Contact: Thomas Hottman
Local first responders came together for a unique training opportunity Tuesday at Oregon Institute of Technology as they and volunteers conducted an active shooter response drill on campus.
The event was complete with simulated injuries, medical transportation and efforts to neutralize the “gunman,” as organizers watched to learn where their groups need to improve.
Stuart Sockman, director of emergency management for OIT, said the drill revealed how important it is to plan and coordinate with partner agencies beforehand, from nailing down potential communication challenges to building a rapport.
“This was a test for our command structure, for our executive leadership group, and to think long term,” said Sockman.
During the event, volunteer students and faculty were staged throughout Owens Hall with varying levels of injury from an active shooter. Law enforcement from agencies including Klamath Falls Police, Oregon State Police and Klamath County Sheriff’s Office entered the building with disabled firearms and took out the gunman before clearing the building of other potential threats.
Medical personnel from Klamath County Fire District 1, Klamath County Fire District 4, Keno Fire District and Chiloquin Fire and Rescue followed close behind and started evaluating patients and staging a secure evaluation area within the building. Patients were then carried by hand or on stretchers by medical and police personnel to waiting ambulances, while other victims were instructed to walk directly to nearby Sky Lakes Medical Center to help test the hospital’s response capabilities.
Battalion Chief Erick Bishop, with District 1, said the raining was “extremely valuable” for his agency and said they hope to make the drill an annual event for both local and regional response groups.
“We want to be as prepared as possible for an actual event,” he said.
Volunteer victim Beth Beadling, a faculty member at the college’s nursing program through Oregon Health and Science University, said she would be glad to be part of future drills and said, though sobering, she enjoyed taking part in the event.
“I think, the better prepared we are, that’s a win for everybody,” she said.