NEWS | Nov. 25, 2014

Active shooter drill test Airmen’s readiness

By Senior Airman Jared Trimarchi Joint Base Charleston Public Affairs

Airmen and civilians from the 628th Military Personnel Flight participated in an active-shooter exercise to test their preparedness and response to a high threat situation Nov. 21, 2014, at Joint Base Charleston, S.C.

The drill was a test run for an upcoming base-wide, active-shooter exercise scheduled for early December, an annual requirement for Air Force installations.

"Overall the exercise was a success and the Military Personnel Flight did a tremendous job accessing the situation and acting accordingly," said Tech. Sgt. Jason Dietrick, 628th Security Forces Squadron lead trainer.

The exercise kicked off with the simulated gunman running down the hall of building 503, yelling and banging on doors while pretending to fire a weapon. He was able to open several unlocked doors and found people hiding resulting in four people simulated as casualties.

According to Dietrick, in most active-shooter situations, the gunman's goal is to cause mass causalities and chaos, and these types of training exercises can help prevent loss of life and limb.

"As protectors of the base, the 628th Security Forces Squadron teaches Airmen to evade, barricade and fight in the event of an active shooter and that is what we were looking for during the training," Dietrick said. "In a high threat situation such as an active shooter, it's the little details that count, such as locking your door, turning off your lights and even silencing your cell phone."

The 628th SFS is conducting the active-shooter exercises, and no different than protecting the people who work on the installation, defenders take their job seriously, Dietrick said.

Lloyd Greenawalt, a 628th SFS patrolman, acted as the active shooter during the exercise.

"It is important for me to turn up the stress levels of the exercise to simulate the high stress of an active shooter," Greenawalt said. "I was actually starting to lose my voice from all the yelling I was doing. If I take my part seriously the people we are testing will take their roles seriously and that's what we were looking for."

Dietrick and Greenawalt both agreed that the best things to do during an active shooter situation is to communicate with the people around you, work as a team and if all else fails fight back against the assailant.