Active-shooter exercise completed at Grand Forks AFB
By Airman 1st Class Elora J. Martinez, 319th Air Base Wing Public Affairs
/ Published August 15, 2018
GRAND FORKS AIR FORCE BASE, N.D. -- Base Airmen and local law enforcement agencies participated in an active-shooter exercise here August 14, 2018.
The exercise, which included the simulation of an active shooter and an explosive ordnance, took place at Twining Elementary School during a school down day. The exercise began at 10 a.m. and lasted for three hours.
Col. Bart Yates, 319th Air Base Wing vice commander, expressed his desire to practice responding not only physically to the scene, but also to potential social media interference.
“During a real-world crisis such as an active shooter incident, it’s not unheard of for members on base to text or call their families to let them know what’s happening,” Yates said. “That information can spill over into social media or the news in the blink of an eye, so it’s important for our group and squadron commanders to understand the best way to respond.”
The exercise was orchestrated in a manner that allowed base defenders, emergency responders and local law enforcement agencies to practice how they would respond to a real-world event, as well as group and squadron commanders to practice how to respond to potential confusion and misinformation online.
Twining Elementary School is a part of the Grand Forks Public School system, and as such, their administrators engaged in the exercise as well.
“We have learned a lot from this type of exercise both from a school and a district perspective,” said Jody Thompson, Grand Forks Public Schools Associate Superintendent and District Crisis Manager. “Law enforcement has also learned a lot; it is really a valuable piece of what we do for training.”
The active-shooter exercise is one of many the base puts on each year, in additional to deployment readiness exercises, chemical, biological, radiological and neurological attack exercises, and more.