QS Community Board

Security & Preparedness November 27, 2018

Make a Plan: How to Stay Safe During a Vehicle-Ramming Attack

Maggie K., Senior Editor

We live in a scary time – Americans are well aware that the threat of terrorism looms behind any corner. From shootings and bombings to vehicle-ramming attacks, domestic and international terrorists use a variety of horrific methods to perpetrate violence against others in the name of their cause.

In 2017, there were 8,584 terrorist attacks around the world, claiming more than 18,700 lives and causing more than 19,400 injuries.

As terrorist attacks often take place without any warning, encourage your citizens to always remain vigilant and take appropriate, proactive steps to stay aware and be safe when out in public spaces.

Terrorism and the Vehicle-Ramming Attack

Terrorists often use threats to create fear among the public, to try to convince citizens that their government is powerless in preventing terrorism and to get immediate publicity for their causes.

In 2016, there were a recorded 61 terrorism-related incidents in the U.S. that resulted in 68 deaths.

In recent years, there has been a prevalence of terrorists using vehicles as weapons in vehicle-ramming attacks. Perpetrators deliberately ram their motor vehicles into buildings or crowds of people, causing many casualties. It is a popular method of attack because it requires little skill by the attacker and is difficult to prevent.

Plan Ahead

We don’t do our best thinking during moments of terror, so planning ahead of time can make a big difference during an emergency situation. Before attending large public gatherings where a vehicle-ramming attack (or other terrorist event) may occur:

  • Review event maps or routes ahead of time and identify possible escape routes.
  • Identify and avoid zones that would restrict quick movement out of the area.
  • Take only what you need so that you have less to carry if you must move quickly through a crowd.
  • Discuss your plan with those accompanying you and arrange how you will communicate and reunite if you are separated.

During a Vehicle-Ramming Attack

While it’s difficult to predict when a vehicle-ramming attack will happen, the following are some things you can do in case of an incident:

  • Run to the nearest safe area while moving away from the source of hazard.
  • If you fall, curl into a protected position and try to get up as soon as possible to avoid being trampled.
  • If a quick escape isn’t possible, seek cover behind any available objects that eliminate direct line of sight from the hazard.
  • Call 911 as soon as you can and remain alert for secondary attacks.
  • When help arrives, follow instructions given by law enforcement and first responders.

Remember: If You See Something, Say Something®!

The best way to prevent a possible vehicle-ramming attack plot is to report any suspicious activity you might see, such as:

  • The theft of large or heavy-duty vehicles.
  • Someone loitering, parking or standing in the same area over multiple days.
  • The use of binoculars, cameras and recording devices in a public area.

To report suspicious activity, contact your local law enforcement. Describe specifically what you observed, including:

  • Who or what you saw;
  • When you saw it;
  • Where it occurred; and
  • Why it's suspicious.

If there is an emergency, call 911.

For more information on our Security and Preparedness products, browse the QuickSeries® library of guides, including Active Shooter Response.

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