The Marine Corps Air Station Miramar Provost Marshal’s Office, with the help of Marines assigned to the Installation Personnel Administration Center, conducted an active shooter with mass casualty scenario training event Aug. 30 in preparation for the upcoming MCAS Miramar Air Show.
Approximately 25 Marine Corps military and civilian officers, 25 mock victims, a Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron Aircraft, Rescue, and Firefighting crew and emergency medical service technicians from two local hospitals worked together to practice active shooter hazard procedures.
The notional scenario was a call to PMO in response to an angry Marine out-processing at the IPAC building. As PMO arrived on scene, shots were heard from inside. PMO then entered the building to disarm the assailant after thoroughly searching the premises, cordoning rooms and assisting victims with various gunshot-wounds.
PMO, using different officers each time, ran through the hazard evolution four times. During the final run-through, an ARFF first responder team was dispatched along with San Diego County EMS ambulances to deliver “victims” to nearby hospitals.
“The purpose of the drill is to give PMO a situation as real as possible to deal with a mass casualty situation factoring in an active shooter,” said Kevin Kelley, the anti-terrorism and emergency manager for Miramar. “We don’t get over-detailed. That gives the role playing participants some free-play, so they have to actually deal with whatever decisions they make when they enter the building.”
The fire alarms went off as the assailant fired blank ammunition in the building. Rather than turning them off because they were not scheduled in the exercise, officers, victims and medical personnel had to work through the distraction due to its real life possibility.
“We do this exercise annually to test current base hazard policies and procedures,” said Capt. Christopher P. Lanum, the operations officer, Miramar Provost Marshal’s Office and a Tuscon, Ariz., native. “Repetition of these drills allows us to fine-tune our methods and respond better to the real thing.”
Although hazard exercises are practiced throughout the year, one large mass casualty scenario is held annually approximately one month prior to the Air Show to prepare for any potential threat.