First responders train for “active-shooter” scenario at Pechanga Resort & Casino in Temecula, California
Published November 17, 2017
PECHANGA INDIAN RESERVATION – On Wednesday, Pechanga hosted more than 100 police, fire, paramedics, and Pechanga first responders to conduct a major tactical response to a simulated active shooter incident. The November 15thtraining exercise was the first of its kind held in Riverside County following all CalFire engines being outfitted with tactical response equipment and firefighters going through a rigorous classroom-based training.
Planned for more than five months in advance, the incident response exercise was performed to provide police, fire, paramedics and hospitals the chance to better coordinate and streamline response efforts in the event of an actual violent incident. Agencies taking part in the drill included Pechanga Fire, CalFire, Riverside City Fire, Hemet and Corona Fire Departments, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Riverside County Sheriffs, Temecula Police, Murrieta Police, Corona Police, regional ambulance services, Pechanga Department of Public Safety and Pechanga Tribal Rangers, and Temecula Valley Hospital.
The Pechanga Fire Department participated in the training.
“What this means is that the county, the Riverside County Fire Chiefs Association, developed one standard for tactical response for active shooters,” said John Hawkins, Riverside County Fire Chief. “Then we play according to that same playbook. It would be like all NFL teams using the same playbook. They could all play the same way.”
According to Pechanga Fire Department Battalion Chief, Deano Esades, the idea to conduct a tactical training exercise stared about one year ago after the Orlando Pulse Nightclub shooting. “Then the idea was floated to include the rest of the county,” said Esades. “The more heads of agencies in our region we talked with, the more that signed on. I’d say it was really successful.”
The realistic scenario began with a role player gaining entry to Pechanga Resort & Casino’s Career Center, a building not connected to the resort/casino and adjacent to the Journey at Pechanga Clubhouse. The faux-perpetrator came with the intention of causing harm to employees in the building. Emergency responders were called to the scene to carry out all functions that would need to happen in such a scenario.
The event provided responders the opportunity to test how they would respond to this kind of incident in real time and in as realistic a fashion as possible. Approximately 50 role players, some made up in full moulage, acted as employees who then had to deal with the aftermath of the event.
“We commend our fire department for initiating this training exercise and we thank all of the cooperating agencies that participated in today’s exercise,” said Pechanga Tribal Chairman Mark Macarro. “Although we hope to never have to implement this training, these sorts of exercises are vital to ensure we are as prepared as possible for an actual event.”
Pechanga and all participating first responder agencies involved in the exercise are already planning the next scenario-based incident exercise.