Active Shooter Incident Response Preparation
By Todd Moomaw, 132 FW
/ Published November 04, 2012
Des Moines, Iowa -- According to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) an active shooter is "an individual actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a confined and populated area, typically through the use of firearms."
Active shooters may have detailed plans of attack, lists of targets and might be prepared for a sustained confrontation with law enforcement. The length of a mass shooting incident depends on; response times, number of shooters on site, level of aggression and the types of weapons involved. These incidents can be fast paced and may be over in about 4 minutes. The active shooter's intent is to engage multiple targets, killing as many people as possible in the shortest time. Escape and survival are usually not the shooter' s objectives.
A rapid, safe and successful response to a mass violence incident requires preparation. No jurisdiction is immune from these types of incidents. Today's criminals and terrorists appear to be more violent, determined and heavily armed than ever before. Responders are faced with not only the possibility of large numbers of victims during these incidents, but also the serious threat of harm and death to response personnel. First responders from all levels and jurisdictions must work together to deter mass violence incidents from occurring and to safely respond if an attack occurs.
An active shooter incident will be made known base wide by the giant voice, with the words, "Lockdown, Lockdown, Lockdown" Active shooter in building ______________ or the shooters last know location. Once you hear this announcement you must act quickly. The first order of business is to SURVIVE: This means seek cover/concealment immediately. Barricade yourself in your office or other safe location and remain there until the all clear has been sounded by authorities. If you are outside then seek cover/concealment behind objects capable of stopping a bullet. Only evacuate the area/building when directed to do so by law enforcement or as last resort if you have no other options.
Help Security Forces/Law Enforcement to have a positive outcome with this information;
-Everyone is treated as a threat until all clear is sounded from law enforcement. You might initially be handcuffed or asked to keep your hands visible.
-Follow all directives from law enforcement.
-Don't tie up communication by calling and asking for updates, but do call 911 or Base Defense Operations Center (B.D.O.C.) if you have pertinent information to report. Pertinent information would include hearing shots near you location, or seeing the shooter in your area before taking cover.
-Do not 'self-dispatch' only trained responders who have been dispatched should respond to the incident. Extra people on scene could lead to confusion.
-Do not use social media or make calls or texts until information has been sent through official channels.
All Security Forces and most law enforcement responders have had formalized Active Shooter training, not just special weapons and tactics (S.W.A.T.) The more public safety agencies prepare, the greater the chance they will be able to effectively manage any type of situation that might arise. If and when a mass violence incident occurs, training and education can lessen the impact with a safe and effective response.