The threats facing our nation are ever changing. Our greatest defense against emerging threats is effective communication between Americans and law enforcement agencies. Local residents know their communities better than any government organization ever will. Ordinary residents and visitors are positioned to observe and report suspicious behaviors that may be attributed to national security threats. Every person plays a vital role in keeping our nation safe against terror attacks, and other mass casualty incidents like active shooter events, by remaining vigilant to suspicious behaviors.
Many concerning behaviors observed by residents or visitors may be constitutionally protected acts. Therefore, it is essential to report suspicious behaviors with a potential for mass violence and not report individuals based on demographics. When in doubt, report suspicious behaviors to Delaware’s Anti-Terrorism Tip Line at 1-800-FORCE-12 (1-800-367-2312) or via email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Received tips will be reviewed by Delaware’s Homeland Security based fusion center, the Delaware Information and Analysis Center (DIAC). The DIAC will review all tips and forward those with reasonable suspicion to the FBI-Joint Terrorism Task Force and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security for follow-up investigation. All emergencies and any in-progress events should always be reported immediately to the local 911 center.
Groups seeking Violent Intruder Preparedness and Response (VIPR) training may contact the DIAC via email at email@example.com to request a training session. VIPR training provides instruction on responsible suspicious activity reporting, pre-incident indicators and preparedness, and response to active shooter events. Preparing today may save lives tomorrow, should a catastrophic incident occur in a Delaware community. Preparedness is the key factor to increase situational awareness and survivability. Remember to be vigilant and do your part to keep America safe.
- Leave the premises as quickly and calmly as possible.
- If items are falling from above, seek shelter under a sturdy table or desk. Exit as soon as possible.
- If you are trapped in debris, cover your mouth with a piece of cloth and tap on a pipe or wall so that rescuers can hear where you are.
- Shout only as a last resort. Shouting can result in inhalation of dangerous amounts of dust.
- Assisting victims – untrained persons should not attempt to rescue people in a collapsed building. Wait for emergency personnel to arrive.
- Stay low to the floor and exit as quickly as possible.
- Stay below the smoke at all times.
- Cover nose and mouth with a wet cloth.
- If door is hot, do not open it. Seek an alternate escape route.
- Authorities will instruct you to either seek shelter and seal the premises or evacuate immediately.
- Turn off air conditioning or heating system immediately.
- Leave suspicious letters or packages alone.
- Do not touch or move the item(s), but cover if possible.
- Leave the vicinity immediately.
- Instruct all who open or have contact with suspicious items to wash hands with soap and water.
- Contact local law enforcement agency via 9-1-1.
- Immediately collect contact information of all who may have been exposed.
During an event
- Immediately follow instructions provided by police, fire, and other officials.
- Be aware of conspicuous or unusual behavior. Do not accept packages from strangers.
- Promptly report unusual behavior, suspicious or unattended packages, and strange devices to the police or security personnel.
- Learn where emergency exits are located in buildings you frequent. Plan how to get out in the event of an emergency.
- Avoid spreading rumors. Direct those with questions to credible news and public safety official sources.
Reporting a tip
In order to provide the most useful information to law enforcement, you are urged to make the following observations when reporting a tip:
- Who did you observe?
- What did you see? (Be as specific as possible)
- Where did you see it?
- When did you see it?
- Why is it suspicious?
- If the person is driving a vehicle, provide the vehicle’s license plate, year, make, size, and color.
An active shooter is an individual actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a confined and populated area, typically through the use of firearms.
In priority order, there are three general options if you are confronted by an active shooter situation:
- Run (First preference and priority)
- Have an escape route and plan in mind.
- Leave your belongings behind.
- Keep your hands visible.
- Hide (Second preference and priority)
- Hide in an area out of the shooter’s view.
- Block entry to your hiding place and lock the doors.
- Hide behind furniture if possible.
- Silence your cell phone.
- Fight (Third preference and priority)
- If confronted directly and as a last resort when your life is in imminent danger.
- Attempt to incapacitate the shooter.
- Act with physical aggression, throw items at the shooter, yell loudly and commit to the effort.
- Moving people are harder to shoot.
Call 911 when it is safe to do so.
When law enforcement arrives
- Remain calm and follow instructions from law enforcement officers.
- Put down any items in your hands (i.e., cell phone, weapon, bags).
- Raise hands, spread fingers, and position palms facing officers.
- Keep hands visible at all times.
- Avoid quick movements toward officers, pointing, and screaming.
Initial role of the on scene law enforcement officers is to stop the violence
- Officers will pass by injured victims to engage with and neutralize threats.
- Rescue efforts and emergency medical care will be provided after law enforcement eliminates threats.
Certain pre-incident behaviors may be associated with active shooter events
While not meant to be all inclusive, the below list of behaviors and events may be associated with active shooters:
- Increased use of alcohol and/or illegal drugs.
- Unexplained increase in absenteeism and alarming outbursts of rage.
- Recent job termination and the person has expressed violent intentions.
- Suicidal/homicidal remarks.
- Sudden depression/withdrawal from society and colleagues.
- Increased severe mood swings and noticeably emotionally unbalanced.
- Sudden interests in weapons, violence and those associated with mass violence.
- Interest in and empathy for groups associated with violence and support of groups that encourage others to commit acts of mass violence.
- Expressions of unhealthy world views and statements of revenge for perceived mistreatment.
Report behaviors that may indicate mass violence
- Inform work supervisors, managers, and/or human resources of alarming non-emergency behaviors in the workplace.
- Call 911 to report emergencies and criminal activity, including verbal threats that are indicative of violence.
- Non-emergency Homeland Security threats and non-criminal suspicious behaviors attributed to mass violence can be reported to the State of Delaware Anti-Terrorism Tip Line at 1-800-FORCE-12.