While in the past; trains have been the focus if terrorist attacks, these have been through the use of bombs in the forms of suicide bombers and I.E.Ds set of by timers or remotely detonated, canisters releasing sarin gas or derailment by digging up lines, or altering junction points and have been shot at from long distance.
This latest attack though on the Amsterdam to Paris train follows the pattern of attacks being undertaken in a more shocking and hard hitting way, close up and personal.
I travel weekly on intercity trains and frequently on international trains and I can't remember the last time I actually saw a cop on a train patrolling through the carriages. So here's the thing, if another terrorist attack happens on your train or you or someone else is being attacked by a criminal then you are on your own. There were 550 passengers on the Dutch train and only 4 responded.
Those guys did a fantastic job but would they have been as successful if the terrorist did not have a stoppage on his weapon? They still suffered injuries tackling him and the French President Francios Hollande said "It ultimately depends on the individual responsibility of men and women capable of doing the right thing under the circumstances". That means YOU!
Are you capable?
Could you respond?
While a terrorist attack is at the top end of the threat spectrum, take a look at these UK stats for 2014-2015 regarding attacks on trains:
1,399 sexual attacks
9,149 violent attacks
We've all travelled on trains and there is nothing much to differentiate between them worldwide. If you have to defend yourself it is going to be difficult, you are in effect defending yourself in a confined area, what we call an adverse situation. Lots of seats, narrow central Isle, rocking motion of the train, possible baggage and people blocking the isles etc.
The attack may happen while you are the only one in the carriage making you the first target to be sighted or it may be a packed carriage with passengers having to stand and unless they are like you 'A Warrior' they are either going to freeze or run in panic, so it is going to be difficult to get to the attacker.
Either way in a situation like this when you are confined and there is no where to escape to, you really don't have any other choice other than engaging as fast and as aggressively as possible.
The recent train attack was conducted by a poorly trained terrorist, consider the same attack carried out by 2-3 well trained, motivated terrorist.
There are a number of things to consider the next time you are taking a train journey, here are some of them:
Which carriage should you choose?
Which seat in that carriage should you choose?
What should you do when you first get on board and periodically if on a long journey?
Where is the emergency stop handle?
Where is the hammer to smash windows?
Where is the nearest intercom to speak with the guard?
How do you open the exit doors if the train has stopped?
Where is the guard situated?
Unlike travelling on an aeroplane where safety features are pointed out to you, this; as you will be aware does not happen on trains so you will have to find out the information for yourself.
There is a lot more to consider from the personal security to the combat side of things, your safety and security relies on you being prepared.
Are you prepared?
Have you considered what you would do if your wife and kids were with you?
Have you considered how you might restrain and secure someone if required?
Have you thought about how you may have to treat casualties?
If it is true that the train staff locked themselves into their office during the attack, you may have to take charge of the situation, how would you get others to help, should you get others to help?
A last tip for security professionals who travel. The first chance I get I introduce myself to any guards or flight attendants if I am on a plane. I tell them who I am and give them my business card and tell them that if they have a situation then they can call on my help.
Want to learn more?