Emergency first responders descended upon the 412th Medical Group clinic in support of an active shooter exercise at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., Feb. 11. 2020.
The exercise involved numerous base agencies such as the 412th Security Forces Squadron and the Edwards Fire Department. A unique factor for this exercise was the involvement of local community emergency partners in the Los Angeles County Fire Department and the Antelope Valley Hospital in Lancaster, Calif.
“This is a multi-agency exercise,” Wells said. “Every time we do an exercise, we want to invite and we want to involve more and more people.”
The exercise was the first of two that the 412th Test Wing Inspector General’s office conducts to train and gauge the base’s emergency response coordination said Randy Wells, 412th TW IG senior exercise planner.
The day’s exercise involved an active shooter at the base clinic. Within minutes after the shootings began at the clinic, security forces were at the scene. After confronting the shooter, the Defenders then neutralized suspect.
Security forces then swept through the building searching for any additional shooters, securing rooms and identifying victims. After the building had been secured, medical responders were then brought it to treat the wounded and move the victims to a triage location outside. There, medical crews evaluated the victims and prioritized those who needed to be flown for emergency treatment.
“We really hit the mark today, I believe,” Wells said of the local community emergency involvement. “It’s a huge effort; a huge coordination of forces.”
Another added training element was the inclusion of a suspicious package. The package turned out to be an improvised explosive device that was inadvertently set off during the exercise.
“We didn’t anticipate that, but that could happen in real life,” Wells said. “It’s better that it happens during an exercise than in the real world.”
Three of the event’s victims were flown via LACoFD helicopter and two were transported via ambulance. The participation of a LACoFD helicopter allowed base medical personnel the opportunity to train on proper loading procedures. Improper loading procedures could impede timely medical evacuation and cost a victim’s life.
The victims’ transportation to the AV Hospital further strengthens the immersion in to the scenario which makes the training more realistic for everyone involved.
Wells and the Wing IG also praised the rest of the base’s participation during the exercise.
“We’ve got several Test Wing organizations that chose to that chose to lock down today, which is great,” Wells said. “That trains their people on what to do in the event of an active shooter; even if the active shooter isn’t in their building.”