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Counter Active Shooter Tactics: Innovative training arms community with knowledge to survive

By Airman 1st Class Stormy Archer | Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph Public Affairs | Dec. 3, 2014

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas — According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the number of active shooter events is on the rise.  From the year 2000 to 2013 the U.S. has averaged 11.4 active shooter events per year, and the last seven years have shown an increase to 16.4 incidents a year. With recent attacks at Florida State University, Washington State, Isla Vista, Calif., and Fort Hood, Texas, there are no indications that the rate of active shooter events will decline.

However, members of the 902nd Security Forces Squadron are now offering comprehensive training to personnel in the Joint Base San Antonio area to further prepare and survive an active shooter event.

"We've already trained law enforcement members on how to react to an active shooter, but we haven't done much training for the rest of the community," Robert Vickers, 902nd SFS chief of plans and programs, said. "We want them to understand the psychology behind crisis actions and events, and understand how their mind and body will react to the stress and find a way to work through those stressors to come up with an action plan."

Counter Active Shooter Tactics is a two-part course with both classroom and hands-on training designed to provide members of the JBSA community with the knowledge and understanding of how to survive an active shooter event regardless of where they may be at any time.

"In addition to the current mandatory computer-based training, CAST is another method to arm you with options to survive," Maj. Julia Jefferson, 902d Security Forces Squadron commander, said.  "Those attending the class will be better prepared when faced with a real world incident.  CAST instructors will teach students to defend themselves."

CAST training helps people to think outside the box and instead of relying solely on lockdown procedures it helps people to access the situation and take advantage of opportunities to escape the violence.

Vickers also explained that lockdown is not the priority but an available option to surviving a crisis event.  He also stated that "regardless of where you are or what you are doing, be aware of primary exits as well as secondary exits like windows."

"The heaviest emphasis in this class is on avoidance," Vickers said. "Leave, escape, get away from the incident at all costs. Whether you use a door, window or break through dry wall; your primary objective is to get away. If you are unable to get away, barricade yourself to deny the shooter access to where you are, while you still search for a way to escape."

CAST training is free and available for all members of JBSA from active duty, civilians, contractors and family members. For more information about CAST, and how to enroll in the next class, call 652-5600 or 652-1357. Online methods for registering for future classes are under development and will be publicized as soon as they are available.