Naval Air Systems Command Corporate Communication
Some employees walked quickly while most sheltered in place during Naval Air Systems Command’s (NAVAIR) first active shooter exercise April 23 in the Rear Adm. William A. Moffett Building.
Notified of the upcoming exercise, employees were instructed to prepare by watching the “Run. Hide. Fight.” training video that emphasizes the appropriate responses to an active shooter incident in an office environment.
“The exercise met our objectives to train and evaluate the workforce response and host installation emergency responders’ preparedness for an active shooter incident,” said Jerry Carrubba, NAVAIR’s anti-terrorism officer.
Vice Adm. David Dunaway, NAVAIR commander, authorized the exercise.
“I appreciate all the planning that went into this successful training evolution and am proud of our NAVAIR employees who reacted professionally by either evacuating or sheltering in place,” said Dunaway.
“While none of us wants to think about this type of workplace violence, we’ve seen it happen too many times at schools, malls and to our friends and colleagues at NAVSEA,” he said referring to the Naval Sea Systems Command incident at the Navy Yard last September.
Inside the NAVAIR headquarters building, the scenario-driven exercise simulated an employee’s violent reaction to losing his job.
The active shooter actor fired seven blank rounds that reverberated throughout the building. Six other Sailors acted as victims complete with simulated gunshot wounds to enable the Naval Air Station Patuxent River first responders to train.
Heard throughout the interior offices, the gunshots caused many employees to contemplate their reaction.
“What if this were a real incident?” said one woman. “The sound of the gunshots gave me a chill.”
The exercise lasted about an hour and provided valuable training and lessons learned, said Carrubba.
There were two communication breakdowns during the exercise, he said. The building’s public address system stopped working at the beginning of the exercise, and the automatic email notification system lagged for some recipients. Both issues are being addressed, Carrubba said.
The majority of office and hallway doorways were closed and locked. However, safety observers saw several people looking out their interior office windows to see what was happening, he said.
About 400 people evacuated to the lower parking lot behind the garage as directed, but several walked across the grass adjacent to the atrium windows, exposing themselves to the active shooter, Carrubba said.
He recommended that employees have an escape plan when departing from the building and make themselves as invisible as possible.
NAS Pax River Commanding Officer Capt. Benjamin Shevchuk was an advocate of the drill, which he directly observed as part of the Installation Training Team.
“It’s a constant duty to be mindful of security, whether you’re a business financial manager, engineer or contracts specialist,” he said. “We need everyone to realize that we are paid to be ready.”
“Each individual needs to know what they must do in a crisis,” Shevchuk said. “Everyone needs to be ready to respond. When everyone is prepared, they are able to help themselves and others.”
Shevchuk also stressed the importance of accountability during any emergency situation.
“One of the lessons learned from the assessment of the Navy Yard incident was that we have to be able to account for all of our people,” Shevchuk said. “In a busy, complex headquarters environment like the Moffett Building, leaders must train their staff on how to quickly achieve a full personnel accounting.”
Employees are responsible for ensuring their contact information is accurate in Navy Family Accountability and Assessment System (NFAAS) at https://navyfamily.navy.mil/.
NAS Patuxent River will continually use its ATHOC notification system throughout an event to inform and direct employees. To register or update your information, visit the ATHOC link at https://waannd wcdap01.nmci.navy.mil/SelfService/.