WEST MILTON — Staff at Milton Union schools spent Thursday morning with law enforcement officers from multiple areas conducting active shooter training.
Thursday, Oct. 27, was a work day for the Milton Union teachers and the district decided to take advantage of not having students in the building to run a realistic active shooter drill.
Officers from West Milton and Union City Police Departments, Miami County Sheriff’s Office deputies and Union Township EMS all participated in the training Thursday morning. The exercise was not only for the teachers and staff in the Milton Union School District, but for the law enforcement and EMS as well.
This is the first time the school has conducted a training drill of this scale. The drill involved about 12 volunteer high school students to participate as victims during the drill with gunshot blanks discharged by law enforcement officers. Having shots fired within the school made the drill more realistic and allowed staff to learn what gunshots in the school would sound like to help them identify an active shooter situation should it occur.
The deputies and officers involved took extra precautions before running the drill by removing all live ammo and weapons from their person before entering.
For the drill, teachers were sent to their classrooms or wherever they typically are during a normal school day. The drill started off with gunshots signaling teachers to make the split second decision based on the location of the “shooter” that was signaled via the school’s PA system.
Teachers have two choices in an active shooter situation: lock down in place, or evacuate and get to the school’s predetermined safe meeting place. Despite only having two choices, there are multiple factors to consider. Could the shooter have made it to a completely different location in the few seconds following the announcement; could they make it out safely with the 20-plus students they are responsible for; and overall, what is the best way to keep the kids and themselves safe?
The active shooter drill gave teachers an opportunity gain a better understanding of what it is like to make a split second, life-altering decision.
While this training gave teachers a learning opportunity, it also helped law enforcement. During the drill, law enforcement were able to add onto their already existing training.
Those who were there Thursday morning were able to practice clearing such a large building and learn from any mistakes before ending up as fatal mistakes in a real active shooter situation. Thursday was a good example of this, during the debrief after the drill Deputy Brian Lyons, a Miami County Sheriff’s deputy assigned to Milton Union Schools, pointed out law enforcement had missed a back hallway and the library when clearing the building — which is one of the reasons why these drills are done.
Another aspect of the drill included volunteer students from the high school. The students were given labels describing their injuries: broken bones; unconscious or DOA (dead on arrival); and were placed by law enforcement throughout the main training areas. The “injured” students were helpful in training the EMS workers who were at the training. They were able to come in and practice assessing a patient in a volatile situation and practice determining which victims can help themselves out of the building and which need assistance via gurney.
Overall, the drill was a success. It allowed both school staff and law enforcement to better understand the possibilities of an active shooter situation and what they can do to help keep themselves and the students safe.
“Our goal is to eventually get to where we have the kids involved, yes. Baby steps to get all of the staff on board and make sure everybody understands what they’re doing and then, yes, we want to get the kids involved. Part of the purpose of this was to get EMS, fire and all of the other agencies that could be involved, this is the first time we’ve had EMS involved. Each time we do this we want to have EMS, fire and all those involved as well because in a real situation we’re going to have them all coming so we want to be able to have that opportunity to talk to them and for them to actually role-play and see what this is about,” said West Milton’s Chief of Police Doyle Wright.