Antiterrorism awareness month
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Active shooter
2 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Officer Joseph Al-Shaed, left, with the Directorate of Emergency Services, talks about the proper response procedures during an active shooter drill after a drill July 26. Al-Shaed and his partner, Officer Roy Phoenix, train on how to respond to acti... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

The sound of the shot was muffled by the walls and door knobs rattled as the shooter tried to open every door looking for potential victims.

"Is there anyone in here?" the shooter called out hoping for someone to reply.

While some employees were unaware of the shooter, others quickly enacted their active shooter protocols by barring the doors and hiding quietly within.

In a matter of minutes it was over.

Of course, there was no active shooter -- it was an active shooter drill which took place July 26 at the Staff Judge Advocate building on Fort Jackson to test the reactions of the employees within.

In August, Fort Jackson will be holding various events to highlight the sixth annual Antiterrorism Awareness Month.

Sgt. 1st Class Taneka Harris, Fort Jackson's chief paralegal non-commissioned officer, said it is imperative to be prepared for any terrorist incident that may happen.

"I think it's very important to be prepared," she said, "especially with the incidents happening all over the world, with the shooters at different installations, shooters at different locations worldwide, I think it's very important to be prepared."

She added everyone needs to take anti-terrorism training "very seriously because it could easily happen at your location and you want to be prepared -- you want to make sure you have the appropriate training and you know the right steps to take to ensure not only your safety,

but the people around you."

"The terrorist threats faced today are as complex as they have ever been at any time in our nation's history. These threats are persistent and constantly evolving as evidenced by the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant," said Mark Mallach, the Installation Antiterrorism

Officer, in Fort Jackson's Protection Branch.

"The Army's antiterrorism program protects personnel, information, and facilities in all locations, and situations against terrorist activities. The purpose of Antiterrorism Awareness Month is to instill Army-wide heightened awareness, and vigilance to protect Army communities from acts of terrorism.

ISIL is also known as ISIS, or the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. It is called Daesh by Arab nations opposed to the group's brutal policies.

"Their priority is to treat it the same way as a fire -- get away from it," said Officer Joseph Al-Shaer, who along with his partner Officer Roy Phoenix, teach active shooter responses. "So if they can escape we would like them to escape and go to a pre-designated rally point if you have one."

In evacuating a building, "statistically you are more likely to survive," he added. "And that's even in cases where there might have been a second shooter in the attack."

Preparation is the best way Fort Jackson can protect itself.

It's really simple," Mallach said. "First, remain situationally aware of your surroundings at all times, no matter whether you are at work or at a venue on post. Secondly, report any suspicious person(s) or activity immediately by calling the Fort Jackson MP desk or the 911 Center. They can be reached at 803-751-3113/3114/3115 or 911.

"Time is a critical factor for responding to and investigating these reports, so it is vital that you report the activity as soon as possible! Everyone is a sensor, and this is what strengthens our

security across the installation."

Situational awareness is key because something like a gunshot may sound differently inside a building.

"It is a common occurrence when people hear rounds going off they start thinking, 'wow that sounded kind of muffled, what was that? Was that a door slamming?'" Mallach explained during the

drill's After Action Review. "Your mind starts rationalizing away, when your sixth sense has already said something is not right here."

People should listen to their gut feelings because if something doesn't seem right or sound right it might not be.

Throughout August the Protection Division will be educating the Fort Jackson community at several events. Plans include providing active-shooter training classes, and support for several active shooter drills at different agencies throughout the month.

The Protection Division "will be setting up information tables, on a weekly basis, at high population areas around the installation, such as the PX, Commissary, MACH, and 81st (Regional Support

Command)," Mallach said.

Anti-terrorism themed stories will also appear in the Leader as well as videos and graphics on Fort Jackson's social media outlets.

Related Documents:

Antiterrorism proclamation [PDF]