A study by the FBI confirmed what many already knew – the United States is experiencing more mass shootings than ever. What was once a rare news report has become commonplace on nightly newscasts.
As Run, Hide, Fight continues to become part of the routine training for many organizations, it is also important to not overlook the other threats that terrorists and others whose aim it is to harm and destroy have utilized or attempted to utilize. Awareness of these potential threats by law enforcement, emergency management, emergency responders, and others involved in the aftermath of a terrorist attack is critical.
One of the more frequent methods recently employed by terrorists and assailants is to use a vehicle to attack a crowd of people. This was the method in Wednesday’s tragedy in London when a man drove his vehicle over pedestrians on Westminster Bridge and then fatally stabbed a police constable before being shot dead by the police. The attack left four people – including the assailant – dead and 40 others injured. In the past year, vehicle attacks in Ohio, France, and Germany have killed and injured dozens of people.
Hazardous materials that are turned into weapons are another real danger. The taking of toxic chemicals or radioactive materials for attacks is a significant threat to the U.S. Chlorine is one example which demonstrates how easily obtainable these hazmat materials are. It is available in vast amounts from rail cars, tanker trucks, ships, and pipelines.
Another method of attack that carries high risks is the use of drones. There have been multiple reports about terrorist groups, like ISIS, having programs which are attempting to develop methods for using drones to deliver chemical weapons or other types of attacks that would result in mass casualties. Experts agree – it is not a matter of if these groups will be able to come up with a system, but when.
Another attack method is cyber-attacks. Terrorists and other individuals can attack an organization’s security system in order to gain access to the facility. Active shooters, terrorist group or individual could literally hold an entire organization hostage using cyber-attacks.