Fire as a weapon: Latest terrorist threat alert

A new guidance document has been developed in collaboration with the Home Office, National Counter Terrorism Security Office (NaCTSO) and the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) highlighting ways to mitigate the risks posed by terrorists conducting attacks that combine the use of fire with other attack methods, this is known as Fire as a Weapon (FAW).

As outlined by the Centre for Protection of National Infrastructure (CPNI), Fire as a Weapon (FAW) is the deliberate use of fire within a terrorist attack with the intent to cause harm. This may include causing harm to people, premeditated damage to property, or a combination of both.

The document, which can be read here is aimed at those who are responsible for the protection of Critical National Infrastructure (CNI) sites, sensitive sites and other crowded places. The document can provide guidance on the FAW threat, where it can take place and the steps partners can take to reduce the threat.

Fire and smoke alone can provide a lethal mix and when combined with other terrorist attack methods as part of a Marauding Terrorist Attack (MTA) it can create an extremely complex situation for security partners, Emergency services and venue staff. Guidance on what an MTA is, and how they can be disrupted can be found on the CPNI website.

Starting fires during attacks can be relatively easy and may require limited planning and preparation. However, a successful attack is likely to require detailed planning and involve capable attackers and partners should take this into consideration when planning security plans and measurements.

Coordinating a response can be very difficult for both site teams and emergency services. Fires can be used in many ways such as a distraction for larger attacks or to trigger an evacuation where people may be vulnerable to an attack. Attackers may also want to prevent the capabilities of emergency services arriving to a scene and their ability to prevent a successful attack.

It is important that venues have appropriate measures in place to be able to manage all risks of terrorism.

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