Early Sunday morning (11/08/15), first responders from eight Montgomery County law enforcement, fire, and EMS agencies along with the Montgomery County Office of Emergency Management and Allied-Barton Security personnel participated in a large-scale, joint active shooter exercise at The Woodlands Mall – the first exercise of its kind in Montgomery County. The purpose? To bring all of the agencies responsible for handling such an incident together for a real-world demonstration of their training, tactics, and teamwork dedicated to saving lives.
After being safely stripped of their firearms, responding officers were outfitted with special training weapons designed to fire non-lethal marking rounds which work in the same manner as their regular duty weapons. Then, with little warning, officers were thrust into a situation that has become all too common throughout the country…”There are reports of a shooter in the mall – shots fired! There are people down!”
Although the participating agencies work together regularly, it is rare that they respond together as a large group for these type of events and, rarer still, that Fire Fighters and Paramedics are brought into the mix to practice real world emergency care and triage procedures alongside law enforcement personnel inside an active threat environment. This dynamic scenario is the culmination of months of planning and was made “real” by the dedicated volunteers of the Montgomery County Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), who served as actors, witness, and injured victims.
The exercise was a tremendous success owed to the efforts of the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office, Shenandoah Police Department, Montgomery County Precinct 3 Constable’s Office, Texas Department of Public Safety, Oak Ridge North Police Department, Conroe ISD Police Department, Montgomery County OEM, Allied-Barton Security, The Woodlands Fire Department and Paramedics with the Montgomery County Hospital District. The demonstration of response best practices, teamwork, and tactical problem solving were well displayed and the lessons learned will serve as a catalyst for advanced training initiatives directed to further increase response capacities during critical incidents throughout Montgomery County.