Edited Kelli Petersen, MBA
The RVUCOM-SU campus participated in an active shooter training to help University employees and first responders practice how to respond to this type of emergency. The exercise lasted about three hours and was conducted in the interior and exterior of the building. The purpose of the exercise was to assess and increase the ability of RVU’s Security Team and other local entities to efficiently and effectively respond to an manage an active shooter event.
Terry Meyer, Supervisor of Public Safety and Security,, worked with a number of agencies over several weeks to arrange the training. Employees were briefed beforehand and informed that they must decide whether to run (evacuate) or shelter-in-place; fighting was not an option in the exercise scenario. Employees were evaluated and feedback was offered to improve processes.
The training included a simulated active shooter wearing camouflage and a bulletproof vest who shot blanks inside the building and engaged with police officers during the exercise. One goal of the training was to teach officers how to multitask and deal with distractions during an emergency. As officers entered the building, they discovered actors who were “wounded” on the ground, crying and asking for help.
The active shooter training scenario was acted out approximately a dozen times, as there were more than 20 officers who entered the building in pairs. Each time the scenario was run, police officers searched for the shooter and apprehended him. Once the police had managed the situation and cleared the building, the fire department and emergency medical services trainees came in to practice triage and tend to the “wounded” actors. First responders practiced locating the most critically injured patients in order to treat them first. Two of the victims were actually loaded into the Intermountain Life Flight and Mercy Air (Nevada) helicopters that flew in for the event.
The drill was a valuable learning experience for RVU employees and participants from various agencies. While mistakes were made during the drill, a debriefing following the drill allowed participants to process these mistakes and actions that can be taken in the future to increase the effectiveness of participants’ responses.