Extreme Situations

Review of Recent Extreme Situations

‘Fighting terrorism is like being a goalkeeper.
You can make a hundred brilliant saves but the only shot that
people remember is the one that gets past you.’

Paul Wilkinson, September 1, 1992

With the launch this week of our specialist course relating to Extreme Situation First Aid, we thought we would take this opportunity to review the events on these shores over the last few months.

We have, like everyone else, been watching our screens in disbelief at the events that have happened in both Manchester and London. Our aim through this blog is to highlight what has happened, the advice given for these events and also look at the heart-warming stories that shine through.

‘How do you defeat terrorism?
Don’t be terrorized’

Salman Rushdie

Current UK Terror Level

The Current UK terror warning level is: (At time of writing)


What does this mean?

Severe means an attack is highly likely and we should be vigilant.

Are there any other levels of terror threat?

Yes, there are 5 levels of terror warning as follows:

Low An attack is unlikely.
Moderate An attack is possible but not likely.
Substantial An attack is a strong possibility.
Critical An attack is expected imminently.

How long has the UK been at severe?

Since the 29th August 2014, the UK has had its terror warning at Severe, it was increased to Critical for 4 days in this period as we will discover through this blog.

Who sets the terror level and how?

The Independent Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre (JTAC) sets the terror level, taking into account several aspects as follows:

  • Available Intelligence,
  • Terrorist capability,
  • Terrorist intentions
  • Timescale.

Whilst we have said all of this about the terror levels and will go on to look at terror attacks that have occurred in the UK over the last year, it is important and vital that we say that these types of attacks are incredibly rare in the UK. Our intelligence services are incredibly good at what they do.

Amber Rudd MP and Home Secretary stated in April that the services had thwarted 12 terror attacks in the UK during the month of March alone.

Terrorism has no nationality or religion.

Vladimir Putin

19th June 2016

Jo Cox MP
Member of Parliament for Batley and Spen

I don’t think that we can start this blog anywhere else other than by going back a year ago to the 19th of June 2016, when Jo Cox MP, Member of Parliament for Batley and Spen, was tragically murdered, in a far right terror attack.

On this day, Jo Cox was going to hold her constituency surgery which members of Parliament conduct, usually on a weekly basis, where they meet members of the public and discuss the issues that they are facing, and if necessary the MP will then take on the cause in the House of Commons to try to make a difference through their role in the House. Jo was nearing the venue of her surgery when she was attacked and killed in a shooting and stabbing event.

Sadly, Jo Cox MP died in this attack.

Why was Jo Cox MP attacked?

The attack on Jo Cox came just 4 days before the Referendum on the United Kingdom’s continued membership of the European Union.

Jo was described as a passionate defender of the European Union and immigration, as well as reportedly being described by her attacker as ‘one of the collaborators and a traitor to white people’.

In the direct aftermath of her death, it was agreed that campaigning in the EU referendum would continue and terrorism would not be allowed to disrupt our democracy.

Have-a-Go Heroes

Through the sad news of the passing of somebody going about their everyday life and job, there was news of have-a-go heroes, namely Bernard Carter-Kenny (77) and Danny Playford. Bernard, rushed into the scene of the incident to try to stop the attack and was stabbed in his abdomen for his troubles. Danny, however, chased after the attacker as he fled the scene and was able to direct the police to the attacker where he was arrested.

For his bravery, Bernard Carter-Kenny was awarded the George Medal, the highest possible civilian medal. He was awarded this in Her Majesty’s 2017 Birthday Honours announced on the 16th June 2017.

‘Terrorism is a significant threat to peace and security,
prosperity and people.’

Ban Ki-Moon

22nd March 2017

The first terror attack of 2017 in the UK took place on Westminster Bridge and in the vicinity of The Palace of Westminster more commonly known as The Houses of Parliament.

What happened?

At approximately 14:40 on the afternoon of the 22nd March 2017, a grey Hyundai Tucson was driven along the pavement of the south side of Westminster Bridge at speeds of up to 76mph, causing many injuries and several deaths.

The second stage of this attack, involved the terrorist crashing the car into the perimeter wall of the Houses of Parliament and then running through the open Carriage Gates where he then fatally stabbed an unarmed Police Officer, PC Keith Palmer, before being shot himself and the attack coming to a close.

