Active Shooter Drill Discussed by Local Officials

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Carbon County Sheriff Jeff Wood and Emergency Manager Justin Needles visited the Carbon County Commission on Wednesday evening to discuss the recent active shooter drill hosted at Sally Mauro Elementary.

To begin, Sheriff Wood recognized Needles and his team. He stated that Needles puts in a large amount of time to ensure the events happen. The sheriff also explained to the commissioners that Needles has been passionate about getting involved with the schools and the active shooter drills.

It was also explained that multiple agencies, such as EMS, fire departments, Castleview Hospital, helicopter crews and more, were involved in the drill. Sheriff Wood then said that their local teams are “awesome at catching the bad guys,” but have weaknesses transitioning to what goes on beyond that, such as patient care, more of the sweep and less of the hunt.

He acknowledged that those are areas that the department are going to work on. Appreciation was also expressed to Commissioner Casey Hopes for attending the drill and giving well-noted observations. Each time the drills are conducted, they give the officials the opportunity to learn more about what the strengths and weaknesses are.

Needles worked for nearly a year to make the drill happen. He stated that, first and foremost, any time that they look and plan for an exercise, it is all based on objectives. First was communications, which meant familiarizing communications between all departments.

This can be a challenge as the departments all work on different channels and areas of improvement were identified there. Another objective was to quickly communicate with the public on the status and the progression of the incident. Next, the focus was on expediting treatment of the patients by utilizing tactics that would expedite transportation to Castleview Hospital. The hospital was given another shoutout for being willing to participate.

Needles then explained that Sally Mauro Elementary is not like some of the other local schools in terms of layout. With that in mind, there was a desire to get first responders into that school and familiarize them. Needles believed that some key-learning experiences in those scenarios occurred.

He thanked the community for being involved as well, saying there was about 100 volunteers in the school during the time. A partnership with local law enforcement and the Carbon School District was also acknowledged, with Sheriff Wood saying they were very supportive and committed.

“You keep a big dog in your yard, you keep strangers out,” Sheriff Wood stated.

Commission Chair Tony Martines thanked the duo for the training and applauded them for taking the steps to be ahead of a potentially frightening and dangerous situation. Commissioner Hopes said that the community should feel lucky because of the agencies. Needles concluded by stating that through the exercise, they like to go into detail and have a plan rather than ever have a response.

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