August has been designated by the Department of the Army as Antiterrorism Awareness Month. In the spirit of the month, Stuttgart military community members are encouraged to take the time to learn how to deal with potentially dangerous situations.
Everyone should know how to report suspicious activity and how to react to an active shooter.
Community members should report all suspicious — not necessarily criminal — activity to the Military Police using iWatch, a neighborhood watch program in which Defense Department personnel and their dependants report suspicious activity, on or off post, by calling the Military Police. In the Stuttgart military community, the number is DSN 114/ civ. 0711-680-114.
Suspicious activity is an activity by a person or group of people that focuses intently on DOD personnel, installations or equipment without breaking any laws. Examples include photographing and filming DOD installations, asking questions about activities and the composition of personnel on post, or taking part in anti-American events off post.
If a vehicle is involved, it is important to record the complete license plate and contact the Military Police as soon as possible to make a report.
In the event of an active shooter, there are three ways to react: evacuate, hide out and take action.
Those in the immediate vicinity of an active shooter should first evacuate the outdoor area or building that the active shooter is in and get as far away as possible.
If a police officer is in the area during the evacuation, those fleeing should not grab the officer. Instead, they can help by pointing in the direction of the active shooter and continuing to move in the direction that the police officer came from.
Observers who know the number of shooters and types of weapons should tell the officer.
Those who are outside when the shooting starts should hide out by moving to a secured building with lockable doors and few windows. If the room has windows, they can draw the curtains to deflect attention.
Those who are in the same building as the shooter should hide out in a room with no windows or glass doors and lock the door. Then, they should find something to fight with, find cover and turn off the lights.
When people take cover indoors, they should ensure that no noise or light is inside the room that could draw attention to them. All electronic devices, such as televisions and radios, should be turned off. Then, someone should report the incident by calling the Military Police or the German police, if off post.
In Germany and in many other European Union countries, 112 is the emergency number for law enforcement, just as 911 is in the U.S.
Once the room is secure and police are notified, those still in the area should prepare to take action by finding at least one heavy object to throw and plan to attack the shooter as a group. Everyone should also try to stay hidden until law enforcement arrives.
For more information, visit www.at-awareness.org or www.stuttgart.army.mil and select the emergency manager tab.