Welcome to Hutch Post’s new feature series "A Day in the Life." We've gone behind the scenes to see what "a day in the life" is like for some of Reno County's busiest shops, factories and businesses. We'll show the inner workings of facilities you may pass every day, to finally see what goes on inside. From boilers to donuts, join us as we learn how things are designed and produced right here in Reno County with "A Day in the Life." This series will be posted every other Sunday morning.
This is a special edition of A Day in the Life. With the start of the school year and recent events involving shootings at schools, we thought this would be a chance for you to see, and know, that local law enforcement is working to help protect students if such an event occurred. While it is unfortunate that such training is necessary, we wanted you to see what is being done in Hutchinson and Reno County to keep schools safe. This edition does contain video of law enforcement using live rounds with soft bullets to simulate real-life situations. Please note this is a real simulation and the video does contain simulated victims and real-life situations, some of which are graphic. Parts of the exercise are being left out intentionally to avoid disclosing tactical information that keeps officers safe.
By ROD ZOOK
HUTCHINSON, Kan. — Area law enforcement, Reno County EMS and Hutchinson Fire take time each year to conduct active shooter training in area schools. The exercise, done each year at various locations, helps officers prepare for such an event by putting them through various scenarios. The Hutchinson Fire Department was brought in to help train them on responding to numerous injuries and to triage such events.
The training starts out with a briefing for all personnel. At that briefing, all parties talk about how to respond to an active shooter, what the appropriate techniques are going to be, how to set up a triage area for injuries, and how victims can be rescued and removed from the building. The goal is to have a full picture of what will take pace if such a situation arises.
After that briefing, the individual units go into a breakout session to discuss their specific component of the exercise. For law enforcement, that includes single and team movement drills. Changes in how law enforcement reacts to active shooter situations has led law enforcement to evolve into a single-man response to an active shooter. That change came about from the shooting at Excel Industries in Hesston.
Hutchinson Police Chief Jeff Hooper says law enforcement used to wait and call in a SWAT team or form a multi-officer pattern before entering a building. Now, any officer, even if it’s just one, will enter the building and, if possible, diffuse the situation. It's a change brought on by the need to stop the shooter as quickly as possible. Simulated ammunition is used in the training.
As law enforcement works to secure areas of the building, the fire department works on extraction of victims. Law enforcement will walk around such injuries in an effort to get to the shooter as quickly as possible, but still make sure the fire department can extract a victim safely. It is a delicate balance of moving quickly, but ensuring that everyone is secured.
The action taken by law enforcement can change moment-to-moment if actual gunfire is taking place or begins. Once shooting starts, officers know there is a particular threat in that area and will move as quickly as possible.
The exercise also goes over how to deal with what are, understandably, upset parents or guardians of students. Chief Hooper wanted to stress that he can surely understand how parents would react to such a situation. He stresses that parents or guardians should not try to rescue their children. With the high-charged situation going on, it is likely that a parent in the building could be mistaken for a suspect and not a victim. The practice is for parents or guardians to gather at a designated rally point so they and their children can be accounted.
While this exercise was all about the schools, law enforcement will also provide such training and situational awareness to any business, church or manufacturer that wants it. Hooper wanted to stress that they are doing everything they can to keep schools safe from any type of threat.
We would like to offer our sincere thanks to the Hutchinson Police Department, the Reno County Sheriff's Department, EMS and Hutchinson Fire for letting us be a part of this exercise. We hope you can see this edition of A Day in the Life as informative in knowing that law enforcement is training for such situations.
If your business would like to be a part of A Day in the Life, just contact Rod Zook at 620-259-7396 or email him at [email protected].