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Latest exercise tests base response to active shooter at high school

EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. --

A disgruntled drama student took her frustrations out on her fellow students by opening fire on them with a 9mm pistol at Desert High School’s Scorpatorium multipurpose building. Several students were shot and wounded.

This was the scenario for Exercise Desert Wind 17-04, which was conducted Aug. 7 to test the entire base’s response capabilities to an active shooter event. First responders and units involved in the exercise included the 412th Security Forces Squadron, the Edwards Fire Department, 412th Medical Group and the 812th Civil Engineer Squadron’s Emergency Management Office.

The morning exercise was conducted under the eyes of the 412th Test Wing’s Inspector General office and Wing Inspection Team.

Edwards AFB holds active shooter exercise
Simulated gunshot victims are treated at a makeshift triage area outside the Scorpatorium multipurpose room at Desert High School by 412th Medical Group personnel Aug. 7. (U.S. Air Force photo by Kenji Thuloweit)
Edwards AFB holds active shooter exercise Edwards AFB holds active shooter exercise
Simulated gunshot victims are treated at a makeshift triage area outside the Scorpatorium multipurpose room at Desert High School by 412th Medical Group personnel Aug. 7. (U.S. Air Force photo by Kenji Thuloweit)
As with every exercise conducted here, the situation and response is made to be as real as possible, with the “wounded” and “dead” players displaying gruesome injuries thanks to the moulage team from the 412th MDG. The victims were played by real DHS students.

Following the initial response, Edwards AFB’s Emergency Operations Center personnel were assembled.

The wounded personnel were evacuated from the Scorpatorium to be treated by the Edwards AFB Fire Department and medical group personnel in a makeshift triage area in the parking lot.

Adding an additional aspect to the scenario was the participation of the Los Angeles County Fire Department who flew in a Firehawk helicopter to act as an air ambulance to simulate transporting the victims to off-base hospitals.

The helicopter landed on one of the school’s baseball/softball fields and Edwards Fire Dept. and LACFD personnel helped transport and load the victims.

Edwards AFB tries to conduct emergency exercises four times a year involving different scenarios including plane crashes, natural disasters and terrorist attacks.