Active shooter exercise tests Fort Pickett, local first responders’ capabilities

Fort Pickett staff members and first responders from the Town of Blackstone, Dinwiddie County and the Virginia State Police conduct an active shooter training exercise Sept. 29, 2017, at Fort Pickett, Virginia. The exercise was designed to assess Virginia National Guard, state and local first responders' capabilities and identify any gaps or shortfalls in the current active shooter response plans. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Master Sgt. A.J. Coyne)

Fort Pickett staff members and first responders from the Town of Blackstone, Dinwiddie County and the Virginia State Police conduct an active shooter training exercise Sept. 29, 2017, at Fort Pickett, Virginia. The exercise was designed to assess Virginia National Guard, state and local first responders’ capabilities and identify any gaps or shortfalls in the current active shooter response plans. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Master Sgt. A.J. Coyne)

FORT PICKETT, Virginia — Fort Pickett staff members and first responders from the Town of Blackstone, Dinwiddie County and the Virginia State Police conducted an active shooter training exercise Sept. 29, 2017, at Fort Pickett, Virginia. The exercise was designed to assess Virginia National Guard, state and local first responders’ capabilities and identify any gaps or shortfalls in the current active shooter response plans.

“With the increase of active shooter incidents occurring within the U.S., especially on military and other government installations, the purpose of this exercise is for Fort Pickett key personnel to be able to demonstrate coordinating the post’s organic resources with outside resources, exercising their core capabilities and objectives in response to an active shooter incident occurring at Fort Pickett,” said Allen Evans, emergency management coordinator for the Virginia Department of Military Affairs.

During the scenario law enforcement personnel provided security and focused on addressing the threat while fire and emergency medical personnel provided medical care to simulated injuries. Fort Pickett uniformed personnel and other key staff contributed logistical support, base security and liaison to traditional military assets in response to the exercise scenario.

Exercises like this are important because it shows “we are able to work together as a team to utilize all available resources, both military and civilian in order to deal effectively with any situation that effects the public safety of the post,” Evans said.

This is the first time joint law enforcement agencies and state agencies have worked together at Fort Pickett with the Virginia Army National Guard to put on this type of exercise, according to Evans.

“Without support of the Fort Pickett post commander pushing for this training, this exercise would not have existed,” Evans said. “Also, the technical assistance, support and expertise of the force protection chief, state anti-terrorism officer and state physical security officer helped me a great deal in keeping this exercise together in addition to assistance from other Fort Pickett Personnel, Virginia State Police, Fort Lee, state public safety agencies and local law enforcement, fire and EMS agencies. Overall, the exercise went well and everyone who participated said they learned a lot and took it seriously.”