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What if Fort Hood-style shooting happened here?

Published: 12:53PM August 18th, 2011

One of the focus areas for the Headquarters, Department of the Army mandated Antiterrorism Awareness Month is community response to an active shooter incident.

With memories of the Nov. 5, 2009 Fort Hood shooting that left 13 dead and 29 wounded still fresh, and the news full of reports of the horrific attack in Norway which left at least 76 dead, no one should think “it won’t happen here or it won’t happen to me.”

Preparedness is crucial to surviving such an incident and Joint Base Lewis-McChord police and emergency responders constantly train to respond to such an incident.

It is incumbent on the JBLM community to recognize their role and do their part to be situationally aware, prepared, and mentally ready for such an incident to occur.

An active shooter incident is when one or more subjects participate in a shooting spree, random or systematic with intent to harm others. An active shooter on JBLM might be a current or former employee associated with the DOD (Soldier, DOD civilian employee, government contractor, or Family member). An active shooter on JBLM could also be an individual not directly associated with the DOD who gains access to JBLM.

Indicators of potential high-risk or violent behavior may include one or more of the following: increased use of alcohol or drugs; unexplained increase in absenteeism or vague physical complaints; depression or withdrawal; increased severe mood swings and noticeably unstable or emotional responses; increasingly talks about personal problems or problems at home; increase in unsolicited comments about violence, firearms, and other dangerous weapons or violent crimes.

Common event characteristics are that it is unpredictable and evolves rapidly, that victims are generally targets of opportunity, and that direct law enforcement action is usually required to end an active shooting incident.

If you find yourself in an incident with an active shooter, you should check for all possible dangers in the environment. It’s good practice to look for the two nearest exits in any facility you enter. If you’re caught in a hallway or common area, get into an office, stay there and secure the door.

How to respond


• Have an exit route and plan in mind

• Leave your belongings behind

• Keep your hands visible


• Hide in an area out of the active shooter’s view

• Lock doors and block entry to your hiding place

Take Action

• As a last resort

• Only when your life is in imminent danger

• Attempt to incapacitate the active shooter


• Call 911 (or other local emergency number) when it is safe to do so. Provide the following information to the Police or the 911 Operator:

• Location of the shooter

• Number of shooters

• Physical description of shooters

• Number and type of weapons the shooter(s) have

• Number of possible victims — Try to remain calm

When police arrive

• Obey all police instructions

• Put down any items in your hands (such as backpacks, phones, jackets)

• Raise your hands, spread your fingers, and keep hands visible to police at all times

• Avoid quick or sudden movements

• Avoid pointing, screaming, or yelling

• Do not stop to ask officers for help or direction while evacuating

To learn more

For more information, contact the JBLM Protection Division at or call 966-7319.