Active shooter training conducted at medical group

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  • By Daisy Grant, Staff Writer

When the 72nd Medical Group in Bldg. 1094 at Tinker Air Force Base closed for monthly training Aug. 15, several forces on base jumped into action.

Maj. Denise Zona, mental health flight commander, with moulage makeup forming a neck wound and fake blood splattered onto the front and back of her uniform, pressed a duress alarm in her office.

From there, an Airman armed with a gun used in training exercises, began to walk through the building, acting as an active shooter.

The building was quiet, other than shots ringing through the hallways and yelling coming from actors, sporting moulage wounds to the arms or legs, laying on the ground in hallways and the atrium.

Soon, members of the 72nd Security Forces Squadron arrived, sporting full-body shields and guns. Following the sound of the shots echoing through the building, they began up the stairs, only to see a door open in the atrium.

They turned toward the shooter, only for a Wing Inspection Team member to pronounce her as shot. Now, it was time to apprehend her, secure the rest of the building and attend to the victims.

Scott Lindsay,  72nd Air Base Wing Inspector General inspector and the senior controller for the latest active shooter training, said the trainings are conducted twice a year by the base Inspector General’s office.

They have been conducted at different locations on base, and the IG staff tries to keep the location under wraps as long as possible.

However, they take a lot of coordination and planning, starting at least 60 days before the event is scheduled to occur.

The first priority is notifying the public, such as base public affairs, off-base media, 911 centers and leadership.

“Public awareness is very important, so we don’t spread panic,” Lindsay said.

Then, the organizations involved provide goals of how they want their people to respond. An on-site survey is conducted to pinpoint areas that are at-risk in the area selected for the exercise and research is done on past shootings to design the training to be realistic.

Once the alarm was set off in Zona’s office for the training to be initiated, each group of responders has a check-list of what to do, with their own WIT evaluators.

After the exercise, the WIT evaluators gathered to share notes, and a report was created.

Lindsay compared the training to fires drills in school, meant to minimize casualties.

“It’s important for everyone on base to know how they’re going to react if there is an active shooter,” Lindsay said.

Lindsay said while the IG orchestrates and evaluates the training, those who participate extends beyond their office.

“A lot of the people who participated definitely poured their heart and soul into it. We take every precaution to make sure they are safe and the players and the responders are the ones who actually make it happen,” Lindsay said.