H-VANDENBERG AFB

Nov 3, 2010 8:50 PM by Danielle Lerner

Base officials stand by their response after Tuesday's emergency drill mixup

Vandenberg Air Force Base is standing by its decision to go on lock down Tuesday after an emergency drill was mistaken for a real-life scenario.


Other media sources were reporting a possible shooting and some local law enforcement agencies responded to help, but it all turned out to be part of a two-week operation readiness inspection.


Traffic was moving freely through Vandenberg's front gates Wednesday, just one day after a lockdown closed off the entrance and evacuated the base's headquarters.


"It was an apparent shooter scenario but again as part of an exercise event," said Jeremy Eggers, a spokesperson for the base, "but then another event at another location on base just started to draw some confusion."


Turned out that other event was also part of the ongoing exercise.


An exercise so real it blurred the line between drill and reality.


Eggers says they had no choice but to treat the incident as an actual emergency until base officials determined otherwise.


"We certainly apologize for this inconvenience but as far as the response that ensued, that was right on because again the safety and security of our people is foremost."


Vandenberg has responded to some real emergencies during this two-week drill period. The Bear Creek Fire sparked last Thursday and charred about 1200 acres.


"That first initial question came up, well is this exercise, or is this real world? Sure enough that was a real world event," said Eggers.


Still that was not the case on Tuesday and Eggers says the mishap is under review.


"If there are some lessons we need to apply we're going to apply them in the future as well," he said.


The Lompoc Police Department and Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department also responded to the incident as part of a mutual aid system, but neither department would comment on the fact that it was just a drill.


The readiness exercises started October 24 and they are scheduled to finish up November 8.

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