Suspicious package product of complacency

Master Sgt. Richard Waters

The recent terror attacks against our British brethren in the war against terrorism are a stark and unfortunate reminder that modern terrorists have the ability and fortitude to strike anywhere, at anytime.
Everyone, regardless of whether they are military or civilian, can be a target or a sensor in the war on terror.
Have you developed the attitude of “it can’t happen here at Cannon?”
Let me discuss one small portion of complacency which can have serious repercussions.
We recently experienced several incidents in which complacency led to items being left unattended. This, in turn, caused great inconvenience to the base populace and the full employment of first responders which further degraded emergency response capabilities.
Kudos to the vigilant members of Cannon Air Force Base who discovered these packages, but these situations could have been avoided.
Response to unattended packages causes mission degradation and decreases our force protection posture. Repeated false alarms can lead to responders losing their edge.
The fire department’s capacity to respond to an injured child, aircraft emergency or burning building will be diminished, since their forces are divided to handle an incident caused by carelessness.
The same holds true for the medical community, explosive ordnance technicians, office of special investigations, security forces and local law enforcement.
Even bio-environmental and civil engineer readiness are recalled if there is suspicion a package contains a biohazard, again taking away from their mission and their ability to train our forces for the mission.
This is just the beginning of the inconvenience and degradation of safety and security caused by carelessness.
Local roads in the area of the package will be blocked, causing traffic to congest and preventing people from getting where they need to go.
Emergency vehicles will respond with lights and sirens, increasing the likelihood of damage to property or injury to others on the road. People will be evacuated from surrounding facilities, disrupting the mission, businesses and people’s lives.
Fear and anxiety could spread, not only through the persons in the effected area, but through the first responders who are placing their life on the line regarding a package they have to suspect may contain explosives or a biohazard.
Pay attention to your surroundings and be cognizant that your actions or lack of attention can have a profound effect on Cannon’s warfighting capabilities.
If you notice a suspicious package, call the 27th Security Forces Squadron law enforcement desk at 784-4111.