Multiple law enforcement and emergency personnel agencies participated in an active shooter training at the Monterey Elementary School Saturday.
It was an enlightening experience to witness the emergency personnel work in a potential deadly situation. Pulaski County Sheriff Michael Gayer noted that he thought the overall turnout was a success.
“We probably have close to 200 people here from a number of agencies from within the county and outside the county both observing and participating,” said Sheriff Gayer. “From the feedback I’ve received, it’s a learning process. We’re doing a lot of things right, there are some things that we need to sharpen up on, but at the end of the day we want to be walking away from this 100 percent sure on what our roles and responsibilities are if and when this comes to our county.”
Gayer stressed that training for an active shooter has taken place in the county prior to this session, but nothing of this magnitude.
“We’ve created an environment almost that of a real scenario. We’re learning a lot from it.”
A lieutenant from the Indiana State Police-Lowell Post told Gayer that he was so impressed with this training, he was going to provide feedback to his superiors for that type of training at the state level.
Students and school personnel were among the participants in Saturday’s training. Chuck Evans, Assistant Principal at the West Central High School, said the training is important so that everyone is on the same page.
“The biggest thing is we’re all working together and we’re all working for the same purpose: the safety of the community, the school and the kids,” said Evans.
A drill is planned at the West Central School Corporation in the near future.
“I think that will be as important as doing it here at Monterey. If it does happen, and we hope that it doesn’t, they would actually be in our school and they’ll know our surroundings and they’ll know the school. It’ll help them as well. This is a good starting point. I think it’s great!”
Several students acted as victims in different scenarios and Evans believes that they learned a lot by being a part of this exercise.
“I’ve talked to them a little bit and I’ll tell you they were a little afraid of what was going to happen today. I’ve been watching them and they actually showed the same signs that they would probably in a real situation – being afraid, not knowing what to do and the unexpected. I think they’ll take away a lot from this. I think they can be a part of helping us in the future as well.”
Evans also commented that he thought it was important as a school official to be present during the training and happy to support everyone involved in the training.
The Health Department plays a big role in a situation like this and Sherry Fagner describes her role in an active shooter situation.
“We are a huge partner with all of our responders as far as EMS,” said Fagner. “The ESF-8, which is the Emergency Support Function for the comprehensive plan for our county, is health and medical. The coordinator of that group is the health department and I do play that role. In a real event, I would be doing what I’m doing now. I would be that liaison between responders and agencies that are coming in saying ‘what can we do?’ or ‘what do we need?'”
She added that the training was a great success.
“I don’t know that we could have asked for better participation. It was a huge participation which we were kind of worried that it would be one or the other and I think we have just the right amount of people here today to make it successful. Everybody here is going to learn something so that is kind of nice to see.”
Law enforcement moved through the corridors of the elementary school searching for role players portraying active shooters. Students played victims and were carried out on backboards by fire department personnel quickly as if the real situation was happening. EMS responders were performing triage and helping those who had imaginary injuries sustained in the scenario. Everyone was working together to prepare for an active shooter in a school or business.
The Braun Corporation may hold a similar training at their facility and the West Central School Corporation is working on holding a drill there. It’s important that all of these entities come together and get the training necessary to help in an emergency situation.
Pulaski County EMA Director, Larry Hoover, commented that this was a great and unique opportunity to get this training done.
“This was as realistic as you could make it without it being a real-life situation so I think they’re getting a lot out of the training as well as the fire department and EMS,” stated Hoover.
His role in a situation like this is critical also.
“I would generally be getting resources and helping get whatever they need in.”
There will be more trainings planned in the future to keep everyone in line with roles and responsibilities.
Enjoy more photos from the active shooter training: