Drill Prepares Responders For Shooting
"Somebody just started shooting. We've got a lot of people injured. We need somebody here now."That was the phone call to 911 that started the drill. It was part of an exercise at Wheeler-Sack Army Airfield on Fort Drum. The objective was to prepare soldiers for how they would deal with someone who's armed and dangerous, what they call an active-shooter scenario. "We do this to be prepared," Fort Drum Plans and Exercise Officer John Simard said, "so that if it does happen here, we've got a very well-synchronized and coordinated team. Soldiers from the 10th Combat Aviation Brigade played the victims, suffering from gunshot wounds to the face, back and more. Fake blood made it more realistic and the training more effective. The drill had a few surprises for law enforcement, including a suspicious bag left by the shooter. "There's an anarchist cookbook in here," Simard said. "He's got some potential supplies for explosives so that'll get things going for, 'Hey, maybe he's got some explosives with him.'" To start, things are chaotic. Then, the ambulances arrive and emergency responders treat gunshot wounds, secure the area, and get the victims in an ambulance. The victims are taken to Carthage Area Hospital or to Samaritan Medical Center in Watertown. "We go through the complete motions," Carthage Hospital's emergency preparedness coordinator Thomas Jaconski said. "We bring them in and they're triaged and everything here." The exercise was a joint effort between Fort Drum and the hospitals it relies on, so if the unthinkable were to happen, they'll be ready.