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Training highlights need to be prepared

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Recent active shooter incidents have compounded the need for more focus on antiterrorism policies and programs, including at the wing's recent commander's call.
Jason Painter, antiterrorism and mission assurance officer for the 21st Security Forces Squadron, led the training and highlighted the "Run, hide, fight" mantra.

"Your first instinct should be to try to get out of danger, hence run," he said. "If you can't run then hide, barricade yourself in the office, a closet or room with a door than can be locked. If you can't do any of these then you're best chance for survival may be to fight off the shooter."

The training encouraged teams and offices to discuss the different scenarios and the courses of action available in their given locations.

"There are so many scenarios, but you need to know what your options are, where your exits are, what you could use to defend yourself," said Painter. "If you wait until an incident is occurring, it may be too late."

The seriousness of the training was not lost on the audience, many of whom followed the San Bernadino and Chattanooga shootings via national news as well as the Planned Parenthood shooting right here in Colorado Springs.

"Those incidents, especially Planned Parenthood, helped many to realize this can happen here and we need to be prepared," said Staff Sgt. Darko Desancic, NCOIC, 21 SFS Antiterrorism and Mission Assurance Office. "Our main focus right now is ensuring we can communicate throughout our region so people can take the necessary precautions if there's a situation."

The Colorado Springs Regional Command Post owns and operates AtHoc, the preferred communication mechanism for the Colorado Springs Air Force installations. Members can register and update their contact information at their desk. The system can send notifications via text or voice message to a cell phone, a voice message to a land line or an email based on user preference.

"Unfortunately, as an installation we're at less than 50 percent registered," said Desancic. "It can be annoying to get notifications via your personal cell phone but in an active shooter situation it could save your life."

Guidance issued to command post in December 2015 highlighted the potential nuisance as a reason for low enrollment and has since limited weather and other routine notifications to desk top pop ups only.

"We're also working with our civilian counterparts to ensure open communication for such incidents. Regardless if an incident occurs on or off base; it's important for first responders throughout the region to be notified concurrently to ensure the appropriate community response," said Desancic.

While everyone is working hard to ensure the right processes and procedures are in place should an incident occur, this is another time where prevention is the best method.

"As wingmen, we're trained to look out for one another," said Desancic. "We need to get to know each other, to know if someone is having trouble at home, or is just overwhelmed with life. We need to look for those precursors, talk to each other and get help where needed so that arming up isn't a viable solution."

For more information on the wing's antiterrorism program, please call 556-6739/8170 or your unit AT representative.

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