What the US Air Force says to do during active shooter situations

Active shooter situations have occurred at schools, concert venues, businesses and on military installations in the past few years.

The U.S. Air Force prepares for active shooter scenarios with annual exercises and protocols. The Air Force defines an active shooter as an individual actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in populated areas, according to  Air Force Be Ready. In most cases, active shooters use firearms and there is no method to their selection of victims.


What is a lockdown?

On Air Force installations, a lockdown announcement is made as a security measure to confine or restrict movement, according to the Air Force. All individuals on base, including military, federal employees, contractors, dependents or other people on an installation are required to adhere to a lockdown when it is declared.

No person may enter or exit an area on base until an “all-clear” is broadcasted, according to the Air Force.

How does the Air Force recommend people prepare for an active shooter?

The Air Force recommends:

- Assembling an emergency supply kit for a vehicle or workplace environment

- Be aware of possible dangers

- Know the evacuation plan for your workplace

- Leave an area if something doesn’t seem right

- Develop a family communications plan


What happens when law enforcement arrives?

According to Air Force Be Ready, the first law enforcement to arrive on scene will not stop to help injured people. Rescue teams of additional officers and emergency personnel will often follow after initial officers. People should stay away from the incident area and leave belongings behind when evacuated, according to the Air Force.

Wright-Patterson 911 Caller: ‘Help! Help!…active shooter’

What should bystanders do when law enforcement arrives? 

Place any items in your hands on the ground, and immediately raise your hands and spread your fingers, according to Air Force Be Ready. Keep hands visible at all times, and avoid pointing or screaming. Move quickly to an assembly point.

Read about how active shooter false alarms have happened at other bases. 

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