Tinker Air Force Base’s first responders and community partners had the opportunity to demonstrate their skills during three drills hosted by the Inspector General’s Office earlier this month as part of the office’s Terrorist Week exercises.
Overseen and organized by Tinker’s IG Office, each exercise is designed to be treated like a legitimate incident that requires an organized response. While some details are provided prior to the drills, Inspector General Inspector Scott Lindsey said that the goal is to require the responses to each threat to be as realistic as possible.
“This could be any kind of threat -- an active shooter; a terrorist threat from any explosive; a biological threat; or any number of things,” Lindsey said. “There are different cogs and mechanisms that make things happen in each of these situations and this allows us to ensure that each of those mechanisms are prepared in case an actual incident does occur.”
The week’s first exercise was a chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosive materials drill, which tested the readiness of the installation to respond to the hazards of such an event and coordinate.
The event included participation from Tinker’s Security Forces, Fire Department, Bioenvironmental Engineering, Emergency Management and local emergency responders at the Glenwood Training Annex, with the goal of evaluating each group on their response to a possible biological hazard.
“The benefit of this is that we have two organizations who kind of do the same thing, but on a yearly basis get to come and work together,” said Maj. Jim Hester, Tinker fire department, who served as the field leader for the exercise. “We can learn from each other and I know these guys now. The next time this thing happens for real, there’s a familiar face that I know I can count on.”
Airmen with the 72nd Medical Group gathered in the Gerrity Fitness Center, Bldg. 6004, to distribute vaccines as part of the next exercise in Terrorist Week.
The drill had the participating Airmen from the Med Group provide flu vaccines to Airmen in a scenario that mimicked the procedures they would undertake if there was a need to administer prophylaxis or other medications in response to an actual exposure or outbreak at Tinker.
“It takes care of two birds with one stone: take care of the exercise requirement and then real world get people vaccinated for the flu,” said Tech. Sgt. Kali Lussier, Public Health Flight chief, 72nd Medical Group. “Overall, it shows that we have the capability to set up this line and issue those prophylaxis or those vaccinations.”
The final drill was an active shooter exercise, where Tinker’s SF and fire department were expected to respond as if a gunman opened fire in one of the buildings on the installation.
“We want to gauge our first responders in how they set up and respond, from fire department to medical and Security Forces,” Lindsey said.
Following the conclusion of the events, each group involved is evaluated by the IG office based on how well they responded to each hazard. While Lindsey said that these evaluations are not public information, he added that each exercise always presents participants with something to learn.