Commonwealth Journal

News Live

May 30, 2013

Several agencies have ‘active shooter’ drill at SWHS

Somerset —

An emergency training exercise carried out this week by a number of local agencies, in cooperation with the Pulaski County School System, proved to be a valuable learning experience for all involved. 
“You keep learning and learning (in these situations),” said Tiger Robinson, Pulaski County Public Safety Director, after Wednesday’s exercises came to a close at Southwestern High School. “You can always fine-tune a plan, regardless of how good it is.”
Representatives with the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Department (including the department’s critical response team and a bomb-sniffing dog), Somerset-Pulaski County EMS, Kentucky State Police, and the Nancy Volunteer Fire Department attended Wednesday’s training exercises.
“We’re all here to work together,” said Acting EMS Chief Billy Duncan during Wednesday’s wrap-up meeting. “We want you to know we’re here.”
Joining them were teachers and other staff members and administrators with Pulaski schools, all of which hoped to learn a bit about how best to operate under emergency conditions (specifically in an active shooter situation and in carrying out reunification plans between students and parents). 
A few students with SWHS JROTC, led by Sgt. Jeannie Cottle, volunteered as well. 
“We’ve worked for eight years on revising and updating the plan,” said Wanda Johnson, safety coordinator with the school district. “This is just the next phase of that.”
Robinson said he and school officials had been in communication about a large-scale exercise for some time, but the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting, which took place in Dec. 2012 in Connecticut and left 20 students and six school employees dead, brought the issue back to the forefront.
“That put us into high gear again,” said Robinson.
The exercises came a week after “table-top” sessions were held. The Wednesday, May 22 session featured first responders and school system staff members as well. The exercise was a talk-through of sorts, which included ways to prepare for this Wednesday’s functional exercise. 

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