Staying safe with children
The attacks on Paris have shocked everyone. Not only is it close to home, but it’s also the kind of random attack that strikes fear into your heart and has you looking over your shoulder at every turn. Following some simple safety precautions can help you avoid trouble and speed up getting help in an emergency.
- Teach children as soon as they can speak their name, their age and what town they come from. Older children should be encouraged to memorise their address and a contact number. Tell them to look for people in uniform or other people with children.
- Play sleeping lions. If you can stay still and quiet your chances of surviving are much improved. Games like sleeping lions can help practice this in a non-threatening situation, especially if you make it harder by trying to catch them out.
- Display your emergency contact information on the locked screen of your phone – this means you can be identified even if badly hurt or unconscious.
- Know the 7 signs of terrorism – surveillance (people watching, filming or taking photographs of unusual places or high risk targets), elicitation (people asking questions about security, police presence or military activity), tests of security (people attempting to break in or circumvent security measures), acquiring supplies (buying materials that could be used to make bombs, military gear or protective clothing in large quantities), suspicious persons out of place, trial runs (rehearsing a terrorist attack with co-ordinated movements or attempting to place dummy bombs by leaving a suitcase or bag behind), deploying assets (the final stage before a terrorist attack happens where the terrorists move themselves and their equipment from safe houses or storage into position).
- Label children with their first name and your contact telephone number. You can write on their hand in biro and seal it with liquid bandage such as Elastoplast, TCP or Boots own brand spray plasters.
- Ensure that you can dial 999 from your mobile when it is locked.
- Check the news before leaving, and be sensible if you see there is police activity in any area while out and about.
- Stay alert. If you see anything suspicious in your street or local area, or when out, contact the police. It may be the missing piece of a puzzle.
- Scout out the emergency exits when you enter a building and as you move around. Always have an escape plan in your mind.
- Take care of your personal belongings. False alerts waste valuable police time, and you wouldn’t want your handbag blown up.
If the worst happens:
- Run if you can – try to stay low and force yourself to move fast rather than freeze up with fear.
- If you’re trapped, seek shelter but don’t back yourself into a corner. Abandon any bags or buggies that might slow you down and get behind something or down low.
- Have strategies in mind to keep children calm and quiet such as whispering familiar nursery rhymes or even giving them a sweet.
- Alert the authorities only if you have escaped – if you’re in a public place other people will have managed to get away. If you’re trapped your priority is hiding and staying quiet.
- If you’re in a different room try to barricade the door. Lie facedown on the floor (this protects your vital organs) and cover your head with your hands.
- When exiting the building stay calm and keep your hands visible. Get a safe distance away before trying to contact your loved ones to tell them you’re safe.