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Last Updated: Thursday, 23 September, 2004, 17:22 GMT 18:22 UK
Why will some survive ahead of others?
Do you think you could take care of yourself in a terror attack? Could you advise others on the right procedure?

Woman in a decontamination shower unit in a scene from the drama Dirty War
Enforcing decontamination would be a tough job for emergency services

Dr Sally Leivesley, of Newrisk Limited, a former scientific advisor on UK emergency contingency planning outlines the kind of questions we should be asking ourselves.

Some adults and children are good at surviving because they are very quick to understand what is happening.

Generally however, survival is helped if people have had some past experience, have seen the weapons or activities of terrorists in incidents or films, have done some make-believe play, or have actually practiced survival methods.

Some quick questions to gauge your ability to survive are:

  • Are you generally careful about your personal safety?

  • What would you do if there was a large fire in your home?

  • Would you help others to escape in an incredibly dangerous situation?

  • Have you had any past experience in getting out of hazardous situations?

  • Have you recently practiced or thought of a plan that would enable you to take shelter quickly, or how to get out of an area very quickly if there is a terrorist threat?

  • If you have any difficulty in moving around due to ill health, frailty or any other challenges to mobility, have you thought about how to take shelter where you are or how to get someone close by to help you move out of an area?

  • If English is your second language have you been able to get a translation into your own language of any information on what to do at home or in the workplace, or has someone explained important information to you in a way you can understand?

    These questions have not been tested in public questionnaires but are based on general information on survival experiences that have been written or described from many different natural, terrorist and wartime incidents. The questions are designed to help people think about surviving a terrorist attack.

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