Monday, November 16, 2015

A few pre-trip planning steps will help keep you safer if you ever find
yourself in a city that"s experienced an attack.
(Photo:
iStock/MundusImages)
By Johnny Jet
Friday"s horrific terrorist attacks in
Paris has the Western world on edge.
Sadly, until governments around the world
wake up and extinguish these barbarians, this could be the new
norm.
Fortunately, I"ve never been smack in the middle of a terrorist attack
but I was in Manhattan during 9/11, in India during the terror attacks in
Mumbai in 2008, and in Los Angeles during the 1992 riots that erupted after
the Rodney King police brutality verdict was announced (not a terrorist attack
but it was scary like one).
I was also in France this past August when
fortunately, three Americans thwarted a bloody train massacre.If, God forbid,
you"re ever in a city where"s there"s a terrorist attack or you"re about to
travel to one, then hopefully you will find this information helpful.Here"s
what to do in a city where"s there"s been a terrorist attack:1.
Remain calm
Check in with your loved ones and your government to let others know you"re
safe.
(Photo: Johnny Jet)Obviously this is easier said than done.
But losing
your cool isn"t going to help, especially when clear heads are needed.
Remain
calm and if you"re in a place that"s secure, then stay there.
If not, then go
to the closest one.
Once the terrorists have been found, detained, arrested,
killed, or have cowardly blown themselves up, realize that the city is way
safer than it was before the attacks.
The governments will likely bring in
thousands of officers, agents, and military, so don"t panic.2.
Check in with
loved ones Social media is making it increasingly easier to let friends and
family know you"re safe.

Naturally, your loved ones are going to be freaking
out when they hear the news.
If you are safe make sure to let your immediate
family know, and if you"re on Facebook, then either post that you"re safe or
mark yourself as safe using Facebook"s safety check feature.
If your location
is set to the city where the attack occurred or you recently checked in,
Facebook will most likely send you a text or email asking to mark yourself as
safe.
The app also allows friends/family who have made contact with the person
to mark them as safe.Related: Is Paris Safe for Tourists Right Now?
3.
Alert
your government The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program is a service that will
provide you with information while you"re traveling.
The U.S.
government
created the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to keep you updated on
any relevant incidents or instructions in case something does go down in the
part of the world where you"re traveling.
It"s a free service for
U.S.
citizens who are traveling to, or living in, a foreign country.
STEP
allows you to enter information about your upcoming trip abroad so that the
State Department can better assist you in an emergency.
STEP also allows
Americans residing abroad to get routine information from the nearest
U.S.
embassy or consulate.FYI: My friend and travel expert Peter Greenberg
says that if he was in a foreign country and there was an emergency, the last
place he would go is the U.S.
Embassy because it"s the first place that shuts
down and goes into bunker mode.
He suggests going to the Canadian, British, or
Australian Embassy.4.
Use FireChatDuring 9/11 all the cellular and land lines
went down.
The only phones working were pay phones but in this day and age,
you will be hard pressed to find one.
If the phones and internet go down,
hopefully you and your loved ones would have already downloaded the FireChat
app as it lets users communicate on their smartphones without internet or
cellular connection by using "mesh networking".
According to Skift, FireChat
uses your phone"s Wi-Fi or Bluetooth antennas "to pass a message to another
phone running FireChat that"s located up to 200 feet away.
That phone relays
the encrypted message on, until it"s delivered.
The process can take 10 to 20
minutes to travel across a dense metro area, assuming about five percent of
the city"s population has downloaded the FireChat app—a big
assumption." My wife and I tested it briefly on a plane above France and it
worked instantaneously, both when we were next to each other or when I was all
the way down the aisle in the bathroom.5.
If you want to, get out of town
When airports shut down, dall your travel agent or an air travel assistance
company like Cranky Concierge to help navigate the mess.
(Photo: Johnny
Jet)
Usually after terrorist attacks, governments close the borders,
airports, and even roads.
We saw this in Paris and in New York after 9/11 when
the city shut down all trains, tunnels, and bridges for a few hours, so I was
trapped on the island of Manhattan.
FYI: Later that afternoon, I was able to
take the train to Connecticut to stay with my family.I"m sure your immediate
reaction will be the same as mine — to get the heck out of Dodge.
But
don"t just head to the airport, train, or bus station.
Stay where you are
since it"s most likely going to be safer and save you from a wild goose
chase.
Instead, get on the phone (if they are working) and get online or call
the airlines, train, and bus companies to see if you can get on or change a
flight.It might take these companies a few hours but they will most likely
waive change fees and offer a refund.
Better yet, contact your travel agent
and have them do the work for you.Related: What Should I Do If I"m Traveling
to Paris?
6.
Get helpIf you didn"t book through a travel agent, you can
contact CrankyConcierge.com.
For a fee (usually $150), they will help you make
other flight arrangements, find a hotel or alternate transportation.7.
Get
travel insuranceI highly recommend getting travel insurance and from a third
party.
You need to have the insurance before an incident takes place or a
storm is formed so buy it as soon as you book your travel.
But you have to
read the fine print as some policies don"t cover terrorism.
I use Allianz
Travel Insurance (Full disclosure: They are a sponsor of JohnnyJet.com) since
they are the giant in the travel insurance business.
Allianz is competitively
priced but even if they cost a little more, I would go with them because they
have offices in 34 countries that span six continents so chances are they will
have people on the ground no matter where you are in the world.

