SEMMES, Ala. (WKRG) — The Mobile County Public School System, along with both Semmes and Mobile County first responders collaborated with student volunteers to conduct a real-life active shooter training at Semmes Middle School on Friday morning.
The training was to evaluate and make sure the emergency plans they have in place are practical before students in Mobile County return to their desks next week.
The University of South Alabama’s air medical transportation and other first responders brought out their equipment and simulated weapons for the purpose of making this training as realistic as possible.
“Every school has there own operations plan that we practice in-house routinely but it’s always great to get the outside agencies to come in and help us to evaluate those plans because they’re the ones who will be responding in the event of an actual emergency,” said MCPSS Director of Safety and Security, Andy Gatewood.
Since Semmes is still in the works of establishing their own police department, Mobile County Sheriff’s Office stepped in to help conduct the training.
Mobile County Sheriff’s Office Captain, Paul Burch, says they hope to never have to implement this training. Nonetheless, they wanted to prepare, train and be on the same page in case of an emergency.
“We try to make it as realistic as possible and because you don’t know how someone is really going to react to hearing gun fire and we try to simulate as much realistic gun fire as we can,” said Captain Burch.
Rena Philips, a spokesman for the Mobile County Public School System, was inside the building while first responders performed various scenarios they might encounter, such as a frustrated parent wanting to enter the school during an emergency.
She also heard the screaming reactions of students and said it was pretty intense.
“It was very real inside there and as a mom it breaks your heart to have to practice this but I know we’re in good hands,” said Philips. “We have the best law enforcement, the best resource officers and personnel and we’re going to do everything we can to keep the children safe.”
Although this is the first active shooter training for Semmes Middle School, Captain Burch said they plan to conduct more trainings across Mobile County in the near future.