Active Shooter Response Exercise Held at the 177th Fighter Wing

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Hunter Hires
  • 177th Fighter Wing

ATLANTIC CITY AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, N.J. (Dec. 17, 2021) — State training officers from the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness came to the 177th Fighter Wing, in Egg Harbor Township, N.J., to conduct a tabletop Active Shooter Response Exercise on December 16, 2021.

The 177FW, the Federal Aviation Administration Tech Center, The South Jersey Transportation Authority, the FBI, The New Jersey State Police from the Atlantic City Airport, the Atlantic City Prosecutor’s Office and the Atlantic County Office of Emergency Management participated in the exercise together.

“We've been planning with the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness and local agencies such as the South Jersey Transportation Authority and the FAA to test our active shooter response plans,” said U.S. Air Force Col. Raymond Sackmann, the 177th Security Forces Squadron commander, currently operating as the 177FW Inspector General.

The exercise was conducted in a tabletop fashion, meaning that the participants used diagrams, maps and grids to retain an overhead view of an active shooter scenario taking place at the 177FW. Plastic chips were used as a physical representation of individuals, first responders, and other units to show their locations and capabilities. Dice were used and rolled to determine a random outcome of situations including engagements and other fashions of conflict, emphasizing the importance of minimizing the chance of failure and optimizing defensive and reactive measures.

“We’re also using our active shooter incident management board,” said Michael Urbanski, the State Training Officer for New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness. “The board allows us to put resources in front of people, giving them the option to make decisions on the fly.”

Tabletop exercises may be considered less effective than those that are scenario-based, but exercises like these have already made an impactful change in our community in the past.

“One of the key takeaways from two years ago was each agency’s mass emergency notification system,” said Sackmann. “Now, after participating in these trainings and exercises, they are all linked together. Communication has greatly increased, and it's been used several times in real world incidents and exercises.”