Tyler County LEPC Instructed on Active Shooter Scenarios
West Virginia Homeland Security Liaison Anyssa Greco recently gave a presentation to Tyler County Local Emergency Planning Committee members on active shooters and what to do if an active shooting was ever to occur in Tyler County. Grecco first described characteristics associated with active shooters. There is no set profile, but shooters have been described as socially standoffish. They may often be angry toward someone, or even out to seek revenge for an incident where they feel they were wronged. There is often a real or perceived feeling of loss by the shooter. Some of the triggering factors include victims of abuse, expression of violence, or expression of suicidal tendancies. Some of the warning signs include anger, paranoia, violent, suicidal, making online threats, and increase in drug or alcohol use.
Grecco stressed it is often difficult to prevent such a heinous act, so it is best the county be prepared for how to handle an event. There is certain protocol that must be followed in the event of an active shooter. The 911 dispatchers will receive the call and offer any help they can provide over the phone. The police are notified and are the first on scene to eliminate the threat. EMS and Fire personnel are then allowed to enter the building to treat the wounded and help the victims once the area has been cleared of any threats.
It was also noted the schools need to have a protocol in place for such an event. The protocol must be in compliance with the National Incident Management System, and protocol is to be continually updated. There is online training available at training.fema.gov/is/.
Grecco stressed that communication between schools and emergency workers be clear during an active shooting situation. Also, staff communication needs to be clear and precise. Once students have left the building, there will be a heightened sense of shock, and it can be easy to lose a student in the process. Therefore, it is suggested to have a reunification protocol once outside of the building. Students are advised to leave belongings behind, but teachers are advised to take their keys with them.
Once the incident happens, the building will be a crime scene, and no one will be allowed to enter – which could last for several hours, days or even weeks. Once the incident has happened, and it has been resolved, officials will review the incident to see what went wrong and to observe how people’s reactions were handled in order to help design better safety protocols for the future. Grecco added it is best for the schools to practice these protocols to make sure an incident is handled properly. She added there is a WV Fusion Center Suspicious Activity Reporting app that can be downloaded, which allows residents to report suspicious activity.
In other news, it was reported that the breathing air compressor and trailer are expected to be in by Sept. 19. Also, Search and Rescue training grants have been awarded, and the county has used approximately half of the allotted budget. The 2016 EMPG reimbursement request has been submitted to the state, and the paperwork has been completed for the 2017 reimbursement request.Also, it was reported the OEM applied for a 2018 Homeland Security grant but was denied. This was the first time the OEM had been denied, but there are some state funds available for training through Homeland Security.
It was noted FEMA has approved the the bid for the sheriff’s office generator and the county commissioners have signed off on it. Also, the Code Red public notification system is operational and has been tested, but the OEM is waiting on the test results. The WV National Guard has taken in the OEM’s air monitoring system to their base to make sure it is working properly. There are four units, and the National Guard will train the OEM once they receive the air monitors back.
In another matter, Aladdin Signs won the bid to install LED signs around the county, but there has been a delay in the project. The sign to be located at TCHS is now considered to be in the flood plain. The OEM will have the area surveyed to exactly determine the flood plain and will have to raise the sign accordingly.LEPC members were informed the Tyler County Search and Rescue Team held a compass course on Sept. 8, as well as a canine training in the old Sistersville High School. The team had to reschedule a lost person behavior class. The class offers incite to behaviors of people who are lost and provides very accurate results. It can even narrow down differences on how a lake fisherman would react differently than a fly fisherman.There are some classes that will be available through the WVU Fire School – Hazmat training, Radiation Awareness training, Hazmat Operations, Hazmat Technician Refresher, and Hazmat Technician. The times are yet to be determined.
In other matters:
It was noted there was a Blue Racer exercise held in late August that went very well. Also Miller Communications will be providing a SIRN Radio Communications workshop at the next LEPC meeting.
The updated Promulgation Page of the Emergency Operation Plan has been completed, and the Conaway Lake Dam plan has been completed.
The OEM is still waiting to hear a response in regards to the stream clean-up project. It seems the program is struggling to find qualified workers.
It was noted the OEM volunteered with the Tyler Consolidated Cross Country meet recently and provided water and help to the runners.
The breakfast for the month of September was sponsored by Proviron. The sponsor includes a $200 donation to the Tyler County Senior Citizens Center. The next scheduled LEPC meeting will be held on Oct. 4 beginning at 9 a.m. and located at the Tyler County Senior Citizens Center.