Editor's Note: This article was originally published July 2018 by the USAG Bavaria Antiterrorism Office
GRAFENWOEHR, Germany — With summer in full swing, many families will set off on their summer vacations. While vacationing any time of the year, remember to be vigilant.
Increased travel, mass transit and large gatherings of personnel could present attractive targets of opportunity for those who wish to do us harm.
Watch or read the news, check out the State Department’s website for the countries you are traveling to, and contact your unit’s security manager or antiterrorism officer for information about your travel locations.
With the current threat environment in Europe, it is highly advisable to have some sort of communications plan and meet-up plan in advance, and to discuss this plan with your family. If something happens and your family gets separated, they all know where to meet up and you still may be able to communicate with one another.
During a crisis, telecommunications systems in the affected area can get overwhelmed, which may prevent or delay phone calls. Messaging delivery through apps and text messaging uses a different route than cell/landline calls and would not necessarily be affected to the same degree.
It is advisable, in addition to the basic text messaging system that comes with your phone, to have the entire family download one or two of the same messaging app so that you may still be able to communicate should something happen.
If you still can’t communicate via messaging because the system is so bogged down, having those pre-designated meet-up points will get your family back together.
Though there is no known targeting of Department of Defense personnel or assets, “no known threat” does not mean there is “no threat.”
In response to the current threat environment, all personnel must remain aware, alert, and attentive to their surroundings. Remember to review basic individual protection measures and maintain situational awareness. Some individual protection measures to observe include:
- Keep a low profile; make an effort to blend into the local environment.
- Be aware of your surroundings.
- Always let someone know where you are going and when you expect to return.
- Avoid planned gatherings or demonstrations.
- Stay away from high risk areas.
- Carry a cell phone.
- Know emergency numbers.
Protecting our community and families is a top priority, and education and awareness are the two most important elements to keep us safe.
It may seem difficult, if not impossible, to prevent an attack, but knowing what to do should something occur will improve your chances of staying safe, keeping in touch and quickly reuniting with your family.
For more information on how to stay safe, contact the U.S. Army Garrison Bavaria Antiterrorism Office at DSN 526-3007/3008, CIV 09641-70-526-3007/3008.