensible safety precaution to show people what to do.

"A few minutes of your time spent watching the video before you go on holiday could save you and your loved ones. And find out in advance the local emergency number. For EU counties it is 112. Other numbers can be found on the foreign and commonwealth Office website."

You can watch the full video here.

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