Watch: Troops Train to be Response Ready

Columbia, S.C. (WOLO) — On Tuesday, troops at Fort Jackson received front line training in handling a mass casualty crisis.

“It started off with an explosion, a vehicle explosion on the other side of the post and then we had the active shooter scenario here during the graduation,” says Major General Roger Cloutier, the fort’s commanding general.

Managing mass casualty situations is not included in the average job description. But for troops at Fort Jackson training to be competent during chaos is a necessity.

Cloutier tells ABC Columbia, “When you have a scenario like this it’s confusing. Who’s responding, who’s the incident commander and so our job at the installation is to integrate those resources”

Organizers say a very limited number of people on the base knew beforehand that today’s exercise was going to happen in order to make the simulation that much more effective.

According to Operations Security Manager Dwight Peters, “The whole idea of not telling them is to make them react more real. We want to see where our weaknesses are. We try to find things we can improve in our day to day operations.”

Emergency situations that would require collaboration with outside agencies like the Columbia Police and Fire Departments, and the Richland and Lexington County Sheriff’s departments, all of whom were on hand Tuesday morning.

Colonel James Ellerson explains, “We want to make sure that we have not only an effort going on internally, in the installation, but externally. How does that effect the community? What can we do as a community to respond in case something like this happens in a real world scenario?”

Turning training into second-nature response

Cloutier says, “It’s only a lesson noted until you change behavior, then it becomes a lesson learned.”

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