Emergency responders will take part in ‘active shooter’ drill

It is a drill.

Warren County emergency responders will conduct an “active shooter” training exercise Saturday, June 7, at Youngsville High School.

It is only a drill.

Warren County School District officials, law enforcement, emergency management, and emergency medical responders will participate in the drill.

There will be separate law enforcement and emergency medical classroom training throughout the morning. The groups will get together for collective training shortly before noon.

The drill will begin around 1 p.m. with a 911 call and report of “shots fired in the school.” Emergency sirens will sound. UPMC is providing technical expertise and equipment for the drill, according to Warren County EMS Training Director Scott Rose.

Some of the specifics of the drill were discussed at a planning meeting Tuesday morning in Youngsville, but those organizing the drill are keeping a lid on the details to make it more realistic. In a real emergency, the first to arrive would have to act on limited information about the incident.

Officials stress that the training is pro-active and is not in response to any situation or threat.

“There is no threat,” Public Safety Director Todd Lake emphasized.

“It’s a joint exercise for a critical incident,” U.S. Forest Service Special Agent Bill Mickle said. “These are drills that are done across the country all the time.”

“We’re going to have a significant exercise in each one of our attendance areas,” Quality Assurance Supervisor Boyd Freeborough said. Not every exercise will involve an active shooter situation.

“Some states mandate” this sort of training, he added. “We’re doing it on our own.”

The training will involve units from all over the county and possibly beyond. Responders who would not be the first at the scene should still be familiar with each area in case they are called on to control traffic and crowds or for some similar duty.

Emergency management officials expect that, in a real crisis, the E-911 Center would receive a high volume of calls.

Communications traffic will be part of the exercise and citizens with questions about the situation are asked to contact the non-emergency phone line, 563-3500.

Most of the action will take place inside the school. Law enforcement officials will carry “no real weapons whatsoever” into the school for the drill, Mickle said.

Spectators are asked to stay back. Streets will be blocked off and officials will be checking the perimeter.