By Wesley ElliottAugust 31, 2018
JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO - U.S. Army Medical Command and the U.S. Army Health Contracting Activity on Joint Base San Antonio conducted an active shooter drill on August 29, to evaluate the staff's response as well as to meet the requirements set by the Secretary of Defense.
Active shooter training is incorporated into annual anti-terrorism training at all levels of the U.S. Army. "To recognize August's Anti-terrorism Awareness Month, across the Army, commands are conducting exercises to ensure personnel are trained on how to react if an active shooter event occurs," said Carlton Bray, Anti-terrorism Officer, U.S. Army Medical Command Provost Marshal Office.
Active shooter training is important because, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation there is at least one shooting incident, where four or more people are killed, per day and more than 300 per year.
"In this country, we just had an [incident] that received national attention on Sunday, three days ago. So it's still fresh in a lot of people's minds in this organization. It's important because it's something we can't avoid, said Bray.
Bray recommends if you are involved in an active shooter incident, remember the three basic things that you should do, "run, hide, or fight".
Also, if you notice someone acting suspicious or out of the ordinary, notify their supervisor or unit leadership, Bray added.
"Overall, I think the exercise went well," said Bray. "They were trained up and conducted the crawl portion of the exercise themselves so when we arrived, the staff was knowledgeable of the intent and the purpose of the drill."
Donald St. Ann, Jr., Operations Officer, U.S. Army Health Contracting Activity, explained that the U.S. Army Health Contracting Activity were 100 percent complete on their online training and Bray provided violence in the workplace training in the month before.
Before the exercise, St. Ann went to each work section and discussed the shooter action card, walked staff through possible courses of action, and had staff answer questions about what to do if there was an active shooter in the building. Additionally, the staff received a refresher course prior to the active shooter drill in their building.
For Col. Christopher Todd, the U.S. Army Health Contracting Activity Commander, employee safety is one of his top priorities, said St. Ann. "We know that this has been a problem in other organizations and [Col. Todd] wanted to make sure we understood the training instead of just checking the block."
After the exercise, staff members pointed out that the simulated gunfire sounds bounced off the ceilings and made it hard to pinpoint where the sounds were coming from. A small group of staff members ran towards the gunman believing they were running away from the sounds.
"The staff executed the walk-through fairly well. Those who could evacuate and those who could lock their doors, did," said St. Ann. "Overall, it was a success for our first one," he added.
St. Ann plans on doing a follow-up exercise, taking the lessons learned from Bray's team and then expanding the training to the Regional Health Office Central located nearby and to subordinate offices located at other installations.