GRAND LEDGE, Mich. — You can never fully prepare for situations like school shootings, but at Grand Ledge High School, the tri-county area emergency services came together to conduct an active violence training to prepare themselves the best way possible.
Screams and pleads for help filled the hallways of Grand Ledge High School as volunteers acted out an active shooter situation. Along with fake blood and tears as police, fire and EMS searched through the school treating faux gunshot victims and targeting the portrayed gunman.
Robert Block, Eaton County Sheriff's Office Field Services Division captain, says they really went the extra mile for this training.
"We have upwards of 100 different actors that have been invited and are here. You know, like you've seen from some of the video inside, we have artists that dress the people up to make them look very realistic. We have smoke machines, it's the same stuff that Hollywood uses when they do their stuff. We're trying to make this as real as possible," Block said.
Following the scenario, there was a mock news conference to give law enforcement the opportunity to work through proper press protocol. This type of training is giving Eaton County Emergency Services the chance to work through communication barriers by testing out ideas already in place like the Rave app, for example.
"Eaton County schools use what's called this the Rave app, so we can communicate with teachers directly in the classroom, that's always been a hard thing," said Block.
It is also helping Grand Ledge Public Schools staff be more prepared to protect their students during the school year. A lesson that is important to the new superintendent, Dr. Bill Barnes.
"Our very first job in a school district is to make sure that we create an environment where students are safe, so that they can learn and that they can grow and that they can achieve their goals," Dr. Barnes says. "So as a superintendent, it's my job to make sure that we have programs and policies and practices in place that meet the needs of all of our kids. And in order to do that part of a big part of it is creating a safe environment. So a space that's emotionally safe, and also a space that's physically safe."
Emergency responders say safety trainings, like this one, are becoming increasingly important. Grand Ledge Public Schools says it wants to both protect and inform students and parents of proper safety practices.
"So it's number one, we very much value our relationship with our first responders, our law enforcement, our medical community and our fire and emergency services," Dr. Barnes said. "And so this is a great opportunity for us to partner with them, to make sure that our schools are safe, and to make sure that our schools are secure, so that our students have the opportunity to learn."
Eaton County Emergency Services say they will continue to work with area school districts to ensure students will be safe for this upcoming school year and years to come.
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