What is your plan if you hear gunshots in your work space? Run? Hide? Fight? Unfortunately, there are events that have occurred which remind us to keep active shooter preparedness at the forefront of our mind at all times. According to media coverage of the Navy Yard shooting, the gunman in September 2013 was a contractor with access to the Navy Yard making him an insider threat to the men and women working at the Navy Yard. According to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), on average, active shooter situations are often over within 10 to 15 minutes. Before law enforcement arrives on the scene, individuals must be prepared both mentally and physically to deal with an active shooter situation. These situations are unpredictable and evolve quickly, so it is imperative to know your plan ahead of time. During a crisis is not the time to start thinking about your plan. It is also important to exercise your plan periodically to maintain proficiency.
This past week as well as next week (04-15 Feb), all U.S. Navy CONUS installations participated in the annual exercise SOLID CURTAIN-CITADEL SHIELD (SC-CS). This exercise is a Force Protection exercise conducted by Commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Command (USFF) and Commander, Navy Installations Command (CNIC) on all CONUS Navy installations in order to train installation first responder units such as our Security Detachment and Federal Fire and Emergency Services.
SC-CS uses realistic scenarios to ensure U.S. Navy security forces maintain a high level of readiness to respond to changing and dynamic threats. Scenarios can include exercising different threat conditions, which can lead to some traffic delays. Installation personnel and community members may have experienced minor traffic back-ups during this time; however, this is unavoidable if we want to ensure the installation is prepared to deal with a crisis.
The time to develop a plan is now:
-Identify multiple evacuation routes, and know your assembly areas.
-Account for any special need requirements.
-Maintain an accurate personnel roster.
-Designate hiding rooms / locations, and develop a barricade plan.
-Consider developing alternate communication signals / codes; however, this is not effective against an insider threat like the Navy Yard shooter.
-Locate at least two exits when visiting other offices / buildings.
Responding to an Active Shooter Situation: The action you choose is contingent upon the situation near you.
RUN if safe to do so.
HIDE if you are in an office.
-Lock and barricade the door.
-Cover the windows, turn off the lights.
-Silence electronic devices.
-Remain silent and stay in place.
-Prepare to fight and look for something to use as a weapon.
TAKE COVER if you are outside.
-Put something between you and the shooter.
-If near a vehicle, hide near the vehicle’s engine if possible.
FIGHT if you are in imminent danger.
-Negotiation is not an option.
-Disrupt or disable the attacker by any means available.
-Be aggressive, incapacitate the attacker.
CALL 911 as soon as possible and provide the following information:
-Location of shooter(s).
-Number of shooter(s).
-Physical description of the shooter(s).
-Number / type of weapons.
-Use or threat of explosives / improvised explosive devices (IEDs).
-Whether or not they are still shooting.
Do not pull or respond to a fire alarm (unless an official announcement is made).
Be prepared. An Active Shooter situation is fast moving, and law enforcement may not be on scene right away. It is important to remain calm and let your training take over. Know when to run, hide and fight!
I personally want to thank everyone who is being supportive of these vital exercises. You may think that it’s only the first responders participating and being evaluated. That couldn’t be further from the truth. While most of you are not actively participating, each and every single one of you is involved. Your state of mind when held up at any of our gates matters. During and after exercises know that we need to have you onboard with the actions taking place – regardless if they are or aren’t permissible to you. We need your trust and support by knowing that no matter how inconvenient something may result for you, that our processes are factoring in many variables. Sometimes – in order to ensure the potential preservation of life and wellbeing for all – we may do things that may seem obtrusive to your schedules. It is not our intent to inconvenience you, on the contrary, it’s our mission to serve and protect you.
Protecting our Navy installations is extremely important. Safeguarding our Navy personnel, families, veterans, retirees, installation visitors and equipment at home is the first step in mission accomplishment. Every step we take with regards to the security of our installation is the very foundation upon which we all appreciate and enjoy a safe and secure environment. The ability to safeguard our Navy installations allows us to keep our homeland safe.