A LEARNING EXPERIENCEPublished 7:02pm Tuesday, May 28, 2013
First responders work with Troy City Schools staff on emergency scenarios
It’s a situation that has played out on national television time and again.
“What’s the location of your emergency?” asked a Troy Police dispatcher Tuesday morning.
“Troy Elementary School,” the voice on the other end of the radio answered.
“What’s your emergency?” the dispatcher responded.
“We have someone in the building. Shots have been fired. The principal has been shot. There are injuries,” the voice answered.
But Tuesday’s call was only part of a tabletop exercise put on by the Pike County Emergency Management Agency to assist first responders and Troy City Schools in determining how to best handle a terrifying situation involving a shooter on school grounds.
“This is a learning experience for us,” said Troy City Schools Superintendent Lee Hicks. “We want to talk about these things ahead of time in case we were to ever be faced with an emergency.”
The Pike County EMA, Troy Schools, Troy Police Department, Troy Fire Department, Troy Regional Medical Center, the Salvation Army, Department of Human Resources, LifeFlight, the Pike County Coroner’s Office, CARE Ambulance and Barbour County EMA all participated in the drill.
The exercise on Tuesday forced first responders and the school system to think about triage locations, command centers, reunification spots and even helicopter landing sites in the event that an emergency does happen on a Troy Schools campus.
“I think one good thing this scenario has shown us is that no two scenarios are the same and we are going to have to adapt to the situation,” said Troy Police Capt. Danny Barron. During the exercise, the group divided up into separate rooms to practice responses in real time. There was a room for TES, a room for TRMC, a room that served as a command post and a room that represented Trojan Arena – the spot where parents would reunite with students in the Tuesday scenario.
“Recent events across our country and even in our county have reinforced the idea that we need to be prepared for an emergency every day,” said EMA Director Jeanna Barnes. “Having plans in place beforehand and knowing what resources are available to us makes it easier to adapt.”
The group plans to host live action drills at each city school for further preparation.