Southern Maine High School Hosting Active Shooter Response Training

Southern Maine High School Hosting Active Shooter Response Training

Law enforcement, emergency responders, school officials and students will take part in an active shooter training exercise at Deering High School in Portland, Maine, on Friday and Saturday.

Deering High School in Portland, Maine, will host an active shooter training exercise for emergency responders, law enforcement, school officials and students on Friday and Saturday. The training will be conducted by the District II Training Council and the Portland Police Department at the campus after classes are dismissed Friday and during the day Saturday.

“The goal of this is to better prepare us to respond to an active assailant type of call. We fully recognize (that) when we get this type of call, no individual department has all the resources needed to handle the response,” said Gorham Deputy Police Chief Christopher Sanborn, who coordinates training exercises for District II.

Sanborn said the training exercise will begin with a briefing at about 3 p.m. Friday before moving onto practical exercises that deal with entry and building control tactics and emergency medical practices. Saturday’s exercise will begin at 9 a.m., with participants simulating an active assailant situation. Police will practice response tactics and senior officers will take part in a tabletop exercise.

According to Sanborn, about 35 high school and community college students have volunteered to play students in the exercise. Counselors will be available, just as they would in an actual assault incident, for the participating students and officers in case they’re needed.

Portland Police Sgt. Dan Hayden said fliers were being delivered in the neighborhood to alert residents that the exercise would be taking place. There will also be a reverse 911 call to inform residents who are signed up for those notifications.

Hayden said most of the activity will take place inside the school building, though residents may see activity such as ambulances, police cars and fire engines Saturday morning.

“If people hear noise or a shooting sound coming from the building, they shouldn’t worry. We are doing an active shooter training. It is not real-world,” he said.

Hayden said the exercise will help first responders react in an active shooter incident and help participants of the exercise learn what local, regional, state and federal resources would be needed. Local police and fire departments, school officials, the FBI, the Office of the State Medical Examiner and the Maine Attorney General’s Office will be among those participating in the training.

The active assailant scenario training is expected to finish by midmorning Saturday. It will be followed by a debriefing where participants will be asked to evaluate the training, and a follow-up meeting will go over those responses later, Sanborn said.

Sanborn said there is always a need for more training when it comes to something like an active assailant scenario.

“These type of incidents are happening all the time and this is something where our plans have to constantly be updated,” he said. ‘The more we plan, the more we train together, the better we can respond to an incident should we find ourselves in that position.”

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