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Preparedness for an active shooter situation

ELLSWORTH AIR FORCE BASE, S.D. -- Being in the military, we are all familiar with training to prepare and respond to all types of scenarios, especially life and death situations.


An active shooter situation is exactly one such circumstance that is important to exercise to know what actions should be taken to prevent injury, and even death, to oneself and those around you.


When reacting to an active shooter situation in your immediate vicinity, the first thing you should do is run, then hide, and as a last resort, fight.


If in a work center or a building, follow procedures announced by staff members. The immediate response is to perform lockdown procedures. Secure the area by locking the doors, shut off lights, silence cell phones, and stay away from windows. 


If in a vehicle, park in a safe location, such as a parking lot, turn off the vehicle, and hide in the vehicle.  


Notifications procedures on Ellsworth will be transmitted by the Giant Voice Speaker System and the AtHoc Mass Notification System. Applicable action words are “lockdown,” “stay put,” and “all clear.” Knowing the difference between all three keeps people safe, allows response personnel to secure facilities, and provides clear expectations of what to do.


Lockdown is defined as personnel, other than emergency services personnel, not being authorized to enter and/or exit the installation. Additionally, all personnel within a facility will remain inside and secure the facility as quickly as possible. Lockdown remains in effect until “all clear” is announced.


Stay put is defined as personnel not leaving buildings and or rooms they are currently occupying until “all clear” is announced.


All clear is defined as the threat being neutralized and all personnel being authorized to exit buildings and or rooms and return to normal operations. 


Also, one should have a recall roster on their person to support quick and effective accountability.  In an active shooter situation, communication is key.


Knowing and being aware of these response procedures will put oneself in a better position to safely survive an active shooter situation.

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