Immediate threat simulation: a solid test

Two military police officers walk down a hallway with guns drawn, observed by two evaluators.
Members of the military police focus hard as they approach a simulated active shooter while evaluators observe the scene from a distance. Photo: Adsum

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By Édouard Dufour, Adsum

Exercise BASTION VERROUILLÉ, held at Valcartier Garrison on November 7, focused on controlling an active shooter carrying a C7 rifle, and ready to do anything to reach the unit’s commanding officer.

In a secret underground bunker, Master Warrant Officer Éric Normand, Sergeant-Major of Valcartier Garrison, briefed military actors from 2 Battalion, Royal 22e Régiment on their respective roles.

“To make the scenario seem as real as possible, the actors only learned of their roles a few minutes beforehand,” said MWO Normand.

The 20-minute exercise took place in two phases. A shooter dressed as a civilian scouted the area first, so he could infiltrate the 1 Battalion, Royal 22e Régiment, without raising suspicion. Then he attacked the unit.

Similar exercises were held in the past at the Quebec City Citadel and the garrison Sports Centre. “We are now upping the level of difficulty a notch,” said MWO Normand, stating there was no advanced notice of the exercise location, day or time.

Ex BASTION VERROUILLÉ evaluated the emergency response skills of the Valcartier Garrison Military Police (MP), the base coordinator’s office and the emergency call centre. The regiment also had the opportunity to test its various emergency protocols.

“We have one dead, two men in a state of shock and people with bullet injuries to the chest and leg,” said MWO Normand with reference to the scenario. “We evaluate the speed at which the disseminated information is relayed,” he added.

Expert communicators

As soon as the Valcartier Garrison emergency call centre was informed that the exercise was starting, the centre’s manager, Gervais Langlois, quickly set about coordinating his team’s actions. “We must notify the civil emergency call centres, activate lockdown procedures, deploy the MP and close the guard house gates,” he said.

While an attack is under way, call centre employees field the endless calls that come in. They must gather information, determine what is most relevant, and quickly send it to the responders on the ground. During the simulation, emergency call centre specialists quickly analyzed and dismissed unfounded information concerning a second shooter.

“I am satisfied with our response. We have a few small things to work on, specifically in terms of radio communication. Our people were professional, all while working very hard to locate the shooter, which made it possible for the military police to stop the threat,” said Mr. Langlois.

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