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Emergency vehicles to use a different siren when going to/at a terrorist attack

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London Bridge Terror Attack

I was one of the lucky ones. One that managed to escape harm at the London Bridge terror attack. 

We were sat in one of the restaurants on the bridge and watched out the window as events unfolded. It was horrific. 

Since then I have thought long and hard about how - if and when this style of attack happens again - the public could be more prepared. And I have a feasible idea. 

I believe there is one small change that will make a big difference. Change the sirens used on emergency vehicles when en route or attending a terror attack/suspected terror attack. Let me tell you how this could have saved lives at London Bridge. 

Police were thankfully at the scene within 2 minutes. But, as we watched a lady pass-away on the bridge, we thought we were witness to a horrific car accident or a fight. We continued to sit in the bar and we tried to find medical help. Bar staff continued to serve cocktails and people continued to chat. People were ready to move on to the next bar, picked their jackets up and walked out into the street. We were about to leave and go to The Shard as the ambulance had arrived and we knew we couldn't do anything more. Groups were leaving and walking down into Borough Market for a night cap. People continued to walk right into danger. 

The problem is we are all sadly immune to sirens. We assume that it's nothing or it's something being dealt with by the services. Something minor that doesn't affect us. Something that doesn't require our attention. The last thing you think of is a terror attack unfolding around you. 

Now imagine if a different sounding siren was used the second the 999 call was made and vehicles made their way to the scene. People all along the route could have went indoors - locked the door. People could have avoided exiting London Bridge tube station. Bouncers with earpieces could have communicated with all the others in Borough market to shut their doors, something was happening. We could have shut our restaurant door 5 minutes earlier as the sirens outside would have alerted us - it remained wide open. We could have reacted if we had known what was going on.

We turned to Twitter for information and this is how we learned there was a terror attack happening right outside our bar. It shouldn’t be this way.

I’ve gathered the opinions of many people across the country. I’ve asked witnesses of London Bridge and members of the police on the street. Everyone agrees this would work and could have worked at London Bridge. I’ve also been in touch with the Commissioner and various inspectors. Only one question came up.

Would a terror siren not cause more panic on the streets? 

Yes, it would. But there would be panic if an attack unfolded anyway would there not? Would we not rather people reacted?

Sirens, albeit not on vehicles worked during the World Wars and sirens are still used across the world to alert of tsunamis etc. Why would it not work for this?

Imagine if the services hadn’t turned up within 2 minutes. Or if they didn’t manage to take down the terrorists in 8 minutes. The situation would have been a lot worse. But, the bottom line is sirens could have saved more lives. It could save more if it happens again. 

Change sirens on all emergency vehicles nationwide to include a unique siren when attending a terror attack. 

If you agree with my idea on how we could take a step towards protecting the public if and when this style of attack happens again – please sign my petition.

Evening Standard coverage June 22nd 2017:

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