Preparing Your Family for a Terrorist Attack

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Watching the news last month I found myself crying again! Over the awful terrifying horror of yet another terrorist attack.

Last June, packed for our holidays which were only 3 days away I saw the horrific news breaking of Tunisia's Terror Attack, 38 people we're shot on the beach and in a hotel. This was not the first attack in the popular tourist destination but sadly it brought an end to Tunisia's tourist trade. UK holiday company's immediately repatriated all holiday makers and cancelled all future trips for the 2015 season. They have since cancelled all flights until the end of the 2016 summer season.

That is when the fear started, we have 3 young children! How do you protect them through the chaos and the carnage, they don't run fast, they are kids they scare easily. How the hell would we have survived. While we watched the news of Tunisia on the TV I remember very clearly, saying to my husband 'we can't go, even if they are still letting people fly we can not go! How would we have gotten the children somewhere safe, how would you get 3 children aged 6 and under off a beach under fire? Its not possible!' My panic was at its worst. We had to tell our children that we couldn't go and give them a brief but honest ( we try not to tell them fibs) reason why not.

This year we had to talk to them about terrorism when my eldest girl was worried that her wee pal had been in Paris when simultaneous co-ordinated terror attacks killed 130 people and left hundreds wounded. She was scared that her pal had only gone to see the Disney people but something awful could have happened to her. I hate that I have to talk to my 7 year old about why someone would want to kill people!

And so the worry gets stronger, the world is an awful scary dangerous place and I don't want my baby's in danger. But you try not to think too much about the fear , or honestly I may never leave the house!

Then last month in Brussels, a country I love and have travelled to numerous times, a country with a special place in my heart because my Great Nana loved it too, more than 30 people were killed by multiple attacks at the airport and on the Metro. I've been to Brussels airport and I'll tell you security has always been tight. I'm always searched (yes I'm the one who always sets off the buzzer!) So for this to happen is shocking and the images of pushchairs standing amid the wreckage have had me in pieces.

I know I worry more than most and if I'm honest I could let fear take hold of me just leaving the house because there really is danger everywhere if you let your mind wander. But my husband and I decided that given our upcoming travel plans, one of which is spending months in India, that we needed to talk to the kids about public emergencies, what to do if there is a fire or (we didn't give them these examples) an explosion or gunfire.

When I was chatting on Facebook to a friend about Brussels and I mentioned it sickens me that my husband and I had planned a chat about this with the kids, her pal from Paris said she had similar conversations with her child following the attacks in her country and that a video had been shown in schools over there, it turns out our government has made one also with the key points for a weapons attack being Run Hide Tell ....

The husband and I talked together about being aware of our surroundings, knowing where the exits are and the importance of knowing what is normal for where you are, without being paranoid, are there unattended parcels or bags, are people blocking the exits are the exits clear and available are cars parked where they shouldn't be?

For the kids we explained that in public spaces and when we are away from home we need them to be listening and staying nearby, if there is a commotion with loud noises and screaming they are to

  • Hold on to one of us (we in turn will shout to each other ensure the we both know that all children are accounted for)
  • That they are to do what we say with no questions if we tell them we are in emergency evacuation, and (and this is the bit that tears me up)
  • If Mammy and Daddy can not move to help them they must try to stick together and go immediately to the safety of a uniform.
Don't get me wrong the idea of my kids fending for themselves makes me sick and I know they could get confused and awful things could happen but we needed some kind of plan in place so they and we know that we have to try to stick together and get out.

I will end by saying that as fearful as I am about the very real risk or terrorism we must have trust that security will get tighter and tighter and that we can not live in fear we can not stop our lives because of terror, because in all honesty these times are terrifying and there are families torn apart because of these attacks but we must be cautious, we must be united and we must not let terror win. We have recently returned from a trip abroad and I was more nervous and wary than normal but I'm pleased I didn't let the fear win.

This post was published originally in March 2016 on Karens Blog, Monkeyfeet , for her latest posts pop over to Facebook