In recent years, terror attack have sadly become a far too regular occurrence. International terrorism is a growing threat and the risk associated with large gatherings has been showed not least by past incidents at global sporting events such as the Boston marathon bombing of 2013, and the targeting of the Stade de France football stadium in the Paris attacks of November 2015.
What’s the risk?
In general, Brazil is not considered to be at serious risk of a terrorist attack. Historically, the country has faced a low risk compared to many other countries. Nevertheless, Brazil’s role as World Cup host in June 2014 and the upcoming Olympics mean that the country is likely to become a more attractive target. The Islamic State group (IS) has issued calls via social media for attacks against the Rio olympics, and in late July a group of individuals who had pledged allegiance to IS and who were in early stages of planning attacks were apprehended by authorities. Due to these factors the risk of an attack should not be discounted. Anywhere people are set to gather in great numbers constitutes a risk area. Still, the threat should not be exaggerated and it shouldn’t not stop anyone from enjoying the Games on sight.
Amidst fears of an attack, the pressure on Brazil to provide security for all visitors and athletes has been immense and security during the olympics will be high.
Roughly $200 million have been pledged for just the security staff. However, some doubts have been raised regarding Brazil’s preparedness and whether the country can actually handle the scope of the event.
International observers have issued concerns over the routines and measures of Brazilian authorities in terms of terrorism prevention. The lack of border control is also an issue that has raised concerns. Airport officials are often corrupt and investigations have shown that it is often very easy to smuggle items into the country. The risk of terrorists taking advantage of this opportunity cannot be dismissed.
There are actions you can take to mitigate the impact of a terrorist attack and reduce the consequence should an emergency arise.
If a terrorism event occurs:
- Remain calm.
- Follow the instruction of emergency personnel.
- Listen to local media broadcasts for further information.
- Implement business continuity and emergency plans if safe to do so.
Evacuation during a terror attack:
- Respond immediately to any instructions from the emergency services regarding premises evacuation.
- Seek to distance yourself from the situation if safe to do so; exit the area quickly and quietly using routes that lead away from the danger, and make yourself known to police or emergency personnel.
- Use travel routes specified by local authorities. Do not use alternative routes due to potential road closures, ongoing counter-terrorism operations, or the threat of secondary attacks.
- The incident may require an invacuation or “Shelter in Place”. Personnel should rally at a pre-determined safe location and keep all doors and windows locked. Plant equipment should be turned off if possible. Contingency planning will need to consider sustenance, particularly fluids, first aid provision and toilet facilities at the pre-determined location.
- Be prepared to wait and remain patient. It can take many hours before personnel are able to leave the building.
- Do not leave the ‘Shelter in Place’ until informed to do so by someone in authority.