175th Wing tests response to active shooter scenario during exercise

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Chris Schepers
  • 175th Wing

Airmen of the Maryland Air National Guard tested their response during an active shooter exercise in the cyber building, at Martin State Air National Guard Base, Aug. 25, 2023.

The exercise, which was planned by the 175th Wing’s inspector general team, led by Capt. Sara Nittinger, director of inspections, was created to test the Wing’s response to a base emergency.

“Active shooter exercises are critically important for the safety and security of our personnel,” said Nittinger. “There are many response elements that must be inspected and validated including notification and lockdown procedures, security forces and fire department response, mutual aid agreements, patient care, transport, and recovery.”

The functional active shooter exercise, which was conducted after previous table-top active shooter exercises, fulfills the Wing’s requirement to conduct two active shooter exercises yearly.

“During the table-top exercises units have the chance to talk through what their response will be during an active shooter situation and formulate a plan and work their response checklists in a controlled environment,” said Nittinger. “Today we gave the units an opportunity to enact those plans and test their response in a controlled, albeit higher stress environment.”

In addition to testing the base notification and lockdown procedures through AtHoc, the bases online and phone notification system, and the Giant Voice systems, the 175th Security Forces Squadron and fire firefighters assigned to the 175th Civil Engineering Squadron tested their response to an active shooter.

“Giving our security forces Airmen the opportunity to test their skills and response to this type of situation is critically important for the safety and security of all Airmen and personnel on this base,” said U.S. Air Force 1st Lt. Allison Fleming, 175th SFS anti-terrorism officer. “We have to test our response through exercises like this because if this situation were to happen in the real world we don’t want that time to be the first we are using these skills and response actions.”

Although this is the last planned exercise of this type for the year, U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Geoffrey Elungata, 175th Wing inspection coordinator, emphasized that individual units can stay fresh on their response procedures throughout the year.

“It is imperative that units take the time to emphasize the importance of their responsibilities during an on-base emergency situation,” said Elungata. “Nothing is stopping units from pulling out their checklists and running through them so their Airmen know the expectations that will help keep them and their co-workers safe.”

More exercises are planned for the future, including collaboration with the Baltimore County Fire Department and Baltimore County Police Department, to ensure that Airmen never become complacent and are ready to respond to an emergency to help keep themselves and others safe.