NAS Fallon first responders train for terrorist events

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Updated: 2/25/2014 6:03 pm
RENO, Nev. (KRNV & -- Real life events like the Washington Navy Yard shooting show tragedy can strike even somewhere as secure as a military base.

So first responders at Naval Air Station Fallon are preparing to respond to similar emergency.

It's called Solid Curtain - Citadel Shield, and it's a Navy-wide exercise designed to improve response to terrorist events.

"There is that maxim of 'always expect the unexpected' and that's really our philosophy when it comes to designing our response scenarios," said NAS Fallon Executive Officer Commander Eugene Woodruff.
He said it's important to prepare for the absolute worst, including threats from within.

"That's the most dficult scenario is when we have one of our own, or a group of our own in this case, turn violent," Cmdr. Woodruff said.

This complex scenario tested the first responders with an active shooter, then an explosion and a sniper. 

"It's easy to get overwhelmed in this type of scenario where not only are you trying to respond to the scenario but at the same time you are being targeted," Cmdr. Woodruff said.

Cmdr. Woodruff said they design these exercises to be extremely challenging. 

"Our military philosophy is we exercise to a point of failure," he said.

Because if they're not making mistakes, they can't learn from them. 

"We have our responders sweating here so in the event of the real world we wouldn't see a lot of bleeding," Cmdr. Woodruff said.

Especially because the real-world responses involve working with outside agencies, so success starts with scenarios like this. 

"So that when we come to the scene of an actual incident, we're not exchanging business cards and talking about how we're going to approach that disaster," he said. 

In addition to NAS personel, Fallon Fire and Police Departments and Churchill County Sheriff's officials also responded to the training event.
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