Local, State and Federal First Responders Collaborate on Preparedness
Aeronautical Center Deputy Director, Kevin O’Connor addresses the classroom during the Tabletop Exercise.

It is not often that law enforcement agencies, fire departments, and emergency management teams come together on a Federal facility to collaborate and discuss the best ways to protect their citizens and employees. Federal facility security and emergency response is as diffused as the number of agencies responding to an emergency. Each of these groups independently possess effective crisis plans within their own right, but when you bring all these first responders together, it becomes a larger initiative when discussing roles, best practices, protocols, resources and lines of communication. The morning of October 24th brought over 20 local, state, and federal agencies together at the Mike Monroney Aeronautical Center for an Active Shooter Table Top exercise. The purpose of the exercise was to examine/discuss current policies, procedures, resources, jurisdictions, and actions in the multi-agency response to an active shooter.

The tabletop exercise was discussion-based, where multi-agency teams came together to establish the ability of law enforcement, fire, medical responders, and FAA to establish Unified Command and effectively coordinate the response. The participants also evaluated the ability to provide timely and accurate public information, establish a triage area and transport plan, and to discuss establishing a Joint Information Center.

The exercise design and planning was a collaborative team effort between FAA, Oklahoma City Emergency Management, Oklahoma City Police, the Fire Service, and Medical response organizations. Collaborating during the exercise design phase insured that all disciplines had an opportunity to learn and test their emergency operation plans in an effective manner.

As a Federal facility, within a local jurisdiction, many different law enforcement and response agencies may have a role in emergency response at this Center. This exercise was designed to bring everyone together, before an emergency incident occurs. The objective was not to measure anyone’s performance, but to talk through plans and problems, discussing hypothetical emergencies.

"It’s important to remember, this exercise is a chance for first responders to meet each other in a calm atmosphere, rather than the heat of the moment when lifesaving decisions are being made," explains Tricia Brace, Emergency Readiness Officer. Although the FBI is the lead Federal Law Enforcement agency according to Assistant Special Agent in Charge, Doug Cook " When the FBI arrives at MMAC we will work together with local law enforcement and other responders in a uniform response."

Emergency Readiness Officer, Patricia Brace facilitates the Tabletop Exercise with several first responders.

According to Tricia Brace, "This exercise was designed for law enforcement and other first responders to better understand the role of the Aeronautical Center in the National Airspace System, and for the opportunity to meet the critical staff at the Center whom outside agencies may have to collaborate with for an emergency response plan."

On this Center, the buildings are occupied by multiple federal agencies. Protecting this Center and responding to an emergency here is not only important to the people here in Oklahoma City, if we have an emergency it can significantly disrupt the functioning of the National Airspace System and produce cascading effects far beyond the physical location of this facility. The level of involvement of over 55 participants and high-ranking officials, demonstrates the importance of MMAC and benefit of these vital partnerships.

Special thanks to our industry partners in planning this intricate exercise:
Lt. Jason Knight, Oklahoma City Office of Emergency Management; Sgt. Jennifer Gulikers, Oklahoma City Office of Emergency Management; Major Tommy Curry, Oklahoma City Fire Department; and Tyson Bell Regional Medical Response System Coordinator.

First Responders Collaborate on Emergency Preparedness

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