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By Senior Airman Alex Sheridan, Hill AFB Readiness & Emergency Management Flight
/ Published April 19, 2019
(U.S. Air Force graphic by David Perry)
-- Knowing the difference between shelter-in-place (SIP) and lockdown could save your life. Most military personnel know the difference, but what if you’re a civilian who lives or works on a military installation? Have you been educated on the differences between SIP and lockdown?
The SIP program enables personnel to protect themselves from airborne hazardous materials during a chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear (CBRN) incident. When the installation commander advises SIP, personnel will go to the designated SIP rooms in each building to initiate SIP procedures.
The first person to arrive in the SIP room will grab the SIP checklist from the SIP kit and start reading it out loud. One person should go turn off the HVAC systems. Another person should go lock the doors leading to the outside and put up SIP in-progress signs so that personnel trying to enter or leave won’t open the doors. Once those individuals return to the SIP room, everyone but the one reading the checklist should be grabbing the pre-cut plastic and taping it to the doors and windows. Vents shouldn’t be covered unless the HVAC system won’t turn off. After the doors and windows are sealed off, personnel will take accountability to make sure they know where everyone is located. Once accountability occurs, personnel will wait in the SIP room until SIP is lifted. Once SIP is lifted, personnel will pull down the plastic, turn the HVAC systems back on, and open all windows and doors to air out the facility.
Now that you’re aware of SIP procedures, you may be wondering what the procedures are for lockdown. In the event of an active shooter incident, the installation ‘Giant Voice’ will announce three times, “LOCKDOWN, LOCKDOWN, LOCKDOWN, the last known threat area is (affected area).” The installation mass communication system will be used to alert personnel of an active shooter incident. The sound of gunfire may be the only notification you receive … if you hear it, ACT.
The three most important things to remember are: run, hide, and fight (if necessary).
Personnel outside the immediate area where the shooter is located will:
Actions personnel should take when encountering Security Forces or other law enforcement personnel:
Security Forces’ purpose is to neutralize the shooter as soon as possible. Responding
Security Forces members will proceed directly to the area where the shots were heard.
SIP involves temporarily sheltering from airborne CBRN hazards as opposed to lockdown, which involves running, hiding, or fighting during an active shooter incident.