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BRE evaluates active shooter preparedness
HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. -- Staff Sgt. Anthony Kerekes (right), Staff Sgt. Daniel Davis (center) and Staff Sgt. Rayann Osborne (left) enter Building 1605 during an active shooter exercise here May 15. The 66th Security Forces Squadron personnel responded to the active shooter incident as part of a Base Readiness Exercise. (U.S. Air Force photo by Mark Herlihy)
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BRE evaluates active shooter preparedness

Posted 5/15/2013   Updated 5/15/2013 Email story   Print story


5/15/2013 - HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass.  -- Base officials practiced an active shooter scenario May 15 during a monthly base readiness exercise in Building 1605. 

"While a portion of the exercise was to evaluate our first responders, we also want to make sure base personnel know how to respond to these types of situations," said Joe Lawlor, Hanscom's Exercise Evaluation Team chief.

An active shooter is an individual actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people, most often in populated areas. In most cases, active shooters use firearms and there is no pattern or method to their selection of victims. In some cases, active shooters use improvised explosive devices to create additional victims and to impede first responders.

"Another aspect of this exercise was to test our Emergency Family Assistance Center response to take care of distraught family members who may have been impacted by this event," said Lawlor.

The EFAC serves as a staging area where families obtain disaster relief, contingency information and support services.

"Representatives from the mental health, legal, chaplain and medical offices bring their knowledge and experience to assist in the event of a natural or man-made disaster," said Robyn Endo, Airman and Family Readiness Center director.

Active shooter events at military installations over the past several years have resulted in the Installation Exercise Program Office here designing an active shooter scenario into the training schedule.

Active shooter tips

Lockdown - An announcement used on Air Force installations as a security measure to confine and restrict movement. All individuals, including military uniformed services, federal employees, contractors, dependents or other people on an installation as a guest are required to restrict their movement when lockdown is declared. During lockdown, no person may enter or exit another area until the all clear is broadcasted unless movement is required to escape from a dangerous place or situation.

Actions to Consider

· Assemble an emergency supply kit in a vehicle and workplace.
· Be aware of surroundings and any possible dangers.
· Determine if the community has a warning system.
· Find the two nearest exits in any facility visiting.
· Know the evacuation plan for work centers.
· Leave an area when feeling uncomfortable or if something does not seem right.
· Develop a family communications plan and ensure all family members know how to use it if separated.

· Responding to an active shooter will determine the specific circumstances of the encounter. If involved in an active shooter situation, remain calm, quickly determine the most reasonable way to protect your own life, and use these guidelines to survive.

Outside the Immediate Incident Area

· Stay away from the incident area; there may be unknown dangers at or near the scene.
· Listen to local radio, television stations, and/or the installation's warning and notification system for the latest information.
· If announced, execute lockdown procedures.
· If outdoors, try to make it inside a facility before the building is locked down, or go to your vehicle to get out of the affected area.
· Do not allow individuals to enter or exit the area during lockdown until the all clear is announced.
· Only use phone services for emergency communication, the phone system must remain open for 911 calls.

Inside the Immediate Incident Area


· If an escape route is accessible, evacuate the immediate area.
· Leave personal belongings behind and assist others in evacuating, if possible.
· Call 911 or 781-225-5000 when safe. If dialing 911 from a cell phone, inform the operator of your location.
· Stay on the phone until the operator ends the call.
· Once evacuated, prevent non-emergency personnel from entering the area.
· If in view of or approaching law enforcement personnel, keep hands visible and follow instructions.

Hide Out

· If evacuation is not possible, go to a secure room.
· Lock the door or block the door with heavy furniture. Turn off lights.
· If unable to find a secure room, hide.
· The hiding place should be in an area that is less likely to be found by the active shooter, provide protection, and not restrict options for movement.
· Remain quiet and silence portable devices that may give hiding place away.
· If safe to do so, call 911 or 781-225-5000 when safe. If dialing 911 from a cell phone, inform the operator of your location.
· Stay on the phone until the operator ends the call.

Take Action Against the Shooter

· As a last resort, and only when life is in imminent danger, attempt to disrupt or incapacitate the shooter.
· Personnel should use whatever means possible to overpower the subject to save lives.
· Deadly force is authorized when an individual reasonably believes they or others in the area are in immediate danger of death or serious bodily harm.

Information to Provide to Law Enforcement

· Number of active shooters, if more than one.
· Location of the shooter.
· Physical description of shooter.
· Time observed the shooter.
· Number and type of weapons held by the shooter.
· Number of potential victims at the location.

When law enforcement arrives, their purpose is to stop the active shooter as soon as possible. They will proceed to the area where the last shots were heard and will not stop to help injured personnel until the shooter is neutralized. For more information on what to do once law enforcement arrives, visit the emergency management website at http://www.beready.af.mil/disasters&emergencies/activeshooter.asp.

Did You Know...
The first law enforcement officers to arrive to the scene will not stop to help injured persons. Expect rescue teams comprised of additional officers and emergency medical personnel to follow the initial officers. These rescue teams will treat and remove any injured persons. They may also call upon able-bodied individuals to assist in removing the wounded from the premises.

Information from this article was provided by the Air Force Emergency Management website.

For more information, contact Master Sgt. Chad Tearne at 781-225-5616 or visit the Air Force's disaster's preparedness website at http://www.beready.af.mil.

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