|Deputies Jarod Curtis and KC Alton make their entry into the high school.|
The Emery High drama department joined with the Emery County Sheriff's Office emergency response team for training recently at Emery High.
The drama students spent time developing a scenario for the training and the EMTs also helped them with realistic wounds.
The mock scene included four shooters who had taken hostages for an unknown reason. Two of the hostages were also hooked up to bombs.
The responders met at the school and the first team made a dynamic entry into the building. The first sweep of the building is to try and locate the shooters and take them out to make sure they are no longer a threat.
The second team in does a more thorough search of the building, checking every room and behind every door. Sgt. Tom Harrison coordinated the search from in the building. He said, "The goal is to go in and get the shooter and take him out. In this scenario, three deputies were killed because they failed to check behind a door. The shooter was hiding and shot them as they entered the boy's bathroom. The deputies then shot him. In this mock drill a number of students were killed. The third team that comes in has the medical personnel with them and they evaluate the condition of those injured. One of the doctors felt in this scenario the care to those injured was really delayed because of the number of victims and shooters. One of the EMTs described the scene as a controlled mess and very overwhelming. The students involved said they felt abandoned because it took so long to get them help," said Sgt. Harrison.
"It was really hard to communicate with each other at first because of the fire alarms going off. But, then communication became better. It's really important to be able to get a clear understanding of what's going on inside and let those coordinating from outside know what's going on," said Sgt. Dusty Butler.
Sheriff Guymon said it takes time to properly secure the building, but in the end it pays off.
|Emery County EMT, David Bird assists one of the victims in the mock disaster exercise.|
The students complained that the deputies were rude because it seemed they ignored the injured. Sgt. Harrison said the kids did an awesome job and the deputies were just reacting as they have been trained. The scene was very realistic and overwhelming.
The EMTs were able to see the types of supplies they would need in the event of a large tragedy. They ran out of some items on the ambulance from treating so many injured. The scenario pointed out the need for a well stocked ambulance. They also saw the importance of walkie-talkies so they could communicate the needs of the injured.
The mock bombs included in this training exercise required special care. Capt. Kyle Ekker is the member of the sheriff's office with the most training for bomb retrieval and deactivation. The Utah County bomb squad was able to purchase equipment with a grant and remains the only bomb squad in the state. They respond to all types of bomb and emergency situations. In the event of an actual bomb they would be notified and their expertise called upon to defuse the situation.
Capt. Ekker said it would be his job to keep the person safe until the bomb squad could arrive. "We would fly them in from Utah County, but they would still be an hour or two away from the emergency situation. In a large emergency situation we would call for help from Carbon County. Lifeflight would be notified, fixed wing planes and all of the ambulances in our county which include one in Huntington, Ferron and Emery; two in Castle Dale and three in Green River. Every available unit would respond to the scene," said Capt. Ekker.
"Each time we have one of these trainings, we see where we need to improve. This training went smoother and the scenarios help determine where we will focus our training. We still need better communications. We need better equipment and radios. Throat microphones are especially useful in these situations, because the deputy can give an ongoing account of what's going on without losing the use of his hands. He can continue searching and whatever he needs to be doing while updating the incident commander outside the building. If we could get more of these throat microphones, that would be really helpful.
"In a real emergency situation each of our deputies would respond. When the smoke detectors went off it made the scene very disturbing. Each situation is different and we teach every officer the basics. But, the emergency team also receives specialized training. We need practice. This team works good, but we need to work better. It was really chaotic, but the team responded well," said Sheriff Guymon.
Sgt. Harrison thanked the EMTS, Sue Copinga and Marty Wilson for the moulage and helping the students set up the scenario.
Those students involved in the scenario included: Paul Arnold, Bruce Bell, Lacey Branson, April Bulkley, Tawny Conder, Nicholas Cox, Holly Damron, Trax Decker, Rebecca Doria, Klint Eastman, Jacie Fasselin, Eve Guymon, Jessica Hill, Jasha Hinkins, Shaylie Huntington; Derek Jensen, Michael Jensen, Tawn Jewkes, Krystal Justice, Tiffany Larsen, Laurel Lemon, Shiann Nicholes, Meagan Ouzts, Shala Pitchforth, Kevin Powell, Katie Reynolds, Jackie Rogers, LynDee Rogers, Kyla Staley, Alexis Swasey, Leslie Urie, Shontelle Weaver, Ashlin White and Charlotte Withers.