In the wake of recent events, including the mass shooting rampage on Fort Hood, Sheppard Air Force Base is conducting a mass casualty exercise.
"What makes this one a little different though, is it's driven by higher headquarters and they are actually involved." says Col. Bridget Gregory, in charge of the event. "
"Usually, when we do these two or three times a year, it's about the base and the community and it comes to a national conclusion there without involving others.", Gregory continues. She explains the exercise will continue for several days.
The focus of the exercise is to be ready to deal with not only an active shooter, but the aftermath. The next few days will be filled with training to respond to the needs of the victims and the families of those impacted.
Gregory says the training is designed to be as close to reality as possible. "With all of these, you're supposed to train as you fight, as the saying goes. So, we don't want any staging, but it just happens this is very announced because we do want as much involvement as possible."
Using makeup to create realistic-looking wounds and real-life equipment such as sirens and loudspeakers, the charade is supposed to simulate the sights and sounds that would follow a real event.
During the exercise, Sheppard is locked-down. Nobody is able to enter or leave the facility. That causes the Base Exchange, Commissary and Clinic to be closed for the duration of the event.