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Antiterrorism Awareness Precaution Meets Summer Fun – Strike a Balance

The summer season is often marked by holidays, special events, public gatherings and travel to tourist destination at home and abroad. Many summer events provide opportunities for personnel and their families to relax and have fun. However, some of these events provide “soft targets” for terrorists and violent extremists. In preparation for summer activities it’s important to review the precautions one should take to ensure their safety and that of their family and friends.

General precautions include:

  • Review the Antiterrorism Awareness Level I training materials available at https://jkodirect.jten.mil (course # JS-US007)
  • View the active shooter training video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5VcSwejU2D0)
  • Be aware of your surroundings for potential threats that may target personnel as they enter or leave public gathering events
  • Understand how to respond to an active shooter event (Run, Hide, Fight)
  • Report suspicious activity to military police or local law enforcement
  • If traveling overseas, use the Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment System (STEP) which allows U.S. citizens to register their overseas travel plans (https://step.state.gov/step). The site is free and includes the ability to receive travel warnings, alerts, and other important information for the country(ies) a person plans to traveling to.
  • Travelers can also obtain up to date information on overseas security conditions from the State Department by calling 1-888-407-4747 (toll free in the U.S. and Canada). While outside of the U.S. and Canada, travelers can call 1-202-501-4444 and/or view information online at http://travel.state.gov/.
  • When traveling overseas, be sure to maintain positive control of critical travel papers including passports, identification, tickets, and in country emergency phone numbers.
  • Be careful conscious about how you dress – minimize the appearance of your association as a U.S. citizen
  • When in hotels or other lodging ensure your phone works, doors and windows are secure, and where the emergency exits are located

Individual protective measures:

  • Be aware of your surroundings at all times
  • Be aware of emergency exit locations when inside unfamiliar buildings
  • Avoid dining on patios adjacent to streets
  • Report suspicious activity or behavior to local law enforcement or security
  • Follow directions of local law enforcement or uniformed security
  • Practice safe social media habits and protect your personal information
  • Inactivate geo-locator on your mobile phones to inadvertently show the location of your travel and/or current activities
  • Review guidance on the safe use of social media (https://www.army.mil/socialmedia/)

Physical security precautions for home include:

  • Locked all doors and windows when away from the house
  • Place timers on internal/external lights to present a “lived in” appearance
  • Ask neighbors/friends to keep an eye on your home
  • Stop delivery of newspapers and mail while away
  • Activate home alarm system (if available) when departing

Public transportation:

  • Use public transportation (such as taxis) that are easily identifiable as legitimate companies and verify the vehicle description of any internet based taxi-type services (such as Uber and Lyft). Request driver identification prior to getting in the vehicle.

Public Venues:

  • Be aware and exercise caution in heavily populate areas such as hotels, shopping centers/malls, public beaches and parks, and restaurants
  • Assess the potential safety concerns before attending large public events as pop-up demonstrations or protests (even peaceful) can create increased risk