MOUNT VERNON — Several area emergency agencies participated in a three-day EMA active shooter course this week that culminated in simulated drills on Thursday at the Faith Baptist Church on Martinsburg Road.
Police and fire personnel from several departments, including Fredericktown, Mount Vernon, the Knox County Sheriff, Bladensburg and Ashland EMS, acted out search-and-rescue operations at the church after learning several procedures in the Active Threat Integrated Response Course that had been taught earlier in the week.
Several instructors from the National Center of Biomedical Research and Training (NCBRT) at Louisiana State University came and taught the class and then helped with the simulated emergencies, which were performed in real time like it was an actual call.
The first responders heard the initial call for assistance, done from the parking lot with the real 911 dispatchers, and then responded, using the church as the building in question. The group then approached the building with as much realism as possible and disarmed the potential gunman and treated the victims. The reenactment included replica, but not real, firearms used by the participants, real tactical movements and realistic-sounding gunfire.
According to class instructor Barry Mounce, the mass shootings at Columbine High School in 1999 and at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado (in 2012) prompted adjustments in response teams in active shooter scenarios — which created the need for the course.
In each of the two mass shooting incidents, the law enforcement personnel were able to enter the buildings and stop the shooter, but medical services were delayed in entering the respective buildings until after they were declared safe, according the Mounce.
The new training course taught the units on how to have law enforcement and medical personnel enter at the same time, then clear out a small space to treat wounded while finding the shooter or shooters at the same time.
The rest of this article is available to our subscribers.
Do your part to support local journalism
Subscribe to our e-edition to read this and many other articles written by your neighbors.