An officer from the Singapore Police Force speaking to participants during the security training talk on Nov 24. Photo: VITA Images

If you see someone loitering around suspiciously in your church, work or home premises, you should call the police at 999 to report the incident.

In an event of a terrorist attack, you should run, or hide and tell. Run when it is safe to do so, move quickly and quietly and stay out of view of the attackers. Hide if you cannot run. Find cover and stay out of sight. Stay quiet and switch your phone to silent mode.

These were some of the points highlighted during a security training talk held for Church staff and parishioners in Singapore on Nov 24. The talk was held at the Fr JM Beurel Centre (Annex) of the Cathedral of the Good Shepherd.

It was organised by the Archdiocese Emergency Response Operations Team.

In light of the terror attacks around the world and some close to home, the aim of the talk was to alert Church workers and parishioners of the possible threats they face as well as how to guard against them.

Officers from the Singapore Police Force (SPF) and the Centre for Protective Security Studies of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) conducted the training.

Participants were told that if they managed to run to a safe location or found a secure hiding spot, they should give their location and information about the attackers to the police by messaging 71999 or calling 999.

They were also introduced to the SGSecure mobile app which can broadcast important alerts during major emergencies.

The mobile app can also be used to alert the police of any incidents or to request for help.

Launched on Sept 24, the app is one of the initiatives of the SGSecure national movement aimed at getting people to stay united in the face of terror threats.

Some of its functions include a “Report” tab where users can provide information about suspicious incidents or objects; an “Alerts” tab where updates and news flashes about emergencies can be received and a “Get Ready” tab which has tips on what to do in the event of an attack.

Participants were briefed on how to look out for suspicious people or activity. These include scrutinising:

Person’s appearance:
• People who actively try to conceal their identity, objects on their body or their purpose of visit.
• Anyone loitering around for an extended period of time.
• Any bodily cues of anxiety such as profuse sweating.

Belongings:
• Any item left unattended in public areas or abandoned in unusual ways.
• Parcels or mails that require an excessive usage of adhesive tape.

Cars:
• Look out for any vehicle being driven around an area repeatedly.
• Any vehicle abandoned abruptly by drivers next to buildings.
• Vehicles which show signs of having been tampered with.

Parishes were also given pointers on what they need to put in place to be prepared for emergencies:

For parishes:
• Prepare a detailed evacuation plan in case of a fire eg. exit plans, rally points, Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) notification protocol etc.
• Set up mass Whatsapp emergency response channels.
• Form “Parish Emergency Response” (PER) teams for each Mass. Members can be drawn from the regular Mass ministries such as lectors, altar servers and wardens.
• Assign roles for each PER team and individuals. Encourage teamwork and play to the strengths of the ministries. Stock up on useful items such as first aid kits, lighting tools, gloves and firefighting equipment.

Regular training will be conducted for parishes based on the districts they are located in. 

By Jared Ng
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