1. Organisational risk and MTA event planning

Firearms and weapons attacks are rare in the UK. Where we have seen these attacks internationally, we know they are generally fast-moving, violent incidents, where attackers aim to kill or injure as many people as possible. It is therefore advised that organisations are aware of the risks and have a plan for immediate action should an attack occur. This will help save lives and facilitate the police response.

When talking about MTA, consideration should be given to the following:

  • has the organisation assessed the risk? If it considers the risk to be significant, is there a plan?

  • does the plan consider what to do in the event of either an internal or an external threat?

  • for each scenario, does the plan specify how it will be enacted during an incident? Every second counts and has the potential to save lives. Know which roles are responsible for completing which actions and practice them. Empower and equip those with security responsibilities to make decisions and take immediate action

  • co-ordinate plans with neighbours: think about collective response and whether the actions of one business will compromise that of another. Think about helping one another, by notifying, in quick time, that an attack is underway. Speed is of the essence

  • what are the organisational options? These will be varied depending on local circumstances and threat scenarios, but may include: 

    • monitoring the attack and communicating information about it to assist escape and response 

    • evacuation 

    • invacuation or lockdown

    • public warnings and announcements

  • does the plan include training staff on your organisation’s procedures to an attack? Security officers should receive sufficient training and should practice carrying these out. All staff should have a basic awareness of what to do

Further advice on planning for, and dealing with an MTA can be found in our pages on Marauding Terrorist Attacks.



While MTA attacks are rare, if an attack occurs, it helps to be prepared. Remember the words: RUN HIDE TELL




  • escape if you can

  • consider the safest options

  • is there a safe route? RUN, if not HIDE

  • can you get there without exposing yourself to greater danger?

  • insist others leave with you, but don’t let their indecision slow you down

  • leave belongings behind

  • do not attempt to film the incident. RUN




If you cannot RUN, HIDE:

  • find cover from gunfire

  • if you can see the attacker, they may be able to see you. Cover from view does not mean you are safe. Bullets can go through glass, brick, wood and metal. You must still HIDE, even if you are behind a locked door

  • find cover from gunfire behind substantial brickwork or heavy reinforced walls

  • be aware of exits

  • try not to get trapped

  • be quiet, silence your phone and turn off vibrate

  • lock and barricade 

  • move away from the door




When it is safe to do so, TELL by calling 999 

What do the police need to know? If you cannot speak or make a noise, listen to the instructions given to you by the call taker:

  • nature of the Incident – what is happening?

  • location – where is the incident taking place? Give an address or general location

  • suspects – where are the suspects?

  • direction – where did you last see the suspects?

  • descriptions – describe the attacker, numbers, features, clothing, weapons etc.

  • further information – casualties, type of injury, building information, entrances, exits, hostages etc.

  • stop other people entering the building if it is safe to do so


Armed police response:

  • follow the police officer’s instructions

  • remain calm

  • avoid sudden movements that may be considered a threat

  • keep your hands in view


Officers may:

  • point guns at you

  • treat you firmly

  • question you

  • be unable to distinguish you from the attacker

  • officers will evacuate you when it is safe to do so


You must stay safe:

  • what are your plans if there was an incident?

  • what are the local plans? (Personal emergency evacuation plan, first aid training etc.)

  • consider first aid when it is safe to do so

  • Watch a short film about staying safe in the event of a marauding terrorist attack


3. First Aid

CitizenAID is one source of first aid information, providing simple, clear immediate instruction in the event of a stabbing, bomb or firearms incident. 

Other guidance is also available:

Contact 999 if there is an emergency.

The following links provide further first aid advice and information:


St John’s Ambulance

British Red Cross

Further information and guidance is available through your local CTSA


See our guidance in printable, poster format to easily advise others with actionable information: 

Marauding Attacker Action Card


Run Hide Tell
Attack Methodology
PALs Guidance
publicly accessible places
publicly accessible locations
ProtectUK publication date