Red ALERRT at Altus AFB
By Senior Airman Cody Dowell, Altus Air Force Base Public Affairs
/ Published June 25, 2018
ALTUS AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. -- When an active shooter incident occurs, first responders are the first to take action against the adversary. With adversaries being unpredictable and constantly changing their tools and tactics, first responders must keep their skills and precision up-to-date in order to effectively respond to these threats.
The 97th Security Forces Squadron and Altus AFB Fire Department received first-hand training from instructors of the Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training (ALERRT) on June 18-19, 2018. This national standard of training recommended by the FBI is for first responders to learn how to react to an active shooter situation. For two days, first responders of the 97th Air Mobility Wing learned advanced tactics to handle an active shooter.
“This training is about actively thinking when you are in a fast-pace environment like an active shooter,” said Doug Herrington, an ALERRT instructor. “First responders in an active shooter situation are there to ensure no one else is harmed and lives are saved. This training is not about tactics, it’s about assessing the situation and communicating with your team in order to save the most amount of lives.”
This training was a combination of classroom work and hands-on exercise drills, fully demonstrating the proper procedures for the first responders.
“This training was beneficial for everyone who attended and definitely shed a new light of how situations can be handled in a variety of ways,” said U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Ariana Forrester-Hewitt, a response force leader assigned to the 97th SFS. “I like how the class was taught and it’s great to keep everyone on the same page so the mission gets accomplished.”
This training for active shooter response is for all first responders, which includes the fire departments and emergency medical services. The lessons are taught mainly in a group to teach the different agencies each other’s roles in order to help them understand the bigger picture.
“The fire department helps out with first aid and evacuation. Seeing what happens before we get there aided our understanding of how we get to that point,” said U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. David Pacheco, a crew chief for the 97th Civil Engineer Squadron. “This training also taught security forces to assist with aiding casualties which I thought was great, because the quicker everyone responds, the more people are saved.”
The base had outside assistance in getting ALERRT instructors to Altus AFB to teach this class. Crystal Thomas, a deputy for the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office, extended her hand to coordinate with the base to receive ALERRT training when the Jackson County Police Department was being scheduled for the same training.
“It’s all about community relations. When a crisis happens it’s not going to be just one agency responding,” said Thomas. “That’s why it’s great that everyone is getting the same training so when something happens everyone knows each other’s roles and we can work as efficiently as possible to save lives.
This is not the last time the base will conduct ALERRT training.
“After Altus AFB receives another class on this training, some members plan on becoming instructors themselves so they can teach more base members,” said Thomas. “There is nothing but positives from this program since it is a constant chain of learning how to better handle active shooter events.”
With continuous changes to our adversary’s tactics, the Altus AFB first responders will stand ready for when they are needed.