By Nathan Pfau, Army Flier Staff WriterSeptember 1, 2016
FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- While Fort Rucker makes sure its first responders and emergency personnel know exactly what to do in an emergency situation, it will put those skills to the test when the installation holds its annual all-hazards exercise Sept. 8.
The exercise, rescheduled from mid-August because of severe weather, will be in the form of an active shooter scenario designed to test Fort Rucker's and the surrounding communities' response to a threat on post, said Willie Worsham, post emergency manager.
"This scenario will involve an active shooter and explosive threat to the installation from a homegrown violent extremist," Worsham said. "We need to be able to teach first responders and emergency personnel what is required when there is an active shooter on the installation. We will go through the same processes as we would if I got a phone call right now saying there was an actual shooter on post."
People should expect some short delays at the gates and near Andrews Avenue between 8:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., but things will be as normal as possible outside the exercise area, he said. Aside from completely shutting down the installation, the exercise will be as real-world as it gets for law enforcement and emergency personnel.
The need for exercises like the active shooter scenario stems from home-grown and foreign terrorist threats, and Worsham said no matter how unlikely a scenario may seem, it's always best to be prepared.
"Terrorists are getting smarter every day and we just want to make sure that we are up on the most up-to-date techniques for handling situations like this," he said. "It seems like we learn something new every time.
"Every time we do this, we learn more capabilities from the partners of our mutual aid agreements and what they can do to help us," Worsham said. "With us continuing to do exercises together, it makes us a lot more proficient at what we do."
He added that this is the "perfect time for people to exercise their plans in the event an incident occurs on the installation -- remember to make a plan, build a kit and be informed."
For more on preparing for emergencies, visit http://www.acsim.army.mil/readyarmy/.