FYI: The
reason you want to buy travel insurance from a third party is, let"s say you
buy insurance for a cruise from a cruise line and they go out of business,
then you are out of luck.8.
Stock up on food, water Having extra food and
water on hand is always a good idea.
Shops can close down for a while in the
wake of an emergency.
(Photo: Johnny Jet)
Shortly after the planes hit the
Twin Towers, I ran downstairs to stock up on food since I had nothing in my
apartment (I was living in NYC at the time).
The store shelves were
practically barren in minutes, just like after the L.A.
riots.
If you"re
renting an apartment, be sure to stock up when you get there.
If you"re in a
hotel, you should be fine.9.
Create an emergency kit for your car Pack up
first-aid items, flares, an extra phone charger, and a radio and keep them in
your car.
(Photo: Johnny Jet)
If you"re renting a car or on a road trip, then
create an emergency kit for your car.
Have a first aid kit, flares, bottled
water, snacks, blanket, phone charger, a transistor radio, and a map.
You"ll
especially need the last two if there"s no cell service.
If you"re in a hot
location then sunscreen, a hat, and bug spray are also recommended.Related:
How a Security Check Saved Hundreds of Lives in Paris
10.
Keep your phone
charged and carry a power pack Carry extra phone chargers so you"re never
caught without power.
(Photo: Johnny Jet)
After the Mumbai attacks, I became
kind of neurotic about keeping my phone charged.
I make sure it"s fully
charged before leaving the house and I often carry a compact portable charger
so I can juice up on the fly.
Here are some on Amazon.com.11.
Have cash In a
crisis, cash is a more reliable bet than credit cards.
Have some on
hand.
(Photo: Johnny Jet)
When I travel I almost always pay for everything
with my credit cards so I can earn miles/points, but in emergencies, cash is
king.
It"s always a good idea to carry some U.S.
dollars as well as local
currency.Related: Travelers Share Their Memories and Love for Paris
12.
Stay
up to dateStay up to date by listening to the news or following reputable
local and national agencies on Twitter.
If you want to know what"s happening
around you or around the world, you can download a free emergency radio
app.
This will allow you to listen to live police, fire, EMS, railroad, air
traffic, NOAA weather, coast guard, HAM radio, and other frequencies all over
the planet.
There are thousands of live frequencies and you can tune in to
help you stay safer in your neighborhood if you know something is going down.I
hope these tips are useful and if you have any other suggestions, please leave
a comment below.

Fortunately, I've never been smack in the middle of a terrorist attack but I
was in Manhattan during 9/11, in India during the terror attacks in Mumbai in
2008, and in Los Angeles during the 1992 riots that erupted after the Rodney
King police brutality verdict was announced (not a terrorist attack but it was
scary like one).
If, God forbid, you're ever in a city where's there's a
terrorist attack or you're about to travel to one, then hopefully you will
find this information helpful.
Here's what to do in a city where's
there's been a terrorist attack: 1..Naturally, your loved ones are going to
be freaking out when they hear the news.
If you are safe make sure to let your
immediate family know, and if you"re on Facebook, then either post that you"re
safe or mark yourself as safe using Facebook"s safety check feature.
If your
location is set to the city where the attack occurred or you recently checked
in, Facebook will most likely send you a text or email asking to mark yourself
as safe.
The app also allows friends/family who have made contact with the
person to mark them as safe.Related: Is Paris Safe for Tourists Right
Now?
3.
Alert your government The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program is a
service that will provide you with information while you"re traveling.
The
U.S.
government created the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to keep
you updated on any relevant incidents or instructions in case something does
go down in the part of the world where you"re traveling.
It"s a free service
for U.S.
citizens who are traveling to, or living in, a foreign country.
STEP
allows you to enter information about your upcoming trip abroad so that the
State Department can better assist you in an emergency.
STEP also allows
Americans residing abroad to get routine information from the nearest
U.S.
embassy or consulate.FYI: My friend and travel expert Peter Greenberg
says that if he was in a foreign country and there was an emergency, the last
place he would go is the U.S.
Embassy because it"s the first place that shuts
down and goes into bunker mode.
He suggests going to the Canadian, British, or
Australian Embassy.4.
Use FireChatDuring 9/11 all the cellular and land lines
went down.
The only phones working were pay phones but in this day and age,
you will be hard pressed to find one.
If the phones and internet go down,
hopefully you and your loved ones would have already downloaded the FireChat
app as it lets users communicate on their smartphones without internet or
cellular connection by using "mesh networking".
According to Skift, FireChat
uses your phone"s Wi-Fi or Bluetooth antennas "to pass a message to another
phone running FireChat that"s located up to 200 feet away.
That phone relays
the encrypted message on, until it"s delivered.
The process can take 10 to 20
minutes to travel across a dense metro area, assuming about five percent of
the city"s population has downloaded the FireChat app—a big
assumption." My wife and I tested it briefly on a plane above France and it
worked instantaneously, both when we were next to each other or when I was all
the way down the aisle in the bathroom.5.
If you want to, get out of town
When airports shut down, dall your travel agent or an air travel assistance
company like Cranky Concierge to help navigate the mess.
(Photo: Johnny
Jet)
Usually after terrorist attacks, governments close the borders,
airports, and even roads.
We saw this in Paris and in New York after 9/11 when
the city shut down all trains, tunnels, and bridges for a few hours, so I was
trapped on the island of Manhattan.
FYI: Later that afternoon, I was able to
take the train to Connecticut to stay with my family.I"m sure your immediate
reaction will be the same as mine — to get the heck out of Dodge.
But
don"t just head to the airport, train, or bus station.
Stay where you are
since it"s most likely going to be safer and save you from a wild goose
chase.
Instead, get on the phone (if they are working) and get online or call
the airlines, train, and bus companies to see if you can get on or change a
flight.It might take these companies a few hours but they will most likely
waive change fees and offer a refund.
Better yet, contact your travel agent
and have them do the work for you.Related: What Should I Do If I"m Traveling
to Paris?
6.
Get helpIf you didn"t book through a travel agent, you can
contact CrankyConcierge.com.
For a fee (usually $150), they will help you make
other flight arrangements, find a hotel or alternate transportation.7.
Get
travel insuranceI highly recommend getting travel insurance and from a third
party.
You need to have the insurance before an incident takes place or a
storm is formed so buy it as soon as you book your travel.
But you have to
read the fine print as some policies don"t cover terrorism.
I use Allianz
Travel Insurance (Full disclosure: They are a sponsor of JohnnyJet.com) since
they are the giant in the travel insurance business.
Allianz is competitively
priced but even if they cost a little more, I would go with them because they
have offices in 34 countries that span six continents so chances are they will
have people on the ground no matter where you are in the world.

