How to keep safe from terrorist attacks in Europe
European cities remain a popular choice of short break destinations for British travellers, especially in the autumn months while the weather remains warm but tourist numbers fall, meaning streets and attractions are less crowded. However, recent terrorist attacks in Spain, Norway and Belgium have exacerbated concerns about the danger posed to tourists, particularly as areas populated by overseas nationals have been the focus for terrorism.
While the chance of being caught up in an attack is incredibly small, if you’re travelling to mainland Europe in the foreseeable future, taking a few simple steps would be advisable:
Carry your EHIC at all times
Your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) is proof of your entitlement to receive free healthcare in the event that you’re ill or injured. Of course, it’s not just in a serious situation such as a terrorist attack that you’d require your card; even a minor dental complaint or a dose of food poisoning could require medical attention, so you’ll save money and inconvenience as well as receiving prompt treatment. Don’t forget to renew your EHIC before you travel and that children require their own cards.
Keep abreast of government advice
As the government receives information relating to possible risks in cities or countries, it will provide up-to-the-minute advice about how safe locations across Europe are. In extreme circumstances, travel to specific areas might even be discouraged or prohibited.
Keep a check on the government website and follow any advice carefully.
Look and listen
Whenever you’re out and about in Europe, keep your eyes open and listen, even if you’re in a busy area and feel safe. Recent terrorist attacks have been launched suddenly, so it could pay to be aware of your surroundings, including spotting places to take cover if needed.
Make sure your phone is fully charged at all times so you can make calls in an emergency and install a torch app so you have a means of shining a light if power supplies fail. A door wedge could also be invaluable to jam a door shut if you need to hide in a safe place while danger is present.
Create a code word
In a terrorist attack, it is likely that there would be shouting and screaming with many people calling for parents or family members. Your own efforts to reach your loved ones could be hampered. By choosing an unusual code word and sharing it with your travel party, you can be confident of alerting each other’s attention in a critical situation.
Of course, being caught up in a terrorist attack is extremely unlikely, but with the current international situation, travelling fully prepared could just give you the edge in a moment of danger.