Australia’s terrorism alert level has been set at a ‘HIGH’ level for two months now, and recent attacks in Beirut and Paris haven’t done much to lower that estimation. 

The next uncomfortable step for local authorities is to prepare for the worst, and hope for the best. 

The most current guidelines from the Australia-New Zealand Counter-Terrorism Committee for dealing with an ‘active shooter in a mass gathering’ have been released through Victoria Police, and they comprise a list of ‘do’s and don’ts’ that nobody should ever have to read.

Notable differences from other emergency action plans include advice on (sigh) finding cover from a possible shooter – concrete, brickwork or behind a vehicle’s engine block are preferred. The guidelines warn that law enforcement may point their weapons at regular folk in the process of finding an assailant, and there’s also the warning that you shouldn’t congregate in designated evacuation areas once you’re out of immediate danger.

You can find the guidelines below:

Escape
If Under Immediate Gunfire
:

Take cover initially, but try to leave as soon as possible if safe to do so.
Try to first confirm that your escape route is safe.

Leave most of your belongings except for mobile phone behind.

Do not congregate in open areas or wait at evacuation points.

Provide guidance to people that might be unfamiliar with the area.

If Gunfire Is Nearby:

Leave the area immediately and move quickly away from the area the gunfire is coming from, if safe to do so.
In both situations try to maintain cover and concealment (see below):

Cover From Gunfire:

Brickwork or concrete walls.

Vehicles (engine block area).

Large trees and fixed objects.

Earth banks/mounds/hills.

Concealment From View:

Building walls and partitions.

Vehicles.

Fences and other large structures.

Blinds/curtains.

Hide:
If you don’t believe you can safely evacuate then consider hiding.

Avoid congregating in open areas, such as corridors and foyers.

Consider locking/barricading yourself and others in a room or secure area.

Secure your immediate environment and other vulnerable areas.

Move away from the door, remain quiet, and stay there until told otherwise by authorities, or you need to move for safety reasons.

Silence mobile phones and other devices that may identify your presence.

Try to contact police or others to advise of your location/situation.

Choose a location which may enable access to a more secure area.

Act
Constantly:

Re-assess the situation and your options based on the best available information. These situations are very dynamic and often involve a moving threat.

Consider whether a safe escape route might now be possible if the circumstances have changed.

Assess better options for sheltering in place either within your current location or at an alternative location.

Consider (only as a last resort) options for arming yourself with improvised weapons to defend yourself in the event that you are located by the offender.

See/Tell: 
The more information you can pass on to the police or venue management the better, but never risk your own safety or the safety of others to gain it.

If it is safe to do so, think about obtaining the following information:

Exact location of the incident.

Description of the offender and whether moving in any particular direction.

Details of any firearms being used.
Number of people in the area and whether any have been injured.

The motive or intent of the offender (if known or apparent).

Police response:

A priority will be finding the offender, which could mean moving past people who need help.

At first police may not be able to distinguish you from the gunman.

Police officers will be armed and could point guns in your direction.

Avoid quick movements or shouting and keep your hands in view.

They may initially move past you in search of the gunman.

Be aware that police may enter your location at some stage to secure the building and locate people that have hidden from the threat.

Promptly follow any instructions given by emergency responders.


It’s worth mentioning at this point that terrorist attacks remain an extremely rare occurrence, and the people of this fab-o country should never, ever have to alter their livelihoods to cater to a infinitesimally small minority of dickheads. 

Story via Fairfax.
Image: Thomas Lim via Getty/National Security Australia.