FYI: The
reason you want to buy travel insurance from a third party is, let"s say you
buy insurance for a cruise from a cruise line and they go out of business,
then you are out of luck.8.
Stock up on food, water Having extra food and
water on hand is always a good idea.
Shops can close down for a while in the
wake of an emergency.
(Photo: Johnny Jet)
Shortly after the planes hit the
Twin Towers, I ran downstairs to stock up on food since I had nothing in my
apartment (I was living in NYC at the time).
The store shelves were
practically barren in minutes, just like after the L.A.
riots.
If you"re
renting an apartment, be sure to stock up when you get there.
If you"re in a
hotel, you should be fine.9.
Create an emergency kit for your car Pack up
first-aid items, flares, an extra phone charger, and a radio and keep them in
your car.
(Photo: Johnny Jet)
If you"re renting a car or on a road trip, then
create an emergency kit for your car.
Have a first aid kit, flares, bottled
water, snacks, blanket, phone charger, a transistor radio, and a map.
You"ll
especially need the last two if there"s no cell service.
If you"re in a hot
location then sunscreen, a hat, and bug spray are also recommended.Related:
How a Security Check Saved Hundreds of Lives in Paris
10.
Keep your phone
charged and carry a power pack Carry extra phone chargers so you"re never
caught without power.
(Photo: Johnny Jet)
After the Mumbai attacks, I became
kind of neurotic about keeping my phone charged.
I make sure it"s fully
charged before leaving the house and I often carry a compact portable charger
so I can juice up on the fly.
Here are some on Amazon.com.11.
Have cash In a
crisis, cash is a more reliable bet than credit cards.
Have some on
hand.
(Photo: Johnny Jet)
When I travel I almost always pay for everything
with my credit cards so I can earn miles/points, but in emergencies, cash is
king.
It"s always a good idea to carry some U.S.
dollars as well as local
currency.Related: Travelers Share Their Memories and Love for Paris
12.
Stay
up to dateStay up to date by listening to the news or following reputable
local and national agencies on Twitter.
If you want to know what"s happening
around you or around the world, you can download a free emergency radio
app.
This will allow you to listen to live police, fire, EMS, railroad, air
traffic, NOAA weather, coast guard, HAM radio, and other frequencies all over
the planet.
There are thousands of live frequencies and you can tune in to
help you stay safer in your neighborhood if you know something is going down.I
hope these tips are useful and if you have any other suggestions, please leave
a comment below.

Fortunately, I've never been smack in the middle of a
terrorist attack but I was in Manhattan during 9/11, in India during the
terror attacks in Mumbai in 2008, and in Los Angeles during the 1992 riots
that erupted after the Rodney King police brutality verdict was announced (not
a terrorist attack but it was scary like one).
If, God forbid, you're ever
in a city where's there's a terrorist attack or you're about to travel
to one, then hopefully you will find this information helpful.
Here's what
to do in a city where's there's been a terrorist attack: 1.

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