Police, firefighters train for active shooter at school

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 31 May 2014 at 12:00 am

Mass casualty drill trains responders to limit chaos as much as possible

Photos by Tom Rivers

MEDINA – About 25 police officers and 25 firefighters and medics spent several hours this morning at Medina Central School, training for an active shooter drill with mass casualties.

Members of a multi-agency SWAT team are pictured outside the Clifford Wise Intermediate/Middle School before the start of a drill this morning. It was the largest mass casualty drill in the county’s history.

Tom Drennan, chief deputy for the Orleans County Sheriff’s Department, gives firefighters some last-minute instructions about the drill, where 10 people were role playing as victims.

Drennan has been working with police and firefighters for more than a year on mass casualty and active shooter training. Drennan said recent school shootings in the country prompted local law enforcement to press for training to improve their response to try to minimize any chaos and casualties.

Corey Black, an investigator with the Sheriff’s Department, talks with police officers before the drill began. Black said the training will be helpful for responders at any larger location in the country with dozens of people, including schools, factories and government buildings.

“Denial is what gets people hurt,” Black said.

Police officers enter Medina High School and put the building in lock down.

School officials from several districts in the county observed the drill. Michael Cavanagh, Medina High School co-principal, role plays with an injury near the front entrance to the high school.

Drennan, the chief deputy, said the drill will be critiqued.

“We’ll see what we’re strong at and what we need to improve,” he said.

Mercy Flight flew in with a helicopter as part of the drill that included many medics and firefighters. (This photo was taken by Valerie Childs.)