SPTC CityScape Debuts with Advanced Active Shooters Scenario (A2S2) Course
October 21, 2014
On October 1, 2014, the New York State Preparedness Training Center (SPTC) revealed its CityScape complex during a delivery of the Advanced Active Shooters Scenario: Tactics & Operations (A2S2) course. This event marks a major milestone in the SPTC and NCSP’s strategic partnership and ongoing effort in developing and delivering high-end training programs for first responders and homeland security professionals.
During the 3-day delivery, a diverse class of law enforcement and emergency medical services personnel engaged in a series of discussions, skill lanes, and functionally-integrated scenario-based activities. The course was developed to prepare responders for a multi-discipline response to a complex symphonic terrorist attack in an American city involving well-coordinated terrorists with multiple attack methods and targets.
"Students had to adjust a lot, work together, and work within a command structure which is totally about being interoperable; working with responding agencies from all over the state on a single mission."
-NCSP Director Rick Mathews
For the culminating scenario, students were dispatched to the CityScape’s New York Avenue for reports of shots fired. New York Avenue runs through the interior of the CityScape complex, which encompasses life-size and realistic venues, including a high school, motel, shopping mall, courthouse, café, apartments, alley, store fronts, and offices. The venues that the CityScape comprises are designed specifically to support scenario-based training. The architecture is designed to withstand the continued use of Simunition® weapons systems, explosive simulants, vehicle traffic, and relevant equipment employed across first responder disciplines0.
After arriving, students quickly realized they were facing much more than the typical active shooter situation. Terrorists had taken control of several areas throughout a city block as part of an ongoing attack, taking hostages and injuring multiple victims with small arms (Simunition® weapons systems) and improvised explosive devices (IEDs) (explosive simulators and smoke generators).
"The addition of the CityScape provides us with innovative and exciting opportunities to enhance our scenario-based training development. The CityScape and its venues will be an invaluable asset in facilitating realistic and appropriate environments necessary to emphasize forward-leaning tactics and techniques for first responders across the country."
- NCSP PIES Section Chief Brandon Kennedy
Over the course of the scenario, students encountered multiple terrorists and over 25 casualties with varying injuries in rapidly-evolving conditions. Law enforcement subdued shooters, overcame tactical challenges, and initiated rapid medical intervention by integrating their emergency medical counterparts into the scenario. EMS personnel effectively triaged, managed casualty collection points, and stabilized and transported casualties with multiple blast and ballistic injuries.
"One tactic that we are extremely proud of and absolutely a strong advocate of is the concept of a rescue task force. A rescue task force is a combination of law enforcement, ems and fire rescue people (who integrate) to go into situations where both areas (law enforcement and ems) are needed. In this case, it allows us to get ems and medical personnel to the injured people much more quickly than we have done in the past."
-NCSP Director Rick Mathews
The debut of the CityScape marks a new era for the New York State’s homeland security training. The complex provides unique opportunities to enhance and expand the world-class training the SPTC offers, so we can better prepare for what’s next.
"Students will find that the new CityScape really ups the ante as far as realistic, scenario-based training – for the A2S2 course in particular. The attention to detail that went into each space to make it lifelike, along with our professional training role players, will have students so immersed in the action that they will forget they’re in a training scenario."
–NCSP Assistant Director Lori Percle
Construction on the CityScape commenced in January of 2013 after several years of conceptualization, design, and development that encompassed input from public officials, first responders, architects, engineers, and nationally-recognized subject matter experts.
Other scenario venues on the SPTC campus include a campground, wooded trailer area, trailer park, post-disaster trailer park, urban search and rescue simulator, railway, and emergency department. The campus also houses an emergency vehicle operations course and live explosive range. Additional venues and facilities are in development for construction in the near future.