'Throw hot coffee and chairs at terrorists': Ex-SAS man gives survival tips for public caught up in attacks

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A former SAS veteran has advised members of the public to use hot coffee and chairs to fight back against knife-wielding terrorists, in a new book on survival techniques. 

John Geddes spent 10 years in the Parachute Regiment and 13 years in the SAS, seeing action in Northern Ireland, the Falklands, Colombia, Kosovo and Bosnia. Since leaving the Army in 1997 he has worked as a private security consultant in Iraq and written two books about his experiences. 

His latest book is Be a Hero: The Essential Survival Guide to Active- Shooter Events. Geddes, who co-authored the book with Alun Rees, writes: “The most effective way to defend yourself against a knife is to pick up a chair to keep him at bay. 

“If three or four people do the same it is the knifeman who then has a problem. Throw hot coffee at him, hurl glasses and bottles, shout out ‘Get him!’ and start the attack. After Borough Market there were eyewitness accounts telling of the courage of a hero who took on the knifemen by throwing bottles. 

SAS veteran John Geddes.

“If only the witnesses had been throwing things too there would have been a swarm attacking the terrorists. Perhaps the best weapon of all is a fire extinguisher. From 10ft they are highly effective in first blinding an attacker before smashing him with the empty canister.” 

After the London Bridge and Borough Market atrocity on June 3, in which eight people were killed, the Met police issued new advice to “run, hide, tell” in the event of such an attack.

The force said the public should not attempt to surrender or negotiate with terrorists. There was no guidance on fighting back, but Met Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley said he would “never criticise” anyone who did so. 

Mr Geddes, 60, also advises Londoners to “get out of the digital bubble”  and have “situational awareness” of their surroundings.  

The former soldier called for a government “Stop the Bleed” campaign to teach the public how to apply tourniquets. He said: “Tobias Ellwood MP was courageously trying to stop Pc Keith Palmer bleeding out after the outrage at Parliament. It is a vital first step and after bleeding is controlled then the other first aid efforts can follow. 

“The technique of tourniquet went out of fashion with the medical profession for several years and they stopped advocating it. But military experience in Afghanistan has shown just how effective it can be and so it has been reinstated as a first aid response, particularly in the United States.”

Be a Hero (Skyhorse Publishing) is available in the UK on Amazon.

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