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12 AF (AFSOUTH) Airmen discuss keys to survival in case of active shooter

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Heather Redman
  • 12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern) Public Affairs
12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern) personnel discussed actions that should be taken in case of an active shooter here, Nov. 19.

According to Air Force Be Ready's website,, an active shooter is an individual attempting to harm or kill, 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 may use improvised explosive devices to create additional victims and to impede first responders.

Preparation for an emergency like an active duty should include, maintaining an emergency supply kit, be aware of your surroundings and any possible dangers, take note of the two nearest exits in any facility you visit, know the evacuation plan for your workplace, leave an area if you feel uncomfortable or if something does not seem right, and develop a communication plan for both family and co-workers in case you become separated.

If faced with an active shooter scenario, responding will be determined by the specific circumstances of the encounter. If you find yourself involved in an active shooter situation, remain calm, quickly determine the most reasonable way to protect your own life.

Lara Braddock, 12AF Force Protection Office, lead the discussion on how to survive in case personnel are ever in a situation with an active shooter.

"The most important thing to remember is to stay alive," she said. "Hide if possible but if you're out in the open fall to the ground and play dead. The shooter will be scanning looking for movement."

Air Force Be Ready gives some guidelines to help you survive an active shooter encounter:

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 at your location.
·Do not allow individuals to enter or exit the area during lockdown until the all clear is announced. Movement within the area (e.g. inside a facility) is permitted.
·Use phone services sparingly so they remain open for emergency responders.

Inside the Immediate Incident Area


·If an escape route is accessible, evacuate the immediate area.
·Leave your belongings behind.
·Help others evacuate, if possible.
·Evacuate even if others will not agree to follow you.
·Call 911 (or equivalent) when you are safe. Stay on the phone until the operator ends the call. Once evacuated, prevent others from entering the area.
·Follow any law enforcement instructions.
·If in view of or approaching law enforcement personnel, keep your hands visible.
·Do not attempt to move wounded individuals.

  Hide Out

·If evacuation is not possible, find a place to hide.
·Your hiding place should be where you are less likely to be found by the active shooter, provide you protection, and not restrict your options for movement.
·If possible, lock the door and/or block the door with heavy furniture. Turn off any lights.
·Remain quiet and silence any devices (e.g. a cell phone) that may give away your hiding place.
·If safe to do so, call 911 (or equivalent) to alert law enforcement. Stay on the phone until the operator ends the call.

  Take Action Against the Shooter

·As a last resort, and only when your life is in imminent danger, attempt to disrupt and/ or incapacitate the shooter.
·Personnel should use whatever means possible to overpower the subject to save further lives.
·Use the minimum force necessary to subdue the shooter, however, 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 or 911 (or equivalent)

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

When law enforcement arrives their first priority is to stop the active shooter as quickly as they can. Officers will proceed directly to the area in which the last shots were heard and will not stop to help injured persons until the shooter is neutralized.

"Do not run to the officers or yell for help," added Braddock. "Instead lay flat on the ground, keeping your hands visible and fingers spread."

After an active shooter incident remember to stay away from the incident area. Pay attention to local radio, television stations, and or the installation's warning and notification system for the latest information. Make sure you notify your friends and/or family of your condition and use phone services sparingly so they remain open for emergency responders.

Remember that security awareness is everyone's concern.

"Trust your instincts," said Braddock. "You know when something is out of place or someone is acting suspicious."

For more information on how to prepare for an emergency or disaster please visit

Editor's Note: Air Force Be Ready, contributed to this story.