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Base prepares for exercise, what Guardsmen need to know

TUCSON, Ariz. -- In preparation for an upcoming active shooter exercise on base, members of the 162nd Fighter Wing should review procedures and terminology designed to help them properly respond.

It's an unlikely possibility, but Airmen could find themselves in a situation where they have to barricade themselves in a facility or a particular room within a facility. Barricading in place is different than shelter in place due to the situation. Barricading oneself in a facility or room is done to prevent another person from gaining access to them, such as an active shooter.

An active shooter is a situation where the suspect(s) is actively discharging a firearm or similar type device at security forces, unit members and/or randomly firing into an area where it is reasonably expected that persons could be struck by the suspect(s) fire. These situations leave little or no time for proper planning and normally require first responders to take immediate action to mitigate the threat.

All facility managers and/or emergency management representatives should have a plan and/or checklist in place as part of their facilities operating guidelines in the event of an active shooter. Also, when preparing a facility plan, pay close attention to special considerations such as: taking accountability, giving tours or hosting DV visits, large facilities with numerous amounts of people such as the dining facility.

These plans should be detailed and thoroughly trained so permanently assigned occupants are fully aware of what to do in the event of an active shooter. Once the plans and checklist are created, route them through the security forces and civil engineer squadrons (emergency management) for final approval.

If you are indoors and in danger...

Evacuate, if you can do so safely. If evacuating and security forces members are present, exit the facility with your hands in the air. Also avoid getting in between the security forces members and the affected area to prevent injury in a potential crossfire. Notify anyone you encounter to leave the building immediately. Evacuate to a safe area away from the danger and take protective cover behind security forces patrols. Stay there until emergency responders provide instructions. When there is an active shooter, DO NOT activate the fire alarm to evacuate a building.

If possible, call 911 and stay on the phone and answer all dispatcher questions. Do not hang up until told to by the dispatcher unless you are in immediate danger.

All persons NOT immediately impacted by the situation should take protective cover indoors, staying away from windows and doors. Follow the guidelines listed below.

If you cannot safely evacuate the building, the following guidelines are recommended:

Barricade in place

· Go to the nearest room or office (preferably an interior room with no windows).

· Lock and barricade doors.

· If the door has no lock and the door opens inward, a heavy door wedge can be jammed between the bottom edge of the door and the floor. Otherwise look for heavy furniture to barricade the door.

· Turn off lights.

· Close blinds and stay away from windows.

· Turn off music radios and computer monitors--turn down LMR radios.

· Stay calm, quiet, out of sight and on the floor.

· Take adequate cover/protection (i.e. concrete walls, thick desks, filing cabinets). Cover may protect you from bullets.

· Silence cell phones.

· Remember, the shooter will usually not stop until they are engaged by an outside force.

· If you are trapped with or encountered by the gunmen, DO NOT draw attention to yourself with sudden body movements, statements, comments or hostile looks. Laying on the ground completely still and giving a dead appearance may be effective in the shooter bypassing you unharmed. However, take appropriate measures to defend yourself if warranted.

If you are outside

If you are outdoors and hear gunfire, immediately take a prone (laying) position, stay alert and move away from the gunfire. If possible, remain in the prone position while looking for appropriate cover locations. Brick walls, large trees, retaining walls, parked vehicles and any other object which may stop bullets should be used as cover.

When security forces arrive

When security forces arrive on scene, move toward any police vehicle when it is safe to do so while keeping your hands in the air. Do not carry anything in your hands that could be mistaken for a weapon. Do exactly and immediately what the security forces tell you to do.

NOTE: Care should be taken when security forces are engaged with the active shooter. Too many personnel moving towards a patrolman at once may be perceived as a hostile threat.

If you are still inside the building, DO NOT RUN. Drop to the floor, place your hands behind your head and remain still. Make no sudden moves that may be interpreted as hostile or threatening.

Wait for instructions and obey all commands. Do not be upset, resist, or argue if a rescuer isn't sure whether you are the shooter or a victim. Even if you are handcuffed and searched, DO NOT resist - wait for the confusion to clear. You will be taken to a safe area, where proper identification and status will be determined.