The whole attack from start to finish lasted a grand total of 82 seconds!

We have thought carefully throughout this article as to whether to name the attackers in each of the attacks, and we have decided that we will not do this, moreover to remember the people who deserve to be remembered, namely the victims.

Having made the comment regarding the attacker, we do have to say however that following being shot by an armed Police Officer inside the grounds of the Palace of Westminster, attempts to revive him were not successful and he died at the scene.

You can view the list of victims here(please note attacker is not named)

PC Keith Palmer
(Image used with thanks to Shutter Stock)

A total of 47 people were injured in this attack on top of those who died.

PC Keith Palmer

PC Keith Palmer, is probably the most famous name to come from this terror attack, he was on duty at Carriage Gates on the day of the attack. He was an unarmed Police Officer who had joined the Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection Group of the Metropolitan Police Service in April 2016, guarding the Houses of Parliament.

On the day of the attack, although he was killed, he was killed in the line of duty preventing the attacker from entering the Palace of Westminster, and therefore potentially saving the lives of many more people including MPs and civil service workers.

PC Keith Palmer was awarded a posthumous George Medal in Her Majesty’s Birthday Honours List 2017, announced on the 16th June 2017.

The George Medal is awarded for acts of great bravery, and its original warrant didn’t allow it to be awarded posthumously, this however changed in December 1977.

‘Our values and way of life will prevail –
 terrorism will not.’

John Linder

22nd May 2017

On the evening of the 22nd May 2017, over 14,000 people were enjoying a music concert by US music star, Ariana Grande, at the Manchester Arena.

Just after half past ten that evening, Miss Grande had finished her set and the delighted crowd were exiting the arena, making their way home after seeing their (or their daughters’) idol perform her hits, or waiting in the foyer for their excited children to meet them after the concert.

Ariana Grande
Performing at One Love Manchester

At 10:31, a suicide bomber, detonated his suicide vest, spewing shrapnel into the foyer area, hitting many people as far away as 20 metres from him when he detonated the bomb.

The Victims

The Manchester Arena terror attack is the deadliest attack on our shores since the events of 7/7, killing 22 people, 10 of which were under the age of 20, and the youngest being 8-year-old Saffi Rose Roussos, a face I am sure is ingrained in the memory of everyone who watched the aftermath of this attack on their televisions.

You can view the full list of victims here. (Again, excluding the attacker)

The initial reported number of injured people was 119, this was upgraded on the 22nd June 2017 to some 250 injured people.

Operation Temperer

Following this attack in Manchester, JTAC raised the UK terror threat level from Severe up to its highest level of Critical on the 23rd May 2017 until the 27th May 2017, invoking Operation Temperer, which meant members of the armed forces took over guarding duty of places like the Palace of Westminster and Buckingham Palace, freeing up armed police officers to patrol the streets of the UK.

Some people found the appearance of more armed officers on the streets disturbing, but the idea behind this was to ensure people felt safe to go about their everyday business.

This was the first time that Operation Temperer had actually been put into action.

Who is Ariana Grande?

Ariana Grande is a 23-year-old (at the time of the attack) singer and actress from the United States of America. She has been described, particularly in her early career, as being age appropriate in the way that she dresses and behaves in public.

She has released 3 full length albums, and all 3 have been certified by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), and has a huge following on social media, her Twitter account has over 45 million followers, making it the 17th most followed account, she is the 2nd most followed person on Instagram with over 110 million followers. Her Facebook account has over 30 million followers.

Ariana’s Response to the Attack

On the 23rd May 2017 at 3:51AM, Ariana tweeted:

from the bottom of my heart, i am so so sorry. i don’t have words.’

Ariana postponed her Dangerous Woman tour and flew back home to her mother, the move of going home courted criticism of her primarily by Piers Morgan who publicly said that he felt she should have stayed in the UK to visit the victims in hospital, something which Ariana did later. From our point of view, it must have been incredibly difficult for Ariana at the time, as it was her fans that had been targeted, it was her concert and let’s not forget that she was only 23 at the time.

It was said (by Scooter Braun at the One Love Manchester Concert) that while in America, Ariana contacted her manager, Scooter, and said:


If we do nothing…
I can’t live with that
We must do something’

And that is exactly what Ariana Grande did, she did something.

