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Local agencies participate in active shooter drill

MISHAWAKA, Ind. – A full-scale active shooter drill at Penn Harris Madison High School will help law enforcement officers and first responders make sure they are prepared for a real emergency.

The drill has been in the works for about a year. It will simulate an active shooter situation at an after school event. 

St. Joseph County Police, Penn Township Fire Department, Clay Fire Department, Mishawaka Police Department, Mishawaka Fire Department, St. Joseph County Emergency Management, Memorial Hospital, Elkhart General Hospital, St. Joseph Medical System, St. Joseph County 911 Center, South Bend Fire Department and Honeywell Security Group will all participate. 

Chief Bill Thompson with St. Joseph County Police says this drill is unique by allowing the hospitals to also practice their response, but that’s only one part of the full-scale training. 

"Everything from communications and calls for help, to how we respond, how we engage a threat, how we secure an area,” said Thompson. “And in this case how we actually transport patients and how those patients are treated once they get to area trauma centers and hospitals."

The drill started at 9 a.m. Monday and lasted several hours.

Thompson says they will continue to make sure their emergency response is up to date. 

"Anytime there's a change in the way we can provide the service, or anytime there's an appreciable change in the way we have to respond to a certain kind of violator based on what's happening elsewhere across the country and around the world, then we'll absolutely adjust our plans and practice them accordingly,” he said.

Participants also practiced a new policy where medical personnel enter the scene earlier with police escorts.

Officials have found that the number one cause of death for victims is bleeding out because help doesn't arrive fast enough.

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