Active shooter: What do you do?

USAF: Airman 1st Class Xavier Lockley From left, U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Joshua Rutherford and Staff Sgt. Michael Garcia both with the 27th Special Operations Security Forces Squadron, Alpha Flight, subdue a mock gunman during a simulated active shooter scenario Nov. 17 at Cannon Air Force Base. During an active shooter situation, when law enforcement enters, do not make any quick moves that might lead them to believe you are the suspect. Stay calm, keep your hands in the air, and follow their instructions.

By 27th Special Operations Security Forces Squadron

Security forces will move quickly, but the actions you take may save your life and the lives of others around you.

In the event of an active shooter situation, the base will sound the alarm via the Giant Voice with “Lockdown, Lockdown, Lockdown, Active Shooter. Last known threat area is ___” and pop-up alert messages on your government computer. Your actions are to:

• Get in a secure room or area as quickly; lock the door behind you if possible

• Don’t gather belongings and don’t stop to help injured people … you might be next

• Communicate the situation to others as you move

• Stay away from doors and windows

• Barricade doors with whatever is available

• Call security forces only if you have pertinent information; limit other phone calls so systems don’t crash (happens in almost every tragedy)

• Do not respond to fire alarms unless you feel, see, or smell a fire

• If the opportunity presents itself (gunman is reloading, not looking, etc), use force to overpower the subject, but do not seek the gunman out

• If you are in a secure location, do not move around; wait until mass notification or security forces announce all clear

When security forces enter the building, do not make any quick moves that might lead them to believe you are the suspect. Stay calm, keep your hands in the air, and follow their instructions. Provide them with any information you have that may help them locate the shooter.

Once the situation is terminated, announcements will be made via the Giant Voice, pop-up alerts, and word of mouth. At that time ensure accountability is taken, look for anyone injured, and check for anything that might cause harm to personnel. Remember, the shooter may have placed explosive devices around the area. Immediately notify security forces if anything is found.

There have been many lessons learned from previous active shooter situations such as:

• Telephone and cell phone lines can quickly become overloaded, hindering law enforcement and medical response

• People shelter in places that cannot be locked down

• People calling or texting the situation to media outlets which further complicate the situation for security forces and base agencies

• However the most important lesson learned is that preparing now will save lives if it happens

For those with access, active shooter computer-based training is available, specifically, in the Anti-terrorism/Force Protection training module. For your own safety you may want to review these procedures. Also, notify your dependents of actions to take should an active shooter situation arise, so they are prepared. Too many times people not only don’t know what to do, they are also complacent.

At another base there was an armed subject going through a dormitory with a loaded shotgun, intent on inflicting harm. Dorm residents did not take it seriously, did not call it in, did not cooperate with security forces, and could have caused a catastrophic situation because they thought it was “just an exercise”. Never treat an incident as an exercise unless you have been told by an authorized person that it is an exercise! Your lack of action may result in harm to yourself or others.

Active shooter situations can happen anywhere at any time, so knowing how to react to the threat is critical.