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NEWS | Nov. 19, 2021

Active shooter exercises help JBLE prepare for emergencies

By Beverly Joyner 633rd Air Base Wing Public Affairs

While no one can predict precisely when or where active shooter incidents will occur, first responders at military installations are utilizing training scenarios to help units prepare for and effectively respond to potential threats.

To increase awareness and evaluate emergency response preparedness involving an armed assailant situation, first responder and wing inspection teams conducted an active shooter exercise at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia, Nov. 3, 2021.

The exercise started on Fort Eustis following a report of shots fired at building 825. After arriving at the scene, JBLE emergency response personnel discovered several injured people and three casualties, one of which was the alleged gunman.

Base lockdown announcements were broadcast over the Fort Eustis “Giant Voice” public address system to inform the JBLE community of the exercise in progress.

In addition, interactive AtHoc emergency mass notification system email and text message alerts were sent base-wide during the exercise.

“This type of realistic training is critical, not just for our Security Forces, Military Police and Medical first responders, but to ensure we can protect the entire installation,” said U.S. Army Col. Chesley Thigpen, 733d Mission Support Group commander. “It enables our law enforcement personnel to sharpen their skills to eliminate an ongoing threat, while also allowing each of us to rehearse what we should do in a dangerous situation such as an active shooter scenario.”

According to Randall Renaud, 633d Air Base Wing exercise program manager, active shooter exercises are also held to execute JBLE-Eustis plans, checklists, standard operating procedures and agreements with local external organizations.

“Exercises are advertised through command channels, the JBLE Facebook site, and through operation orders sent out to key players for the exercise,” said Renaud. “Additionally, local news agencies are notified prior to JBLE exercises.”

In accordance with the Joint Base Emergency Management Plan and Integrated Defense Plan, units are expected to develop a Lockdown/Active Threat Plan, train on that specific plan and participate in exercises, Renaud added.

“633d Air Base Wing Inspector General personnel and Wing Inspection Team members evaluated the exercise execution,” said Renaud. “Additionally, unit emergency management representatives are expected to evaluate their unit’s execution of the lockdown plans.”

First responders and inspection team members conduct annual active shooter exercises at JBLE and plan a variety of scenarios, including active threats at the elementary school or other installation facilities. The exercises are designed to combine the response-ability of first responders and the execution of unit lockdown plans.

“Defending the installation is a top priority to provide security and safety for our most valuable resource…our people,” said Thigpen.

For more information on planning for and responding to an active shooter or active threat event, units can contact 633d Air Base Wing Emergency Management, 633 ABW Security Forces Squadron, or 733d Security Forces Squadron.