Dyess active-shooter exercise showcases readiness
By Airman 1st Class Charles V. Rivezzo, 7th Bomb Wing Public Affairs
/ Published December 06, 2012
DYESS AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- Busy staff meetings and bustling work centers were interrupted by the sound of gunfire Nov. 26-30 as Dyess Airmen were tested on their response to an active-shooter during a week long exercise.
Throughout the week, squadrons across the base were randomly targeted as a "disgruntled" Airman within each unit simulated being engaged in killing or attempting to kill people within their areas.
"The purpose of the exercise was to bring awareness to members of each organization as to what actions they need to do in case an active-shooter type situation occurred in their work center," said Senior Master Sgt. LouAnna Campbell, 7th Security Forces Squadron NCOIC of standardizations and evaluations.
During this particular exercise, roles were reversed as Dyess Airmen were the ones being evaluated, unlike most active-shooter exercises where only one or two squadrons are targeted and emergency responders are evaluated on their tactics, techniques and procedures.
"Our evaluators were looking to see if the work center personnel knew what to do in the event an active-shooter incident was to occur," Campbell said. "We looked for things such as, did they evacuate if possible? Did they hide and conceal their presence to the perpetrators, such as silencing phones, locking doors, barricading themselves behind closed doors and/or fighting off the attacker if they could not escape? Did they attempt to make contact with first responders?
"Throughout the exercise, Dyess personnel performed extremely well and had a good understanding of what to do to keep themselves safe," Campbell added.
While evaluators were impressed with Dyess' responses and readiness, Airmen were able to take away lessons learned during the active-shooter scenarios, further preparing them for an incident of that nature.
"I learned that you never know how someone will react and that it is very important to be aware of potential warning signs prior to event like this," said Senior Airman Mikel Fair, 7th Comptroller Squadron accounting technician. "Even with a general plan in place, people can react very differently than they thought they would. Being able to experience an exercise like this will definitely help us to act quickly and appropriately in a real-world situation."
"Training for these situations is essential in today's society in light of current events," Campbell said. "Being able to react and respond appropriately will enhance one's ability to survive if ever involved in a real-world active-shooter situation."