Taking charge during a terrorist attack: Implementing attack

Posted: 22 May 2017 | | No comments yet

In the final part of the series, Bart Brands, leading security analyst unpacks the AAEA method to ascertain how best individuals can take charge during a terrorist attack at an airport.


Completing my AAEA-method implemented with the last element of my method I would like to thank the International Airport Review for the opportunity.

Even though following my AAEA-method should help the public safely and securely travel through every airport in the world, there are no guarantees. Instances in which people have been in the wrong place at the wrong time are can occur. The chances this happening to any one reader of my articles are slim to none but failing to prepare is preparing to fail.

If you ever are cornered and Awareness, Avoidance and Evasion have failed the only choice that remains to go on the offensive! Knowing what to do and not to do might save your life. 

Let’s explore the last line. Let’s talk Attack!

Use only as a last resort:

First and foremost I want to let everyone know that attacking a terrorist should only be used as a last resort. If one of the three earlier mentioned elements of my AAEA-method can be used you should always try it. Take into account the wish of some terrorist to die during what most of them view as a holy war and mission that would grant them access to ‘paradise’.

This makes attacking a armed terrorist a very dangerous last resort and there are examples of people that did not survive a counterattack against terrorists. Use only as a last resort.

Failing to prepare is preparing to fail…

Beware ‘the bystander effect’:

The bystander effect is a psychological phenomenon in which individuals are less likely to help victims when other people are present. Tests have shown that the greater the number of bystanders, the less likely it is that one of them will help. According to researchers you can reverse this phenomenon by introducing an accountability cue. This cue aims at eliminating the feeling of anonymity and increasing the likelihood of helping. Visualising how you would react in a crowded situation is one of the ways you can make sure you won’t become a bystander when action is needed.

Team up:

When faced with a terrorist and no way out you should try to team up with others. Counterattacking by rushing the terrorist will actually improve chances of survival for everyone. When people see one person going on the offence, chances are you can snap them out of ‘the bystander effect’. When asking others for help be sure to make eye contact and talk loud and clear. Most people will be in shock. If they do not respond move to the next person.

Conviction is key:

When attacking a terrorist, knowing that your own chances of survival are severely limited you should put all you have into the attack that can save you and your loved ones. Tapping into a primal mode of basic survival is all you have left. Use it!

Learn self-defence:

As a lifetime practitioner of martial arts and self-defence sports like Krav Maga, I know that having basic fighting skills can dramatically increase your defence and fighting efficiency, making you a formidable challenger for every (armed) terrorist. If you can, following a self-defence course is something everyone should do at least one time.

Use your environment as a weapon:

Following a couple of Krav Maga courses I learned that almost everything that is not bolted to the ground can be used as a weapon. A pencil or a book can severely injure when used with intent. A handbag filled with something heavy can be thrown, so can (glass) bottles. If you can imagine the potential of your environment you can use it when it is most needed.

Use Awareness, Avoidance and Evasion:

Even when an attack is your only option, try to use your head. Be aware, avoid being an easy target, keep moving and evade the terrorist.

For policymakers:

A good and well trained staff that can respond within moments is crucial. Train regularly and invest.


Bart Brands is a 35 year old Security expert and owner of ‘82 ADVISE. His company specialises in security (intelligence) and anti-terror training and advice. He has a degree in applied security sciences and is a former member of both the city council of The Hague and Provincial Parliament in South Holland. for more information you can contact Bart at

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