Members of Prattville’s first responders conducted active shooter exercises at a local school Wednesday.
Faculty at Prattville Christian Academy (PCA) stood side by side with the Prattville Mayor and first responders from the Prattville Police Department (PPD) and the Prattville Fire Department (PFD) to discuss the security of local schools.
“Our hope and our goal is for this to never happen here, but should it happen, we feel confident that we are going to be prepared and ready to respond in the appropriate manner,” said PPD Captain James Harry.
With mass shootings happening across the nation, school safety and preparedness have been priorities for municipalities.
Although the media was not permitted to observe the drills, Harry assured the media that school resource officers and educators were able to learn valuable skills in dealing with a possible emergency situation. He also emphasized the necessity of community involvement.
“Prevention is key, so if you see something, say something,” Harry said. “I know we say that almost to the point of exhaustion, but you can’t emphasize that enough. It’s a team effort. We rely on everybody; we need your help. So if you see somebody that just doesn’t seem right, we are more than happy to look into that.”
Harry said preparedness should be a priority for families in and out of school.
“You can be at church, a place of business, the grocery store; this can happen anywhere,” Harry said. “This can happen anywhere.”
While Harry emphasized the response to active shooters through the traditional “run, hide, fight" approach, other attendant first responders stressed the importance of medical training and preparedness.
Deputy Chief Josh Bingham with PFD said his department emphasized the need for medical response in a mass casualty event.
“This is something that we don’t ever want to respond to, but we want to make sure that if we do have to respond to something like this, that our guys and girls are as prepared as much as they possibly can be,” Bingham said.
Bingham recommended that individuals and institutions receive proper training on emergency medical care and the appropriate use of implements designed to stop bleeding.
“In situations like these, time is critical,” Bingham said. “Losing blood is one of the major factors of loss of life in an event like this. So, it's critical to have that training to know how to apply the tourniquet or to apply pressure to stop the bleeding.”
Prattville Mayor Bill Gillespie attended the event and lauded the participants for their efforts.
“We all know that gun violence and crime: it’s out there,” Gillespie said.” “While Prattville is a very safe community, we need to be prepared, and Prattville is prepared."
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