Guidance from Police for a Firearms and Weapons Attack

What to do in the event of a terrorist  Fire & Weaspons attack

The National Police Chiefs’ Council have launched advice on what the public should do in the event of a terrorist attack. Attacks in the UK and abroad remind us all of the terrorist threat we face, which in the UK is considered as ‘severe’, meaning an attack is highly likely. 

Police and security agencies are working tirelessly to protect the public but it is also important that communities remain vigilant and aware of how to protect themselves if the need arises.

National Counter Terrorism policing is providing advice to the public on the steps they can take to keep themselves safe in the event of a firearms or weapons attack.

The police service has released the short public information film called Stay Safe: Firearms and Weapons Attack which sets out the key options for keeping safe should the worst happen.   

The film advises those who get caught up in an incident to ‘run, hide and tell’ - guidance which can be applied to many places and situations.  We know that from case studies and real life testimony based on the experiences of people who have survived attacks the advice given in the film has saved lives.

The key advice, wherever possible, is to follow the Run Hide Tell guidance until the police arrive on the scene.  The guidance recommends RUN, if you can, if you can’t run, HIDE and then, when you can, TELL the police what’s happening so they can get help there quickly to stop the threat.  Also tell others of the threat so they don’t approach danger. However, if someone is in immediate danger and their life is being threatened we would never criticise their actions if instinct takes over and they feel the need to fight back.

The film has already been delivered and widely used across industry as part of police-led counter terrorism security advice sessions for employees. In the same way people plan how to respond to a fire it also makes sense to plan the response to firearms or weapons attack.  These are emotive subjects but experience shows by becoming more alert to surroundings and plan and think ahead people have far greater chance of surviving.

The intention of the film is not to scare you, but rather ensure that you know what steps to take in the event of being involved in firearms or weapons attack.  It is only responsible that the police issue this public safety guidance as they would do with any other personal safety issue.  Do remember that while the national risk is high the chances of you being directly involved is very low indeed.

The public are urged to be alert but not alarmed by this threat. The police and security services are working hard to help maintain the protection and security of citizens, public institutions, critical national infrastructure, and businesses and places, including those who are potential terrorist targets.

The film and additional material is now freely available online via and are resources that Business Continuity, Resilience and Security professionals should consider sharing across their organisations and embedding it in BCM processes.

Firearms and Weapons Attack Guidance Leaflet

(Downloadable leaflet 90kb)