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Active shooter training helps officers prepare for worst

Posted at 5:48 PM, Aug 01, 2023

WEST JORDAN, Utah — In one of the first large-scale training operations since the pandemic, multiple agencies from across Salt Lake County took part in an active shooter and critical incident drill, part of training for a scenario they hope to never have to use.

While the drill was held at West Jordan Elementary School, the training was not just to prepare for school shootings but for any situation where many people may be in danger.

“We’re basically taking units from around the valley, practicing our response to an active shooter or critical incident event,” said Capt. Justin Young with the West Jordan Fire Department.

Police, fire and EMS agencies practiced how they would respond and treat victims.

“We’re really trying to step up our game in getting our fire and EMS personnel inside and to the victims of these events as quickly as we can,” said Young.

The drill was to help coordinate efforts with fire and EMS, instead of previous protocols which historically would have units waiting at a staging area while law enforcement is neutralizing a threat.

“We’ve realized over the last decade or so that that’s not working,” explained Young. “So for about the last 12 years we have been training all fire and EMS personnel within the Salt Lake County area; how to respond directly after that threat has been taken care of. or in some instances, when the threat is still active.”

The training is key if these agencies find themselves facing down danger in just about any setting.

“The techniques that are practiced here at a school translate into a mall or a large office building," Young said, "translate even to an open air environment."

Young added that Tuesday's training was one of the first large-scale drills with multiple agencies.

“This is kind of the restart of trying to get large groups together, all of our responders together, and really kind of hash out that response plan of how we can get in and take care of victims.”

The goal is to have the skills, but the hope is to never need to use them.

“We’re out here training, we’re out here working and doing what we can always in an effort to be ready," said Young. "That’s our job, that’s what we do.”