Active shooter response training
Fort Jackson, S.C., conducts regular active shooter exercises for law enforcement, above, as well as training for individual offices on post.

FORT JACKSON, S.C. (April 10, 2014) -- A Soldier shot and killed three people at Fort Hood, Texas, on April 2, injuring 16 others before taking his own life.

Here at Fort Jackson, though, casual observers probably did not notice any changes in security in the hours following the incident.

"There was a decision made not to increase security until we found out more about the developing situation," said Mark Mallach, Fort Jackson anti-terrorism officer. "When we do that, we have to basically take much-needed manpower and resources (from regular operations.) The bottom line is that we increased vigilance at the gates."

Until the following day, this led to more activity at the gates, as guards conducted additional random vehicle searches.

"All of our law enforcement responders receive active shooter response training," Mallach said. "This covers what they need to do in case there's an active shooter in the vicinity, and how they would respond to that threat and neutralize it."

There was little else to be done, he said, because it appeared there was no direct connection to Fort Jackson.

"Social media took care of the rest, because everybody was on Twitter, Facebook and watching TV," he said.

In 2009, Fort Hood was the site of a similar shooting when Maj. Nidal Hasan killed 13 people and injured others. Shortly afterward, Mallach said, new safety programs were adopted on post. Those programs remain available to every office on post, by request, as a means of training Fort Jackson's workforce on how to conduct itself during an active shooter scenario.

"That program centers around training folks, plans and exercises or drills," Mallach said. "We go out to (people's) facility and access it: What are their procedures for entering and exiting the building, or identifying safe rooms? Are there guards?"

Organizations are encouraged to develop plans for dealing with these kinds of emergency situations, he said. This involves teaching standard tactics, training and procedures, which are then customized for the needs of a specific office.

"Once you've done that and have everybody trained, you run a drill," he said. "It's not any more complicated than running a fire drill. In many ways, it's actually a little easier. Whenever you have an active shooter, unless you have a clear-cut way to leave the facility, the opportune thing is to find a safe area and shelter in place."

Drills can either be scheduled, or unannounced, he said.

"The key is to train, and then execute the drills to verify your plans," Mallach said. "The bottom line is that we don't want it to happen on our watch. As long as I'm here at Fort Jackson, I don't want to lose a single person to any threat."

HOW TO RESPOND

1: EVACUATE
-- Evacuate if shooter is at your location
-- Have an escape route and plan in mind
-- Do not stop to render aid to victims
-- Escape in direction away from shooter
-- Leave your belongings

2: HIDE
-- Hide in area out of shooter's view
-- Lock exterior and interior doors
-- Stay low to ground
-- lock entry to hiding place with heavy furniture or equipment

3: TAKE ACTION
-- Use as last resort and only when your life is in imminent danger
-- Act with physical aggression and throw items at active shooter
-- Attempt to incapacitate active shooter

4: WHEN POLICE ARRIVE
-- Immediately raise hands and spread fingers
-- Keep hands visible at all times
-- Avoid making quick movements toward police
-- Remain calm and follow instructions
-- Avoid screaming or yelling
-- Do not ask police for help and proceed in the direction they are entering if told to leave

5: REPORT TO 911
-- Location of active shooter
-- Number of shooters
-- Physical description of shooter
-- Number of potential victims
-- Number and type of weapons being used

Page last updated Fri April 11th, 2014 at 00:00