Emergency workers train for active assailant situation.

May 22, 2018

Emergency workers train for active assailant situation.


By Allison Scarbrough, Editor.

SHELBY — Oceana County emergency personnel received intense training in an active assailant situation during a mock disaster at Shelby Road Baptist Church Tuesday, May 22.

It was the first time an active assailant training event of this magnitude occurred in Oceana County.

Several different agencies and organizations participated, including Oceana County EMS, the Shelby-Benona Fire Department, the Oceana County Sheriff’s Office, the Hart post of the Michigan State Police, the Shelby Police Department, Oceana County Emergency Management, Mason-Oceana 911, Mercy Health Lakeshore Campus in Shelby, Region 6 Homeland Security, victims assistance volunteers through the sheriff’s office as well as emergency management officials from other counties.

Also involved were volunteer citizens who acted as victims of a mass shooting. They had theatrical makeup applied to give the appearance of injuries. The shooters were also role players.

Citizens were church members, local high school students and Citizen Emergency Response Team (CERT) members.

Bright yellow signs that said “Exercise in Progress” were positioned around the exterior of the church to let passersby know it was not a real emergency.

“Everybody here from a public safety standpoint feels it was an overwhelming success,” said Oceana County Undersheriff Ryan Schiller. “For the first time putting on a scenario-based exercise with this many agencies, everyone worked tremendously well with one another.”

“The active training and preparedness can be taken from the church environment, school or any other commercial building,” Schiller said. “This exercise could not have taken place without all of the different disciplines committing their resources for the day.

“I believe that all the agencies participating today wish to see this shared county-wide,” the undersheriff said. It may be an event that occurs annually or even quarterly.

Oceana County Emergency Management Coordinator James Duram said the hands-on training is required by the State of Michigan by statute.

It’s great practice for the many agencies to work cohesively in a disaster situation. “The different jurisdictions get together and work as a team,” said Duram.

The emergency crews worked on four different assailant scenarios throughout the afternoon and then were de-briefed after each exercise to hone their skills. In the first situation, two shooters went on a violent rampage, yelling “bang bang” as they “shot” their victims. Four people “died,” and several were “wounded.”

“We’re very grateful to Shelby Road Baptist Church for allowing us to use the entire facility and campus,” Schiller said.

This story is copyrighted © 2018, all rights reserved by Media Group 31, LLC, PO Box 21, Scottville, MI 49454. No portion of this story or images may be reproduced in any way, including print or broadcast, without expressed written consent.


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