Fort Drum, civilian community to train for mass-shooting scenario Wednesday

Published: Jul. 25, 2023 at 5:56 PM EDT
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FORT DRUM, New York (WWNY) - What would you do in the event of a mass shooting? It’s a tough question that Fort Drum aims to help its soldiers answer with a training exercise.

It’s a yearly exercise. On Wednesday, Fort Drum soldiers and civilian first responders will team up to work through a full-scale simulated mass-casualty incident.

“It kind of forces all of our community partners to come together. It’s kind of a worst-case scenario,” said Lt. Col. Richard Sposito, director of emergency services at Fort Drum.

Last year’s scenario centered around an overturned bus. This year’s will place participants in the barracks for a simulated mass shooting.

“It’s obviously something that’s in the public’s eye. It’s, unfortunately, happening a lot across America,” said Sposito.

An active shooter simulation will mobilize groups ranging from MPs to outside ambulance squads and will give involved parties the opportunity to collaborate with groups they aren’t familiar with in a high-stress environment.

“We’re really good at doing our individual things but how we pull them together in an incident. That’s the hard part that we don’t get to practice outside of exercises like this,” said Sposito.

Since there’s no hospital on post, Fort Drum will rely on hospitals in the surrounding area like Samaritan Medical Center when it comes to treating the wounded. We’re told that relationship is important

“We know they’re going to look to us and we have to look and help them as much as we possibly can. Whether they know what we can provide or the communication that goes in line, we’re great partners already but these are ways to practice together which are really nice,” said Leslie DiStefano of Samaritan Medical Center.

The exercise will continue inside Samaritan, with simulated victims being assessed and “treated” as if their injuries were real.

“Drilling just helps you hone what you have. Using it in a best-case scenario lets you practice it and make it better going along,” said DiStefano.

The training will commence at 9:00 a.m. Wednesday. Shortly after that, you can probably expect to hear a lot more sirens than usual.