EVERETT, Wash. - With police and emergency crews huddled over computer screens running a virtual simulation, training this morning looked more like a video game.
But the subject matter is much more serious.
The simulation running at Everett’s arena included a set up press conference and debriefs meant to portray an active shooter at a courthouse with multiple casualties.
“With these simulations, we have the ability to create different scenarios, so we can practice different sorts of emergencies,” said Don Schwab with the Everett Fire Department.
About a dozen agencies from King, Snohomish, and Pierce Counites are taking part in the three-day series, funded by DHS and FEMA grants.
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Bill Godfrey, a retired fire chief now running the company taking over these simulations, says police agencies excel today at taking down the shooter.
It’s the follow-up that needs refinement.
“Ninety percent of these events are over in 10 minutes or less. Which is an important benchmark to keep in mind. Where we struggle as an industry sometimes is switching gears from taking down the bad guy to rescuing the injured,” Godfrey said.
The region is no stranger to the real situation. One only has to look at the Marysville-Pilchuck High School shooting, and the Burlington Mall shooting two years ago.
God forbid you find yourself near an active shooter, Godfrey says your first instinct should be to run, then to block them.
“Try to make it difficult for them to get to you. Locked door. Barricade it with furniture, whatever the case may be. The last resort is ‘be prepared to fight.’” Godfrey said.
These emergency agencies are training to come to your aid if it were to ever come to that.
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