By Ms. Jacqueline Boucher (U.S. Army CommunicationsElectronics Command (CECOM))October 1, 2018
An early morning phone call brought Tobyhanna Army Depot's licensed mental health practitioner face-to-face with a disgruntled and irrational employee at the start of an annual functional exercise.
Exercise officials scripted five individual scenes designed to evaluate how well personnel respond to emergency scenarios during the two-day event. Visitors and employees saw an increased use of emergency services vehicles, and security personnel carrying weapons and tactical equipment both days.
Actions taken in the initial minutes of an emergency are critical, according to Brett Morgenweck, installation emergency manager. He said exercises like this are held regularly to provide insight into Tobyhanna's capabilities and improve upon emergency response processes.
"Responders are normally the first on the scene of an emergency, and include security, fire and emergency medical personnel," Morgenweck said. "We were able to script this exercise to test a number of processes to see what works and what needs improvement."
Anti-terrorism Officer Kelliann Davitt noted the emergency responders were able to use what they've learned in the classroom and apply real-world experience to deal with a variety of situations during the exercise.
"The evaluators and observers were instrumental in helping us track how each scenario played out," Davitt said. "We will use their remarks to create future learning environments that will benefit Team Tobyhanna."
Volunteers from a number of depot organizations helped create a realistic environment by portraying hysterical and injured employees during an active shooter scenario. Two individuals played the part of disgruntled employees who stormed offices and demanded satisfaction from the person in charge. Other nefarious activity on the depot included someone abandoning a suspicious-looking package on the first floor of a building. The last scenario of the exercise focused on what to do if someone called reporting a strong smell of chlorine.
"I would like to thank everyone for their participation in this year's exercise," said Stephen Audritsh, chief of the Installation Services Directorate's Security Operations Branch. "The support was great and we learned a lot from the event."