Search
  • Crisis Shield

The Westminster Attack lasted 82 seconds, how quickly could you respond?

By James Fitzpatrick


On 22 March, 2017, London was rocked by a lone wolf attack on Westminster Bridge and Parliament Square, leaving five dead and many more injured.

From start to finish, the attack lasted only 82 seconds.

Whilst any loss of life at the hands of terrorism is tragic and often horrific, the response from London’s emergency services - and the public - has been widely published as both efficient and effective.

This is no fluke.

Only three days early, London’s emergency services ran a mass emergency simulation on the River Thames which involved over 200 officers – check out the exercise video below:


Running a realistic and practical simulation not only tests the effectiveness of your plans but it helps prepare your team. As Commander BJ Harrington, Head of the Met’s Public Order Command, said following their simulation, “most importantly, we give people who are going to have to do this tricky and difficult and dangerous stuff the opportunity to have confidence that they can do it.”

But you can’t just rely on emergency services. In most situations, it will take them much longer than 82 seconds to arrive on scene and up until they do, it will largely be your organisation’s responsibility to respond.

The response from the Houses of Parliament was likewise quick and effectual. When the alarmed was raised, a mass alert was sent to employees and visitors on site. Is your organisation equipped to do the same – and if so, have you practiced using it?

If you’re interested in running a simulation to help prepare your team or if you’d like to see a demo of a technical solution that will enable you to send mass alerts out instantly, send us a message – we specialise in both.

#crisismanagement #simulations #westminster