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 wont happen here or it wont 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. Its good practice to look for the two nearest exits in any facility you enter. If youre 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 shooters view
Lock doors and block entry to your hiding place
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 JBLMIMCOMDESfusioncell@conus.army.mil or call 966-7319.