Coastal Pines Technical College and Local Agencies Hold Active Shooter Drill
February 19, 2016 12:06 PM
Brunswick, GA – “Let’s do it again,” smiled a student who had been wheeled to an ambulance on a stretcher minutes earlier. Not your typical reaction following a life-threatening crisis. More like a statement you would hear from a thrill seeker climbing off Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster in nearby Orlando.Of course, the young lady from Ms. Lucy Bryson’s drama class would have thought and acted quite differently had the drill been an actual public mass shooting incident.
Around 10:30 a.m. Friday morning, approximately 10 young people sat talking in the student commons of the new Coastal Pines Technical College (CPTC) Golden Isles facility on Glynco Parkway when a tall, dark-headed man walked into the building with a gun and began firing (blanks).
The scene was created as part of a drill designed toevaluate and improve key response processes and procedures for CPTC and local emergency response agencies. The drill, which lasted approximately 15 minutes, also demonstrated how effectively the entities coordinated (1) communication, (2) emergency scene security and access, (3) response resources, and (4) care for victims.
According to the College’s safety coordinator, Dr. Pete Snell, the exercise began testing effective response procedures at the moment the first observer saw or heard the gun. Numerous participants made the call to the Glynn – Brunswick 911 Center to report “man with a gun” on campus. The simulation included injuries and casualties, requiring the full, coordinated response of college officials, law enforcement and emergency responders.
Approximately 100 people participated, including CPTC faculty and staff, Glynn County Police Department, Glynn County Schools Police, Glynn County Fire/Emergency Management Services (EMS), Glynn -Brunswick 911 Center, Brunswick High School (Lucy Bryson’s theater and acting students), and Golden Isles Career Academy (Kevin Pullen’s broadcast and video production students). See photo on right; CPTC officials welcome Glynn County Board of Education Police Chief Rod Ellis (2nd from left) and Glynn County Police Chief Matthew Doering (3rd from left) to the Golden Isles campus for an Active Shooter Drill. CPTC officials (L to R) Lonnie Roberts, Campus Police Chief James Mock, Dr. Glenn Deibert (president), and Dr. Pete Snell).
Officials from each agency provided survival tips to those present. Following a presentation by Glynn County Board of Education Police Chief Rod Ellis – “Active Threat Survival – Personal Preparation and Responses,” Glynn County Police Chief Matthew Doering reassured participants, “This is not a test. There’s not a right way to respond because each situation is different, and each incident has numerous unknown variables.”
All officials stressed the importance of safety during the drill. Participants were told they could stop the drill at any time, and they were told how.
“It is extremely important for all educational institutions to have plans to address emergency situations,” stated CPTC President Dr. Glenn Deibert. “It's even more important that the plans are communicated, executed, evaluated, and updated regularly. Putting a plan in action during a real-life situation is quite different from sitting around talking about it," continued Deibert.
According to CPTC Campus Police Chief James Mock, Coastal Pines has two plans that serve to guide staff in maintaining a safe work environment and in handling emergency incidents: (1) CPTC Emergency Operations Plan and (2) CPTC Business Continuity Plan. Mock noted that both plans are in place to ensure the health and safety of the college community and any campus guests.
Following the active shooter scenario, Chief Mock led an after-action discussion with participants in which agency officials fielded questions and evaluated their plans, processes, and procedures in light of the day’s events.
Mock, who coordinated the drill, thanked everyone, stating, "The exercise allowed the College and participating agencies to turn their paper plans into action." He also explained that the CPTC First Response Team will meet in the coming weeks to assess the College’s emergency response plans and resources in order to enhance safety and improve the chances for survival and discuss recovery topics such as counseling provisions, campus closure, post event communication with the campus community, and press releases.