Wright-Patt to conduct emergency training drills this week

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

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Drill confused With Attack At Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Spurring Active Shooter Call

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Wright-Patterson Air Force Base will conduct training exercises for multiple crisis situations this week, nearly nine months after a drill led to a false active shooter incident at the military installation.

Personnel will respond to various mass casualty and hazardous material scenarios designed to demonstrate “Wright-Patt’s ability to respond to different emergency events,” according to the base. The Air Force requires installations to hold an active shooter exercise twice a year.

» RELATED: Wright-Patt active shooter report shows response could have led to ‘serious injury’

Exercise sirens could be sounded this week and may be audible in areas adjacent to the base, according to a release. Traffic on the base could be impacted as gates could be backed up and some roadways may be temporarily blocked, according to the release.

Installation Inspection Team members, who will be wearing bright-yellow reflective vests, will evaluate the response to the exercise events throughout the week, according to the base.

As it conducts this week’s drills, the base will try to avoid the chaos that ensued last August when a couple of training exercises went awry.

The incident resulted in a military service member discharging multiple rounds of ammunition from an assault rifle. The “poorly planned and executed” base exercises caused a chaotic response to the August false alarm, according to a report about the incident released in December.

An uncoordinated response from law enforcement in August could have resulted in “serious injury and property damage” and terrified staff and civilians in a hospital filled with “fog and friction,” the report stated.

Active shooter false alarms are not uncommon on military installations. But, a Dayton Daily News investigation found that few others unfolded like the one at Wright-Patt did.

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The confusion in August stemmed from two exercises, including an active shooter drill taking place at the Kittyhawk Chapel and a mass casualty exercise the 88th Medical Group held at the Wright-Patt Medical Treatment Facility, according to the report.

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

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Wright-Patt active shooter response | What happened?

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

The exercises also were not published in the broader list of scheduled scenarios occurring on base that week though they were published in the base newspaper Skywriter. A formal risk assessment was not conducted for either exercises being conducted that day, the report found.

The base requested support from one SWAT Team and three medical aid units, but base officials were unaware of the Code 99 alert or civilian off-base active shooter protocols resulting in the “mass response from off-base,” according to the report.

In preparing for an active shooter drill, it’s important to give people a heads up so the situation is not mistaken for an actual threat, Greg Crane, founder and chief executive officer of the ALICE Training Institute in Medina, Ohio said in 2018. The institute trains people to respond to active shooter attacks in a way that improves their chances of survival, according to the organization’s website.

“Whenever we’re doing a training obviously internal personnel are aware that a training is taking place,” Crane said. “We also contact law enforcement…that way if someone does call local law enforcement, they may not send the whole cavalry.”

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REPORT FINDINGS FROM 2018 ACTIVE SHOOTING ALARM

• The use of an M4 weapon to breach a locked door was inappropriate. An Air Force Security Forces Squadron member fired an assault rifle through the window of a door to gain access to a locked room. Military personnel must follow weapons safety training at all times, especially during high pressure situations, the report found. Sherman would not specify if disciplinary action was taken against the service member who discharged the weapon.

• A breakdown of communication led to an uncoordinated and ineffective combined response that could have resulted in serious injury or property damage. A thorough understanding between federal, state and local agencies about command and control to include understanding jurisdiction and response procedures needs to be established, the report found.

• All base exercises were not clearly communicated to employees. "While realism is important in training exercises, all personnel must be always be fully aware of exercise vs. real-world situations. Coordinating with all concerned organizations and then sticking with the agreed upon plan is essential to keeping everyone fully aware."

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