What do you do if you hear gunshots?

Watch the movie.

The British National Counter Terrorism Security Office released a short video called ‘Stay Safe: Firearms and Weapons Attack,’ which ‘sets out the key options for keeping safe should the worst happen.’

Security agencies all over the world are on high alert, but according to Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley, the National Counter Terrorism Policing Lead: ‘The threat level is currently set at the level Severe, that means an attack is highly likely. Everyone is aware of the terrorist challenges across the world, and there’ve been some awful attacks and it’s our view that this advice should be rolled out to the public so in the tragic event that anyone gets caught up in a marauding weapons or firearms attack, they’re better informed and better advised to protect themselves.’

The straightforward piece, ‘widely used across industry as part of police-led counter terrorism security advice sessions for their own staff,’ is split into 3 steps: RUN if you can, HIDE if you can’t and once safe TELL the authorities what’s happening in as much detail as possible.


  • If there is a safe route, run
  • Insist others go with you
  • Don’t let them slow you down
  • Leave your belongings behind

By having a plan in place, the film hopes that people will be more aware of their surroundings and have a clearer head if an attack happens. The Security Office doesn’t intend to scare people, and compares its advice to preparing for another rare but life-threatening event: a fire drill.


  • If you can’t run, hide
  • Find cover from gunfire
  • Lock the door and barricade yourself in
  • Move away from the door
  • Be very quiet, silence your phone.

Taken from case studies and real testimonies of attack survivors, the advice works. But if there’s no possibility to run or hide, the film doesn’t pull any punches. Commissioner Rowley: ‘If someone is in immediate danger and their life is being threatened we would never criticise their actions if instinct takes over and they feel the need to fight back.’


  • Dial 999 only when you are safe
  • Give your location
  • Give the direction the attacker is moving in
  • Provide as much information as you can
  • Can you safely stop others from entering the area?

The Security Council’s advice works in almost any indoor situation. So, before you go on a 12-hour flight, or hit the mall for a marathon all-day shopping spree, spend 5 minutes on this movie.


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