BALTIMORE -- At approximately 7:00 a.m. the base went into lock down to simulate a scenario involving an attack from an armed suspect giving members the opportunity to practice the proper procedures for a response.
“It’s critical that our members know what to do in the event of an emergency,” said Air Force Master Sgt. Curtis Pollitt, 175th Wing inspector general superintendent. “It’s also great training for our first responders and helps them minimize loss of life.”
Active shooter exercises evaluates the base’s capabilities on multiple levels, said Pollitt. This includes evaluation of wing command and control, personnel accountability, and first responder effectiveness.
In addition to running through procedures and first responder responses, another key part of the exercise is the establishment and regulation of an emergency operations center.
EOC’s support the functions of different areas on the installation and communicates with the incident commander, said Pollitt. The EOC requests services and support from within and outside agencies. It takes accountability of service members and is the communication point for the crisis action team, wing commander, and the rest of the installation.
“It’s critical that we practice this,” said Pollitt. “The EOC is set up throughout the year for exercises and real-world events like hurricanes and train derailments.”
The base is required to conduct active shooter exercises twice annually where the performance of the base can be evaluated.
“We found some strengths and we also identified some weaknesses we can improve on for the next time, said Pollitt. “Any time we can walk away from an exercise with things to improve is a success for us.”
The next active shooter exercise is being planned for a drill weekend in the month of August, said Pollitt. This will be the first time active shooter response capabilities will be exercised on such a busy day.