First responders train for active shooter incident


HARRISBURG, Pa (WHTM) – On the heels of two mass shootings, law enforcement, fire officials, and emergency medical services came together Friday for an active shooter training at Central Dauphin East High School.

It started with a briefing session in the auditorium. Then, the hands-on experience began with a plea for help to the dispatch enter.

“Got a call from the secretary who is frantic, saw a white male dressed in black carry a large black backpack through the main door, pulled out a handgun and started shooting,” a dispatch says. “At least 20 shots have been fired.”

The response is swift. Police run toward the gunfire, checking the hallways for victims.

“It was actually pretty scary. I was yelling to the point I was crying,” said Evynn Reider, who portrayed an injured student in the training.

“The simulated dummies and the people running out screaming brings it to real life, a different aspect to the training level,” Swatara Township police Corporal Eric Moyer said.

The shooters are cornered. Shots are fired. The two suspects are taken into custody.  

“It’s a very beneficial exercise because PSP and local departments, we don’t get to train together, so this is a great opportunity to work on our communication skills, tactical entries,” state police Trooper Donald Davis said.

“We have firefighters EMS, police that they are all talking together, working together with incident command,” Swatara Township public safety director Darrell Reider said.

“We combined all those into a unified command concept. We are able to quickly move a lot easier. We are able to access the victims and get them out quicker,” Lower Paxton Township public safety director Adam Kosheba said.

“It’s inevitable something is going to happen. At least in this area, we will be prepared,” said Jason Campbell, chief of South Central EMS.

“I think this is the only way we are going to solve the problems we’d run into on an actual emergency, is to try it in a simulation or exercise most real as you can make it,” Colonial Park Fire Company Chief John Fogg said.

“We were able to see a lot of success and some failures, but we saw with a controlled environment we can address those things in the future,” said Gabriel Olivera, Director of Safety and Security at Central Dauphin School District.

Reider says a new thing happening is law enforcement is asking fire and EMS personnel to go into an active shooting incident with police to triage people so they can save lives.

Valerie Pritchett served as media on the scene, asking questions during the exercise. This is ongoing training and we will continue to follow it.

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