Local first responders and Alexander City School officials will engage in an active shooter scenario for two hours Monday morning at Benjamin Russell.
The exercise is scheduled to start at 9 a.m. and is designed to simulate an active shooter in the school as realistically as possible for training purposes, according to Tallapoosa County Emergency Management Agency director Jason Moran, who said planning for the drill began in October.
Emergency vehicles will not only swarm the area around Benjamin Russell but also transport 12 victims to Russell Medical, Alexander City Fire Department Capt. Jeff Brewer said.
“Members of the public are asked to keep in mind a drill will be taking place that day and not to become alarmed if you see a large number of police and fire vehicles, as well as ambulances and other emergency response vehicles,” Alexander City Schools spokesperson Jessica Sanford said. “The same is true if you see emergency vehicles traveling on local streets to Russell Medical, which is part of the drill.”
A similar exercise was held in late May in Dadeville. In that drill, a man assaulted an employee at Dadeville Healthcare in an apparent domestic situation, left for the elementary school to pick up his child and, when confronted in the lunchroom, shot and killed two students and injured seven more. Realizing his child had been struck, the man went to Lake Martin Community Hospital and encountered officers there.
Sanford said an estimated 125 to 150 people will participate in the BRHS drill — some will wear makeup and play the role of injured victims and others will be fleeing the high school building.
Moran said an emphasis will be placed on treating victims at the scene.
“For years we have practiced a response to an event,” he said. “This year not only are we going to do that but also (practice) the scene prior to the hospital setting. We’ll be treating victims at the school. In a real-world event, a lot of people don’t make it due to the loss of blood. If we can get a teacher or student to start initial care to stop the bleeding, it would decrease the loss of life. I’m sure there will be things we’ll feel the need to improve on but there will be a lot of things done right also.”
Participating agencies include the Alexander City Police and Fire departments, Alexander City Schools, the Alexander City Rescue Squad, the Tallapoosa County Sheriff’s Office, the Tallapoosa County Emergency Management Agency, Russell Medical, the Red Cross and the Alabama Department of Public Health.
“The Alexander City Police Department will take the lead,” Moran said. “But in a live incident, first responders from all counties touching us and further would also be involved.”