Wright-Patt exercises active-shooter response

Master Sgt. Matthew Gillette, 88th Security Forces Squadron Training NCO in charge, observes as members of the 88th Security Forces Squadron participate in the active-shooter exercise on Wright-Patterson Air Force Base Feb. 26. Exercises are routinely held to streamline unit cohesion when responding to emergencies and test the base’s readiness to rapidly deploy. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Emily Rupert)

Combined ShapeCaption
Master Sgt. Matthew Gillette, 88th Security Forces Squadron Training NCO in charge, observes as members of the 88th Security Forces Squadron participate in the active-shooter exercise on Wright-Patterson Air Force Base Feb. 26. Exercises are routinely held to streamline unit cohesion when responding to emergencies and test the base’s readiness to rapidly deploy. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Emily Rupert)

Wright-Patterson Air Force Base went into full lock-down Feb. 26 while first responders rushed to the scene of a simulated active-shooter scenario during an installation-wide exercise.

Upon entering the building where the simulated shooting was taking place in Area A, 88th Security Forces members found several “victims” of the shooter, including four “fatalities” and a number of injured.

As the defenders fanned out inside Bldg. 110 to locate, isolate and neutralize the shooter, Fire Department responders followed to triage the injured and prepare them for transport for further care at medical facilities.

Explore 445th Airlift Wing Operations, Maintenance train in San Diego

At the same time, in response to the resulting emergency announcements across the installation, personnel all over the base followed active-shooter training guidance and barricaded themselves in places of safety, hidden from view, in the event that the shooter was not alone. There they waited for an all-clear announcement to tell them when it was safe again.

Security Forces members remained on task and vigilant until it was certain that there were no additional shooters in the area.

All clear was announced throughout the base, and the exercise activities at the scene remained in high gear as they transitioned from response to recovery mode.

The Commander’s Action Team and the Emergency Operations Center were stood up to help coordinate the on-going operations and dispatch resources to the on-scene commander. Group and Unit Control Centers were directed to perform accountability checks to verify the whereabouts of all members.

At the scene, investigators also began the process of sorting out the details of the event for their investigations and reports. Specialized teams and personnel arrived to start the process of clean up and restoration of the facilities.

The Emergency Family Assistance Center, or EFAC, was organized and established at the Wright-Patterson Club in preparation to receive and assist family members of the victims and others, who would arrive on base following such an event.

As the active-shooter exercise ended, life returned to normal on base. Wing Inspection team members turned to the task of collecting and assessing observations to determine how everyone can be better prepared for such an event.

For the exercise itself, role players, such as those at Bldg. 110 acting as the casualties being treated at the scene, added a realistic component to this event. Their portrayals of victims with a variety of injuries and trauma give responders a valuable glimpse of the human element at such a scenario. Exercise officials invite other interested individuals on base who would like to volunteer for future exercises.

About the Author