Realistic active shooter training preps Airmen

  • Published
  • By By. Staff Sgt. Nesha Humes
  • 86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
A roar of gun shots echoes throughout the crisp hallways and the smell of gunpowder hangs in the air as a masked shooter fires blank ammunition on the hunt for victims.

The 86th Maintenance Group readiness and training cell surprised 86th MXG Airmen with a realistic active shooter exercise July 12, on Ramstein Air Base, Germany.

The readiness training aimed to highlight Airmen’s initial cognitive response by appealing to their senses.

“We want to emphasize critical thought process during an emergency,” said Tech. Sgt. David Sanner, 86th MXG readiness and compliance cell noncommissioned officer in-charge. “We want them to use their brains and act accordingly. Hopefully, that would increase the lives saved in that type of scenario.”

Sanner said some critical thought process questions the Airmen should be asking themselves are: Can I escape? Should I evacuate? Do I hear gunfire? Do I smell smoke?

Although the readiness training took most Airmen by surprise, overall they reacted positively by quickly notifying the base defense operation center while barricading themselves into locked rooms for protection.

In addition to practicing contingency response reactions, safety is a priority during readiness trainings and coordination is key to plan exercises.

Multiple organizations such as command post and security forces were notified prior to the exercise to practice emergency procedures.

“We’re keeping ourselves in check by evaluating ourselves and doing those type of events,” said Sanner. “We can identify areas we need to improve… That’s a healthy habit for an organization.”

Approximately 15 key players worked directly with the 86th MXG readiness and training cell to facilitate the exercise.

“We’re the largest American military community outside of the U.S.,” Sanner said. “We need to be prepared to react to readiness scenarios whether it’s active shooters, aircraft damage, shelter in place, fire drills.”

The 86th MXG readiness and compliance cells have enabled about 20 trainings since January 2016.