Agencies participate in training

Published 4:00 am Wednesday, April 1, 2015

The chance of an armed gunman entering a school, office building or business in Troy is low, but that doesn’t stop law enforcement personnel, first responders, school officials and business managers from planning how to respond to the potential threat.

Pike County Emergency Management director Jeanna Barnes on Tuesday gathered members from EMA, Troy Regional Medical Center, Troy University, Pike County Board of Education, Pike Liberal Arts School, Troy Police Department, Brundidge Police Department, Troy University Police Department, Pike County Sheriff’s Office, Troy Fire Department, Haynes Ambulance, City of Troy, Southern Classics Food Group, Walmart Distribution Center, Alabama Department of Public Health, Pike County Coroner’s Office, Troy Health and Rehab, HB&G, Troy City Schools, Pike County Commission, Troy Parks and Recreation Department, Pike County Probate Office and even Lockheed Martin to discuss each agency’s plan if an active shooter situation should arise in Pike County.

Beyond discussing a plan for an active shooter situation, Barnes said the agencies were able to figure out their strengths and weaknesses for any situation that could arise.

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“With a tabletop exercise, we’re able to strengthen our weaknesses in a specific incident,” Barnes said. “And, it also provides opportunity for all of the various organizations to have discussions with each other that they may otherwise not have been able to have. It allows for new ideas and complications that we may know that we have to deal with (and) it helps to garner those discussions in advance so that we can hope to be prepared.”

Barnes said once the agencies had formulated a plan, they would be able to act out a functional exercise as well as a full-scale exercise later this year.

“There is a lot of planning that we have to do in order to conduct a successful exercise and part of that is going through this tabletop exercise,” Barnes said. “Once we do this, we will go through a functional exercise where you move people and equipment but you don’t actually go through the full scale part of it. When we go through the full scale exercise, everyone will kind of be prepared and ready to go, and a large part of that is informing the public of what is going on so they don’t panic and think this is actually happening.”

Barnes said she hoped the agencies would be able to run a full-scale exercise on the situation before the end of the year because of the benefits it would hold for not only the first responders but for Pike County residents as well.

“We have the emergency operations plan for the county and then all the other agencies have their various plans as well, but the important thing is that we all learn from this is regardless of the plan you have it may not stay the same,” Barnes said. “It’s the ability to be able to adjust on the fly when you need to, to get through the situation.”