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French government publishes guide to surviving terror attack

www.gouvernement.fr | The French government has published an official guide on what to do in the case of a terror attack like those seen in Paris last month

The French government on Friday published an official guide on what to do in the case of a terror attack like those seen in Paris last month, while warning that the risk of terrorism is something the public must learn to live with.

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The advice, presented in cartoon-strip form and inspired by the safety instruction cards found in airplanes, has been published online and will soon appear on posters in public places such as train stations, town halls, shops and museums.

It recommends people take three principal courses of action in the event of a terror attack: flee, hide and raise the alarm.

Attempting to run away should be the first course of action, says the poster, recommending that people try to help others but avoid exposing themselves to danger.

Once outside of the danger zone, people should alert others and tell them to stay out of the vicinity, it says.

If escape is not possible, members of the public are advised to try to find a hiding space, ideally a locked room where they can barricade themselves in, says the poster.

Once inside, they should turn off lights and electronic equipment that might draw attention, then lie on the ground away from any windows.

If there is no closed space where people can take refuge, they should find a hiding place behind a solid barrier such as a wall or pillar, it says, and turn off both the ringtone and vibrator on their phones.

Once members of the public reach safety, they are advised to alert the authorities by calling either 17 or 112. Once emergency services arrive, the poster says, people should not run towards them or make any sudden movements, but instead raise their hands above their heads with their palms visible and follow police instructions.

‘A threat we must learn to live with’

The government’s information campaign follows the November 13 attacks in Paris in which 130 people were killed in a spate of shootings and suicide bombings across the French capital.

One of the worst-hit venues was the Bataclan music hall, where 89 people were murdered. However, some managed to survive by barricading themselves inside rooms and basements. Others played dead to avoid the attention of the gunmen.

French President François Hollande ordered a state of emergency after the attacks and stepped up security measures across the country.

Paris had already been in a state of heightened security at the time of the November 13 attacks following another wave of terror killing in January at the offices of Charlie Hebdo and the Hyper Cacher market.

“There’s a lasting threat we are going to have to learn to live with,” French Prime Minister Manuel Valls told France’s BFM TV on Friday.

Meanwhile, a source at the prime minister’s office told AFP that there was a “need to develop a culture of potentially life-saving actions and solidarity” in order to “live with a threat that will last a while”.

“The goal is extremely simple: to promote the most effective acts to protect lives before the forces of order arrive,” said the source.

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