Evy Poumpouras is a former Secret Service Agent
Evy Poumpouras was on the ninth ground at New York’s World Trade Center when the primary aircraft hijacked by terrorists hit the neighbouring tower on September 11, 2001. By the time she reached the road it was armageddon. “Car-sized chunks of burning metal rained down from above,” she says. “It was raining people.”
A Secret Service agent honed to guard presidents, she admits: “This was like nothing we ever trained for.”
But Evy did not run.
She stayed to assist a whole bunch escape to security.
As the 110-storey tower collapsed, she sprinted for a close-by concrete wall, grabbed a metallic café patio desk as she handed, and hid beneath her makeshift shelter.
“I thought I was going to die,” she says.
Barack Obama at Buckingham Palace
“It was like sitting in the centre of a volcano during an eruption.”
Miraculously she emerged from the rubble and dirt alive, and went again to work serving to survivors. “Being willing to help others is the antidote to fear,” says Evy, aged 43.
“And that is the first step toward becoming bulletproof.”
That’s additionally the title of her new e book, Becoming Bulletproof – half memoir, half information on defending your security and household, turning into a human lie detector, and influencing individuals.
“Survival is about mastering yourself and your fear response, being able to think and act while keeping your panic at bay,” she says.
President George W Bush and President Bill Clinton greeting crowds
Don’t underestimate Evy as a result of she’s a slender 5ft 2in, 7st, 2lb, with blue eyes, broad cheekbones and cascading lengthy blonde hair.
She was awarded the Secret Service’s highest honour for valour – solely the fifth lady ever to obtain it – for her 9/11 rescue efforts.
She’s interrogated Middle Eastern terrorists, posed undercover as a intercourse trafficking sufferer, speaks Arabic, French, Italian, Spanish and Greek, and has protected 4 US presidents.
Evy was beside President Barack Obama on visits to Buckingham Palace and 10 Downing Street – “British security is the best, first-rate” – protected Prime Minister Tony Blair on the United Nations in New York, and says: “I was ready to take a bullet for any of them.”
President George Bush all the time made it his enterprise to indicate his gratitude for others
When a Chinese common – “a big guy, a really big guy” – tried to pressure his means uninvited right into a G20 summit assembly in Mexico between President Obama and Chinese president Hu Jintao, she grabbed him by the lapels and threw him again.
“He may have walked over, but I was going to make sure he’d be limping back,” she says.
You do not need to be educated in martial arts or constructed like a brick outhouse to guard your self if attacked, says Evy.
“You solely must distract or injure an attacker lengthy sufficient to flee. A violent strike to the groin. A swift kick to the shin. A tough punch to the throat. Or jamming a finger within the eye. Swift, violent, and fierce, utilizing elbows and knees the place attainable.
Evy interrogated Middle Eastern terrorists and posed undercover as a intercourse trafficking sufferer
“Scratch and poke and claw, as a result of they may present you no mercy.”
But the presidents she protected did not all the time make it straightforward.
“Bill Clinton cherished individuals,” she says. “Exiting a New York resort by means of the kitchen, I hid 15 staff in a closet as a result of I knew if he noticed them, he’d cease and discuss. I attempted to cowl the small window, however he noticed them, and talked to everybody.”
A infamous womaniser, it is exhausting to think about that President Clinton did not make a go at Evy.
“No remark,” she says. “George W Bush’s favorite pastime on his Texas ranch was attempting to outpace his Secret Service element throughout his ‘leisurely’ path rides across the property. He was quick, and brokers usually fell behind.”
President George W Bush and Mrs Bush
Evy protected President Bush amid hostile crowds visiting Egypt, and former First Lady Hillary Clinton in a New York homosexual rights parade surrounded by hundreds of unvetted strangers.
But the presidents is also unexpectedly humble.
“George Bush all the time made it his enterprise to indicate his gratitude for others – those most individuals are inclined to ignore,” says Evy.
“On a luxurious yacht in Greece throughout the 2004 Olympics he spoke to the crewmen and ready employees, the bosun and bartenders.
“Barack Obama taught me magnanimity, and tremendous self-control. He’d meet with his fiercest critics and show them the same courtesy he extended to all.”
Becoming bulletproof begins by avoiding hassle within the first place.
“Be aware of your surroundings,” Evy says. “When you enter a restaurant, take five seconds to spot two exits, and sit facing the crowd. In a cinema choose a seat by the aisle, near an exit farthest from the crowd. Map an escape route, and identify cover in case all hell breaks loose. If you take a lift regularly in a building, check that its emergency phone is working. Know the stairwells and rooftop.”
You start to marvel how a lot enjoyable she should be on an evening out along with her husband, additionally in authorities safety.
“Look around to see what is nearby that you could use as a weapon. Silverware on a table, a hot cup of coffee, a chair, a pint glass of beer. Anything you can throw, smash, or stab with.”
Life with Evy sounds exhausting, if not barely paranoid.
When you go someplace new determine the closest hospital, police and hearth station, and rehearse escape routes, she advises.
Ay residence maintain doorways locked, lights on and curtains closed, with a go-bag of money, bank card, flashlight and a knife.
And do not current your self as a sufferer.
“Self-awareness is equally essential. Predators goal the weak, so stroll with confidence, shoulders again and chin up. If you appear like you will struggle again, an attacker may select one other goal.
“Listen to your instincts. If one thing does not really feel proper, hearken to that feeling.”
Overcoming your weaknesses is empowering, she insists.
When advised she wasn’t powerful sufficient to be a Secret Service agent, Evy educated relentlessly.
She hates the chilly, so hardens herself by taking chilly showers.
She runs as a result of she hates working.
At jujitsu she all the time picks the largest sparring companions.
Leaving the Secret Service, Evy is now a TV pundit, teaches criminology at college, and stars on US actuality TV sequence Spy Games.
“Heroism is not about being the largest or strongest,” she says. “It’s about what’s in your coronary heart, and thoughts, and spirit. You are the hero you’ve got been ready for.”
• Becoming Bulletproof: Life Lessons From A Secret Service Agent by Evy Poumpouras (Icon Books, £14.99) is out now. For free UK supply, name Express Bookshop on 01872 562310 or order through expressbookshop.co. uk. Delivery could soak up extra of 28 days.