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Education/Training

Okla. EMS, Fire and Police Personnel Partake in Active Shooter Training

Aug. 29—A real-world style active shooter training for area first responders will be going on for a few weeks at the former Harris-Jobe Elementary School.

It's the first time certain agencies combined different kinds of training sessions to give it a "real world" feel, officials said.

Muskogee County Emergency Medical Service hosts a Pre-Hospital Trauma LIfe Support Training Session annually, said spokeswoman Rebecca Williamson. MCEMS has also practiced active shooter scenarios in the recent past, but not with other agencies.

"We thought why not combine the PHTLS with the active shooter training and bring it all together this year," Williamson said. "We try to make it as realistic as possible, and we are thankful to the school district for letting us use this building. This is amazing."

Health and nursing students from Indian Capital Technology Center, with instructor Wren Stratton, volunteered Monday as "victims" bespattered in fake blood and sporting fake wounds convincingly created with makeup by 12-year-old volunteer Laine Cole.

Muskogee Police Department's Special Operations Team members in full gear with guns and body armor, Wagoner police officers and Muskogee County Emergency Medical Service personnel navigated smoke-filled halls all afternoon rescuing "victims," containing the "shooter" and treating the "wounds."

Muskogee's Deputy Police Chief Chad Farmer said the training was helpful for his eight participants—particularly with communication between all the different emergency responders.

The police department's SOT members include several MCEMS first responders who put on tactical gear and go in buildings with them, he said.

But they haven't trained with the fire department and the first responders from MCEMS who typically don't enter what they call the "hot zone" in a dangerous situation.

"You can train alone, but until you have everybody in the mix you never know what's going to happen," Farmer said. "This helps us communicate better. It is hard to simulate a real-world situation, but we know it's going to be chaos. And we'd rather make a mistake here than the real deal."

Muskogee Fire Department Assistant Chief John Tipton said Monday's training was a first for Muskogee firefighters, but something his eight participants for this week's training found valuable.

"We are trying to find out what our role in an active shooter situation is, so we wouldn't be stumbling over each other," Tipton said.

Some school shootings in the past have included pipe bombs being thrown, causing fires and other situations the fire department was needed for on a dangerous scene, he said.

"It's good to get on the same page, so if something does happen, you won't be in the dark," Tipton said.

Muskogee Phoenix, Okla.

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