One Love Manchester

Ariana Grande’s bunny logo

On the 26th May 2017, Ariana Grande announced that she would be hosting a benefit concert in Manchester on June 4th 2017. This is the something that she had referred to in her conversation with her manager Scooter Braun.

The concert took place on June the 4th 2017, at Old Trafford Cricket Ground.

Ariana planned, hosted and headlined the concert.

Anyone who had attended her original Manchester concert could apply for free tickets to the concert, and the paid tickets were charged at £40.00 with no booking fee and sold out in 6 minutes.

The stars of the show donated their time to the concert, and others who couldn’t attend sent video messages of support to the concert and the crowd via video messages. Proceeds from the concert went to the We Love Manchester Emergency Fund.

The concert was broadcast live on the BBC and across the world’s television channels as well as across radio stations.

It was critically acclaimed and is the most requested programme on the BBC iPlayer hitting over 1 million, surpassing the 2012 Olympics Opening Ceremony.

Ariana’s performances were tinged with emotion, but she conducted an excellent show, and the credit really has to go to her for putting on such an amazing show in such circumstances. Even Piers Morgan, who you will remember criticised her in the direct aftermath of the tragedy, lauded Ariana during the concert by tweeting:

‘I misjudged you, @ArianaGrande & I apologise.
You’re an admirable young woman & this is a magnificent night.
Respect. #OneLoveManchester

Finally, on the Manchester Attack….

It also has been reported that Ariana Grande has offered to pay the funeral costs for all of the 22 victims of the attack. Moreover, she visited the injured in the hospital, a few days before the One Love Manchester, joining her name with that of Theresa May PM and the Queen who made visits to the injured in hospital.

We mustn’t forget to mention the shrine that St Ann’s Square became with millions of floral tributes, balloons and soft toys in memory of the 22 who died.

‘There is no priority higher
than the prevention of terrorism.’

John Ashcroft

3rd June 2017

Just as the country was catching its breath, following the atrocious attack on Manchester, terror once again reigned on the streets of our capital city.

At 10:05pm, a white Renault van was driven at speed heading south on the pavement of London Bridge, killing 3 and injuring many more. The attack then continued on foot after the van had crashed, heading into Borough Market where they proceeded to kill 5 people and injure many more. Members of the public were trying to protect themselves and others by throwing crates, bottles, chairs and other projectiles at the attackers in an attempt to ward them off.

The attackers were carrying knives to stab and cut their victims and wearing what turned out to be fake bomb vests.

The whole attack lasted 8 minutes, as the attackers, of which there were 3, were shot dead by the police on their arrival.

You can view the victims here. (As always excluding the attackers!)

During this attack 48 people were injured.

‘Terrorism is you winning hearts
and minds of people.’

Imran Khan

19th June 2017

And so, we arrive at the most recent terror attack on these shores, and we find that it is an attack of the same ilk that we began with, from the far right.

A van was driven into a crowd of people on Seven Sisters Road shortly after tarawih (night time prayers held in the month of Ramadan). This injured 10 people who were giving First Aid at the time to another man who died, Makram Ali.

Like the first attack we have discussed in this blog, the attacker survived and is in the custody of the police who will follow the judicial process to bring this far right activist to justice for his crimes.

‘We must fight terrorism as if there’s
no peace process and work to achieve peace as if there’s no terror.’

Yitzhak Rabin

So, what should I do should I be in such circumstances?

The current advice from the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) that should you be in a situation where there has been a:

  • Shooting,
  • Stabbing,
  • Bombing, or
  • Other deliberate incident is to

Run   Hide   Tell.

What does this mean in practice?


To a place of safety.
This is a much better option than trying to fight with the attacker and/or try to negotiate.
If you are unable to run then…


It’s better to hide than to try to confront.
Remember to turn your phone off or on to silent, remember to turn off vibrate too!
Barricade yourself in if you can.
Then finally AND only when it is safe to do so…


Tell the Emergency Services (Police) by calling 999.
If your mobile telephone has been registered you can even text the emergency services to inform them of an emergency.

We dedicate this blog to all the victims who lost their lives in these terrorist attacks and to all those who were injured.

Want to know more information, then why not visit our dedicated Community Resilience First Aid Courses section of our website?

1 Comment

  • Post has been updated following the removal of tweets from Twitter, which were referred to in the original article.

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