Staying safe from terrorism

Whilst MTA attacks are rare, in the event of such an attack, it helps to be prepared. Should such an attack occur, remember the words: Run. Hide. Tell.


  • Escape if you can
  • Consider the safest options
  • Is there a safe route? Run, if not Hide
  • Can you get there without exposing yourself to greater danger?
  • Insist others leave with you, but don’t let their indecision slow you down.
  • Leave belongings behind.
  • Do not attempt to film the incident. Run.


  • If you cannot Run, Hide
  • Find cover from gunfire
  • If you can see the attacker, they may be able to see you. Cover from view does not mean you are safe. Bullets go through glass, brick, wood and metal. You must still hide, even If you are behind a locked door.
  • Find cover from gunfire e.g. substantial brickwork/heavy reinforced walls
  • Be aware of your exits
  • Try not to get trapped
  • Be quiet, silence your phone and turn off vibrate
  • Lock/barricade yourself in
  • Move away from the door


Call 999 – What do the police need to know? If you cannot speak or make a noise, listen to the instructions given to you by the call taker:

  • Nature of the Incident - What is happening?
  • Location - where is the incident taking place? Give an address or general location
  • Suspects – Where are the suspects?
  • Direction – Where did you last see the suspects?
  • Descriptions – Describe the attacker, numbers, features, clothing, weapons etc.
  • Further information – Casualties, type of injury, building information, entrances, exits, hostages etc.
  • Stop other people entering the building if it is safe to do so

The four minute film Stay Safe: Firearms and Weapons Attack sets out three key steps for keeping safe. The film is accompanied by an online information leaflet.

The film and leaflet advise that if you are caught up in an incident to 'run, hide and tell' - guidance which can be applied to many places and situations.

Run. Hide. Tell.

Stay Safe: Firearms and Weapons Attack Film Transcript

Thankfully, firearms and weapons attacks in the UK are very rare, but tragic events from around the world remind us of the need to always be prepared.

This film gives advice about what to do in the unlikely event of a firearms attack, either in your workplace or elsewhere. You should see this as an opportunity to plan how you would respond to such a threat and stay safe.

Mark Rowley: “Stay Safe is a film that’s based on proven advice and it has already been seen by over 100,000 people across the country in training and briefing sessions with the private sector.

“The threat level is currently set at level ‘severe’, that means an attack is highly likely, indeed it has been at that level for over a year and for that reason we have doubled our efforts by, for example, making an arrest a day.

“Everyone is aware of the terrorist challenges across the world and there have been some awful attacks. It is our view that this advice should be rolled out to the public so that in the tragic event that anyone gets caught up in a marauding firearms or weapons attack, they are better informed now, better advised on how to protect themselves. It can never cater for every possible eventuality and if someone acts on instinct and perhaps decides to fight because they have no choice, then of course we’d never criticise them for that”.

If you hear gunshots, the best option is to evacuate but only do so if it won't put you in greater danger.

First, consider your route.

Act quickly and quietly, leaving your belongings behind.

Insist others come with you, but don’t let their indecision slow you down.

Once you’ve identified a safe route, run.

Consider your route as you leave:

  • Will it place you in the line of fire?
  • Is it safer to wait for the attacker to move away before you continue?
  • If you can’t move to safety, hide.

When finding a hiding place, consider your exits and escape routes. Avoid dead ends and bottlenecks.

  • Try to find places with reinforced walls
  • Try to lock yourself in a room and move away from the door.
  • Be as quiet as possible.
  • Switch your mobile phone to silent, and switch off vibrate.
  • Don't shout for help or do anything that will give away your hiding place.

The best hiding place with protection from gunfire, will have a substantial physical barrier between you and the attacker.

  • If you’re able to evacuate, get as far away from the danger area as possible.
  • Try to stop others from entering, but only if this won’t put you in danger

Call the police.

Dial 999 and tell them clearly, the location of you and the attackers, descriptions of the attackers, their clothing and weapons, information about casualties and building access.

Include anything else you think is important.

When the police arrive, they will be armed.


  • They may be dressed differently, depending on their function.
  • Their first task will be to deal with the immediate threat to prevent further casualties.
  • This may take a long time.
  • The police may be unable to distinguish you from the attacker.
  • They may treat you firmly.
  • Do everything they tell you to do.
  • Don’t make any sudden movements or gestures that may be perceived as a threat.
  • Stay calm, don’t shout or wave.
  • Keep your hands visible at all times so they can see you are unarmed.
  • The armed police may ask for details about the building, the attackers, hostages, and casualties.

Only once it is safe to do so will you be evacuated to safety.

Firearms and weapons attacks are very rare; having a plan will help you stay safe and could save your life.

Find out more about staying safe from terrorism.