Survival checklist: Are you ready?

EIELSON AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska -- Are you prepared to protect yourself or your family from an active shooter? An active shooter is defined as "... an armed person who uses deadly physical force on other persons and continues to do so while having unrestricted access to additional victims."

"Active shooter" incidents are more common place in today's society. Community size, geographical location, or affluence is not a discriminator. Do not assume that only terrorist's carry out active shooting sprees; the vast majority of these crimes are carried out by ordinary citizens who are not linked to a terrorist organization.

Most shooting incidents are tied to domestic violence, workplace arguments, school massacres, religious, political, or hate crimes that have no association with terrorist operatives. The victim may not be the specific target but has become a target of opportunity, as evidenced by the recent shooting of two Airmen at an airport in Germany. These incidents are no longer limited to civilian locations, but can occur on military installations as well.

The quote "Knowledge is Power" can be applied to one's own preparedness to protect their life from today's active shooter threat. Knowing the active shooter LOCKDOWN procedures will prepare an individual to better protect their life and increase personal survival.

Knowing what to do may literally be the difference between life and death for someone caught in weapon range of a mobile shooter. "Lockdown, Lockdown, Lockdown," when heard on Eielson, should cause every individual to perform their own survival checklist.

1. Do you hear shots being fired or is there a location of the shooter given with the Lockdown information.
2. If you hear shots or it is in the immediate area then escape if able and take everyone with you.
3. If escape is not an option, find a place to hide.
4. Silence Cell phones and call 911, turn off lights, lock doors, and pull shades.
5. Wait for the all clear.
6. If there is a fire alarm do not react unless fire is confirmed by smoke or heat.
7. When Security forces show up, comply with their instructions, remain calm, and raise your empty hands with fingers spread.

The Columbine School shooting in Colorado drove public schools to develop active shooter response plans to protect students. The Fort Hood shooting brought the reality to the military community that it too must develop procedures to protect their personnel.
Eielson members should review active shooter LOCKDOWN procedures, preplan what actions to take in the work place, schools, commercial businesses, or at public events. Discuss these procedures with family members to ensure all are prepared to better protect themselves.