The Bourke Street terror attack proves that emergency situations do not only come in the form of a hurricane, or floods, or an earthquake. Danger to people safety is sometimes unfortunately brought in by another person. Personal threats — also known as CODE BLACK in the identification and assessment of emergency scenarios — are events wherein any threat is suggested to cause actual physical harm to an occupant. 

In some ways, personal threats are even more critical than natural disasters because there is deliberate intent involved. When it comes to situations of personal threat, therefore, it is imperative that the persons caught in it are able to remain safe until the authorities arrive and take over. 

There will be various tips and guides detailing to people the most ideal way to react to the Bourke Street terror attack and similar occurrences. Although they are not  guaranteed to be applicable to every emergency situation, reading these can give occupants a basic understanding of what tactics may save their lives. So, here are some reminders on how to deal with offenders — or, how not to deal with them: 

  • DO NOT attempt to stop the offender – Even if you have a black belt in martial arts or self-defence, it would still be wise to keep your head down low and not take on the offender yourself. Not only will you be putting yourself at risk, but also the others with you in the room, especially if they are armed.  Wait for the authorities to arrive and deal with the perpetrator accordingly. 
  • DO NOT attempt to follow or apprehend the offender after the armed hold-up. Again, it is not your responsibility to deal with dangerous persons such as that, and it is best to leave it to those who do have the training and tools for it. 
  • DO NOT insult, ridicule or argue with the offender – This may seem like a given, but it is even advised to avoid prolonged eye contact with the offender. Some may feel aggravated and instead turn on the one making the eye contact. Simply put, the main objective is to not engage with the offender.

During Assault 

While the intruders/attackers are perpetuating the assault, it is ideal that the individuals caught in the situation remember these tips: 

  • Keep calm. Understandably, it is a scary situation to be in, and some people are more prone to panicking than others. However, remaining as calm as possible until authorities arrive is vital. 
  • Obey the armed offender’s instructions, if there are any, and nothing more. Some people may try to pull a heroic stunt, but this is very much ill-advised as it can put everyone else in more danger. Do not pull any stunts; just try to abide by the demands of the offender as much as possible, so as to not aggravate them further. 
  • Repeat the demand of the offender as you carry out the instructions, for confirmation. When you do carry out the order, act and move deliberately, especially if you are asked to hand over something. 
  • Make keen, but discreet, observations about the offenders, such as their manner of speech, habitual movements, worn clothing, scars, tattoos or any distinguishing marks. Also, take note of the weapon/s carried by the offender. 


Upon departure of offender 

Once the attacker or offender has fled the scene, the people previously held by the offender must first make sure that he/she has departed before they can go about their way. If it is possible for them to take note of the escape vehicle used by the perpetrators, then they must do so. This should prove to be very useful for authorities in the pursuit of the offender’s apprehension. 

Of course, the Chief Warden and the police must also be immediately notified of the developments, so that they may commence  processing the offence. Ideally, the authorities would have been called as soon as the presence of threat has been identified. There are some scenarios, however, where everyone is caught by surprise and deprived of the opportunity to call the proper authorities. It is in that timeframe, therefore, when they are left to their own devices that they must adhere to the aforementioned guidelines for their own safety. 

Of course, the emergency team and the responding authorities will also do the best they can to guarantee that everyone is taken out of harm’s way, but they will still require utmost cooperation from the occupants. More information, tips and guidelines for emergency situations can be found over at 

Not sure if your building is complaint? Take our free survey at 100%