First responders train for active shooter situation

MADISON COUNTY, Tenn. — First responders learned new skills Thursday that could help save a life during an active shooter situation.

Madison County sheriff’s deputies, Jackson police, firefighters, EMS and dispatchers participated Thursday in an active shooter training at the West Tennessee Regional Training Center.

“We’re trying to prepare for anything that may happen in the future,” Tennessee Office of Homeland Security Agent Chuck Willis said.

Willis is helping teach the class. “There are times in the past that everybody kind of does their thing, but nobody really works together,” he said.

Lt. Joseph Gill, with the Madison County Sheriff’s Office, said for the first time ever to his knowledge, all of these agencies trained together on how to handle an active shooter.

“We have to be able to communicate police to fire, fire to police, EMS to fire and so on and so forth,” Gill said.

Firefighters, paramedics and dispatchers learned how law enforcement respond. “They’ll be training to come in right behind us, directly behind,” Gill said.

Police get some medical training. “Just be able to know what every agency’s capabilities are and how they go about doing things,” Jackson Police Department Capt. Jeff Shepard said.

The goal is to work together to save lives. “We don’t want to meet you during a big event for the first times,” Willis said. “This way we know who you are. We know what you’re doing, and it just makes things move a lot smoother.”

Participants will also run through life-like scenarios and practice responding to an active shooter call.

The two-day class wraps up Friday.

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