Screams of “Help Me!” could be heard reverberating down the hallways of Ashland Jr. High School, as the active shooter training began. Officers from the Ashland Police Division, and Deputies from the Ashland Sheriff’s Office teamed up with the Ashland Fire Department for a training session, that they all hope and pray, they will never have to respond to. Hopefully there will never be an active shooter incident in any of the Ashland Schools.
The training has lasted for two weeks. Through a request to the Ashland Police Division, I caught a glimpse of two hours, of some of that training.
Seconds are crucial. Officers know their response must be quick and precise. They know that every second counts, with the lives of our “most valuable assets,” our children hanging in the balance.
Teams entered the school in response to a mock call about an active shooter in the school. Teams were as small as four individuals, two law Enforcement and two Medics, working with other teams, to check room to room to find children.
Law Enforcement moved in to secure the building room by room, as medics would assess the victims. Multiple teams were working in unisons, carrying the mock victims out, and escorting the ones out, who were able to walk to safety. Actors from Calvary Baptist Church brought training to a new level with their realistic cries for help.
“Ashland City Schools understand that one of our most important tasks is keeping our students, staff, and families safe. “Unfortunately, in today’s society there is little predictability in any environment,” commented Ashland City School District Superintendent Steve Paramore. “Ashland City schools has strong partnerships with Ashland Police Department, Ashland Fire Department, Ashland County Sheriff’s Office, and the Ohio Highway Patrol and the Emergency Management Agency. Any opportunity that we have to let these agencies practice on our campuses, and prepare for any future emergency, is vital to the protection of our communities most valuable asset, and that is our students and children.”
Paramore went on to say, “We continue to be proud of the relationship we have with our first responders, and we want the community to know how seriously we take the safety of all of our stakeholders. We can’t thank our first responders and agencies enough for their buy in to our school system and keeping us safe. This is just another example of how the Ashland community takes care of its own.”
Chief of Ashland Police Division, David A. Lay said, “The importance of an inter-agency response to an active intruder event in our schools cannot be overstated. Quick and effective actions by first responders can save lives in these dangerous situations. The safety and well-being of our community's students, teachers, and staff are a top priority. Cooperation between local law enforcement and emergency medical services is critical in ensuring their welfare.”
Ashland County Sheriff, E. Wayne Risner stated, “Training is the key to insuring that our local Law Enforcement, and other public safety personnel are prepared to respond to an active shooter event, or other situations that could pose a danger to our children and or the school staff. Working and training together certainly increases the likelihood of a successful outcome. Moving forward, our goal is to continue expanding this type of training.”
Ohio Highway Patrol Ashland Post Commander, Lieutenant Brad Bishop stated, “Over the last two weeks, first responders from our community have conducted joint training exercises focusing on mass casualty and active threat incidents. This training has helped to further develop interagency cooperation and response. The safety and security of our schools is of the upmost importance and this is an example of some of the training we do to help ensure that safety. We are very fortunate to have a great first responder community in Ashland, and this training will certainly help keep all of us safer should the need arise to respond to a critical incident.”
Assistant Ashland Fire Department, Chief Ken Gardner commented, “The training exercise focused on the emergency response of an active shooter incident, in collaboration with state and local agencies. The exercise simulated the mitigation of an active shooter, and treatment and transport of the injured. These exercises help assure a coordinated and timely response in the event of any major incident.”
Austin Rissler, from the Calvary Baptist Church, who is also the Ashland Fire Departments chaplain, said, “The teens of Calvary Baptist Church were happy to take part in the active shooter training with our area law enforcement and medics. We appreciate the excellent job these men and women do in protecting our community, and we’re happy to play a small part in that today.”