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Staying safe, remaining vigilant

  • Published
  • By Capt. David Liapis
  • 92nd Air Refueling Wing, Public Affairs
If you've been watching the news lately, you've undoubtedly seen the tragic results of terrorism in Paris and other parts of the world; and you may have even heard about threats in the U.S.

Should all of this concern us? Sure, to an extent. While running around scared there's a terrorist hiding behind every door or shrub is obviously extreme and unhealthy, being cognizant of our surroundings and knowing how and what to report is a good approach.

Maj. Gen. Wayne Schatz, Air Mobility Command vice commander said in a recent letter, "Our best defense has been and remains each Airman's awareness, personal security measures, and suspicious activity reporting."

You don't have to be an Air Force Office of Special Investigations agent or Anti-terrorism officer to be able to sense when something's just not right, but you can, and should, certainly get in contact with either of those individuals, local law enforcement or Security Forces if something does make your "spidy senses" tingle.

Here are some other tips you should consider. They're pretty common-sense and most are likely nothing you haven't heard before, but it's always good to be reminded; and, you might just read something new.

- Be aware of your surroundings and those around you.

· Report unusual and/or suspicious activities, on or off-base, to the appropriate authorities and/or Eagle Eyes.
· Be cognizant that large crowds and/or special events may be attractive targets.  Holiday events have been targeted in the past and personnel should be particularly aware during the current Holiday season.
· Remain alert while driving for possible surveillance. Always leave room between you and the preceding vehicle to maneuver if necessary.
· Stay informed of current events and open source news reports of potential threats

- When it comes to Social Media, think before you post.

· Always assume everyone in the world will be able to see what you are posting, or tweeting, even if the site limits your posts to your friends and family.
· Limit who can view your social media sites; but do not trust these settings as absolute.
· Avoid posting your home or work address and phone numbers; and any government or military affiliation.
· Avoid providing detailed accounts of your day (e.g., when you leave for or return from work).
· Never allow applications to geo-locate your location.

- Physical/Home Security Precautions. While most of these measures are primarily geared toward home burglaries, when implemented these same measures can help prevent an individual from conducting an attack while you or your family members are home.

· Always lock doors, windows and garages, even when you're home.
· Make sure home entrances are well-lighted, and minimize bushes where intruders can hide before their ambush.
· Use the peephole before opening the door to anyone. Don't use the chain latch to open the door part-way.
· Don't open the door to solicitors or strangers.
· Install solid-core doors, heavy-duty locks and window security systems.
· Establish a safe haven.
· Hold a family meeting to work out home security plans.

The base and higher headquarters are constantly reviewing our security posture to ensure appropriate preventative measures are in place. While there are no specific, credible threats at this time, "an increased or more predictable threat of terrorist activity exists." This is why we're in Force Protection Condition BRAVO and why this entire commentary is being written. If the threat conditions change, you'll be notified by your chain of command.

The bottom line is this: stay safe and remain vigilant. Your best defenses against becoming a victim of an attack are your eyes and ears.