Terrorist attacks and mass shootings, as well as other forms of extreme violence that have plagued some countries, show the need for preventive information on what we can do ourselves to reduce the chances of falling victim to such crimes in such a situation.

picture of broken glassSuch acts can occur anywhere and anytime, for example in shopping, sports or cultural centers, schools and other social venues such as nightclubs, concert venues, cinemas, restaurants, etc. Every such event and the resulting circumstances require quick, right decisions and immediate action to increase our chances of survival. We advise on how to act if you find yourself in such dangerous circumstances at home or abroad.

Preventive behavior upon arrival in a public place

  • Familiarise yourself with the place (parking and surroundings) upon arrival.
  • Upon entering the facility, look for exits (including emergency) and evacuation routes.
  • Check where the toilets, restaurants, staircases or escalators in the building, elevators (including freight), windows, passages between rooms, administrative offices, etc. are located.
  • Check that the facility has a security service.
  • Plan.

Be aware of the danger, but stay calm and collected

  • When visiting an event or place, be alert for suspicious people or circumstances.
  • If you see anything unusual, a person or several persons behaving abnormally (e. g. carrying or leaving objects out of place, etc. ), please inform the security staff or employees and immediately call the police on 113 or the 112 Call Centre and provide as much information as possible.
  • Tell others who are with you (e. g. a friend, a relative, etc. ) about what you have noticed and your concerns.
  • If your mobile phone has a camera, turn it on and let it work after calling the "emergency" numbers.

In the event of an attack or shooting, flee to safety immediately

  • If possible, leave the area as quickly as possible and retreat to safety.
  • Use available exits and escape routes, and use all forms of cover during escape (e. g. concrete walls and pillars, iron doors, curtains, shrubs, etc.).
  • Avoid open spaces and look for objects you can hide behind.
  • Encourage or help others to escape (especially children, the elderly, the disabled, pregnant women ...).
  • Leave your personal belongings behind and save yourself.
  • In the safe area, re-acquaint yourself with the place and its surroundings (eg exits, etc.).
  • Prevent others from accessing the event area.
  • Observe suspicious people in your vicinity.


  • If you cannot leave the place safely, hide in a safe place immediately.
  • If possible, lock the door or barricade yourself inside the hideout with solid furniture or other items.
  • Turn off all lights and electronic devices (TV, radio, computer, etc. ).
  • On your mobile phone, mute the sound and turn off the vibration.
  • Try to remain calm and have a calming influence on others (calm their crying and shouting, it may attract the attention of the attackers).
  • Check all possible additional exits, windows, emergency routes, vents.
  • If your hiding place is safe, stay until the police enable you a safe way out.

If circumstances indicate that you cannot escape or hide, fight back

  • In the extreme case, it really is a last resort, so trust your feelings and be determined, your life depends on it.
  • Think positively about surviving.
  • Look for objects in the room that could be used as weapons (ashtrays, paperweights, letter openers, scissors, fire extinguishers, etc. ) to protect yourself.
  • Hit the attacker by damaging his vital points (eyes, nose, neck, head, genitals).
  • If you can, attack first, distract and surprise him.
  • Be aggressive, shout and throw objects at him.
  • Work with others to help you in a joint attack on the perpetrator(s) until security personnel respond.

UNESCO Terrorism And The Media - handbook cover pictureThe first police officers on the scene will first disable the perpetrator. As their information is incomplete (number of attackers, weapons, etc. ), avoid making quick gestures, shouting and moving towards the officers, drop your objects, raise your hands, remain calm and follow their instructions.

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