Guam distribution center holds active shooter exercise

By DLA Distribution Public Affairs DLA Distribution Public Affairs

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A 2000-2013 Federal Bureau of Investigation study reported approximately 160 active shooter incidents in the United States, which have occurred in commerce areas, education environments, open spaces, residences, houses of worship, health care facilities, military, and other government properties.  “Here on Guam, a beautiful tropical island in the Pacific, we are not immune to such an occurrence of an active shooter situation,” said Macy Ooka, the DLA Distribution Guam, Marianas’ director.   “I felt duty-bound to address this very real threat.”  As a result, on October 27, the distribution center conducted its first ever full-scale active shooter exercise. 

Ooka and her team developed an Active Shooter Plan, which was incorporated into the distribution center’s existing Emergency Action Plan.  Not satisfied with just having a plan, but rather a plan that is doable, executable, and sustainable, Ooka tasked David Palomo, security specialist with DLA Distribution Guam, to develop a comprehensive full scale Active Shooter Exercise with the goal to inject as much realism as possible for maximum effect.

Several training sessions were held to reinforce the Active Shooter Plan prior to the exercise to ensure all employees were informed and understood what actions should be taken based on the circumstances confronting each employee.  All employees were asked the question, “What should I do when the shooting begins?” The option to either “run, hide, or fight back” had to be made as a personal decision and was contingent upon the circumstances the employee found themselves in, although “fight” is always the last resort.

“It is important that my team understands how to respond in the event of an active shooter occurrence.  I believe this exercise was extremely critical,” said Ooka.  “It isn’t only about meeting annual training requirements, but being confident that my team knows what to do to greatly increase their chances of survival should an active shooter incident happen.”

The exercise began with a quick insertion of the active shooter armed with a simulated weapon into the distribution center’s freight operations warehouse floor and offices.  Sounds of simulated gun fire, people yelling, personnel taking cover, and offices being secured happened quickly.  Others made their way outside of the distribution center with hands raised and following Naval Base Guam Security Forces’ every command.  Adding to the realism was NBG’s Security Quick Reaction Force, with simulated weapons drawn in an aggressive and forceful manner searching for the active shooter.  At the end of the exercise, the active shooter threat was neutralized.  

Lt. Lawrence Scott, NBG security officer said, “I have observed many active shooter drills, and I have to say this is by far the most motivated agency I have seen.” 

This exercise would not have been possible without the full participation of DLA Distribution Guam’s service provider, Safe Ports, Inc.; partners, NBG’s Anti-Terrorism officer and Security Forces leadership team (security personnel, Emergency Dispatch Operators, QRF Team, and Training evaluators); co-tenants DLA Troop Support; Navy Fleet Logistics Center JEMMS Team; and other support activities present during the exercise.

“DLA Distribution Guam, Marianas, has set the bar in which other Active Shooter exercises will be measured against,” said Ooka.  “Overall, the exercise was a huge success by meeting the objectives of the plan and provided the most realistic situation for personnel and security forces.”