If Monday's events seemed far too real for comfort, that was the point, said world-renowned professional training and security consultant Pat Goodale, who supervised the endeavor.
After the dramatic dust settled, the role players and emergency responders assembled one last time in a lecture hall to determine the day's successes and glitches.Goodale
, a 22-year veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps
with 35 years of experience as a security consultant, asked the participants to split into three groups - firefighters/paramedics, police officers and WVSOM
staff - to do internal critiques of their performances.
"Imagine if you had half of this room filled with casualties," Goodale
asked of the estimated 220 participants, adding that local emergency crews were overwhelmed by sheer numbers at Virginia Tech
three months ago.Some ambulances in that situation were called from as far away as 75 miles, he
said.A professor who participated in Monday's exercise explained that he
immediately secured the room, turned off the lights and closed the blinds when he
heard the first shots.
"It's all right to conscript people," Goodale
noted, informing police officers that they do have the option of drafting spectators or passers-by in such situations if they are needed.Illustrating why radio signals were not used by responders in the drill, he
advised school staff to conduct a follow-up session at a later date informing students and faculty of the risk of cell phone signals in crises where IEDs could be inadvertently activated by them. Goodale
also pointed out that firefighters, paramedics and law enforcement officials chose a stealth - rather than an overt - approach to the incident, leaving their sirens off as they pulled up to the beleaguered building.
"It went very well.The purpose is to self-assess in a candid manner.I am very pleased with what I see across the board," Goodale
The last step, said Goodale
, is intended to reduce the risks brought to light by both Monday's exercise and the tactical survey.
"If you have a lock that doesn't lock, get a lock that locks," he
Monday's drill was preceded by a two-part seminar hosted by Goodale
.Seminar participants - primarily WVSOM
faculty and staff, local law enforcement officers, and business owners with large numbers of employees - were treated to Goodale's expertise.
The three-part event was billed as a "Community Response to an Active Shooter."The first two phases consisted of seminars conducted by Goodale
, with the first part consisting of a lecture in which Goodale
discussed incidents that have taken place elsewhere, how they were resolved, and what sort of pre-incident planning was undertaken.He
also spoke of lessons learned from those episodes.
Part Two was geared toward law enforcement officers and other first-responders.Goodale
educated those in attendance on how to assess a business or school for likely points of entry, exterior orientation, and where the weak links in security may exist.
Web site is www.pgpft.com.His
office, based in Covington, Va., may be reached by phone at 540-559-4151 or e-mail at pgoodale@ pgpft.com.