Summit County Government

Posted on: May 28, 2015

Summit County to Conduct Mass Casualty Incident Exercise June 3

Emergency response agencies will participate in a simulated school shooting at Summit Middle School on Wednesday

Contact:
Joel Cochran, Director, Summit County Emergency Management
970-423-8911, jcochran@co.summit.co.us

SUMMIT COUNTY – The Summit County Office of Emergency Management will conduct a large-scale mass casualty incident exercise on the afternoon of Wednesday, June 3, at Summit Middle School. The exercise will serve as a training opportunity for more than 100 emergency responders, school district personnel and public officials in multiple agencies throughout the community.

Participating agencies will respond to a simulated large-scale mass casualty incident resulting from an active shooter inside the school. The exercise is designed to test real-time emergency response and coordination between multiple agencies. Emphasis will be placed on resource ordering, inter-agency communications, public information, school-to-family communication, patient reunification and incident management.

No students will be involved in the exercise. Students complete their school year on Tuesday, June 2, and will not be in the building. Select members of Summit Middle School staff will participate.

An active shooter is a person actively engaged in harming or attempting to harm people in a confined and populated area. In most cases, active shooters use firearms, and there is no pattern or method to their selection of victims.

“Our emergency responders in Summit County are highly skilled, and they’re out there every day protecting public health and safety,” Summit County Emergency Management Director Joel Cochran said. “But we use these kinds of exercises to test, assess and improve their resiliency for incidents that are much larger, more complicated and more stressful than they typically see in their day-to-day work.”

Large numbers of uniformed personnel and emergency vehicles will be in the vicinity of Summit Middle School throughout the day on June 3 and may be visible from Highway 9 in Frisco. Community members may receive test emergency alert messages via the Summit County Alert email and text messaging system during the afternoon.

“We certainly hope that a mass casualty incident like this never occurs in our community, but we have to ensure that we’re prepared, nonetheless,” Summit County Sheriff John Minor said. “And these exercises can also serve as reminders of the preparedness and prevention measures that members of the public can take.”

The Summit County Sheriff’s Office encourages community members to report any suspicious or threatening behaviors that could signal a potential shooting or other violent crime. Such behaviors and activities may include an unauthorized person inside a restricted area, a person bringing a weapon into a school building, a person collecting information about a building’s operations or security systems or a vehicle parked in an unusual location.

Summit School District encourages students to take advantage of Safe2Tell anytime they feel unsafe or have concerns about potential acts of violence. Safe2Tell is a resource designed specifically to help young people in Colorado report any threatening behaviors or activities that endanger themselves or someone they know, in a way that keeps them safe and anonymous. By calling 1-877-542-7233 or submitting a tip through www.safe2tell.org, young people can help anyone who is in trouble or prevent a tragedy. The reporting system is a statewide initiative of the Colorado Department of Law, Office of the Attorney General.

Though each active shooter situation is unique, there are common traits:
• Active shooters often go to locations where potential victims are close at hand, such as schools, shopping centers and workplaces. They are usually familiar with the location.
• Active shooters assault people with whom they come into contact, quickly engaging multiple targets.
• Active shooters may have a planned attack and may be prepared for confrontation with law enforcement.
• Active shooters typically continue their attack despite the arrival of emergency responders.

Agencies and organizations participating in Wednesday’s exercise include the Summit County Office of Emergency Management, the Summit County Sheriff’s Office, Summit School District, Summit County Ambulance Service, St. Anthony’s Summit Medical Center, Dillon Police Department, Silverthorne Police Department, Breckenridge Police Department, Frisco Police Department, Summit County Public Health, American Red Cross, the Summit County Coroner’s Office, the Summit County Communications Center (911 Dispatch), Red, White and Blue Fire District, Lake Dillon Fire-Rescue, Summit County Social Services and Mind Springs Health, among other partners.

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