Exercise provided vital training for first responders
Preparing for what they hope will never happen, area first responders on Wednesday morning swarmed Pacific's Stockton Campus for a training exercise on what to do in the event of an active shooter.
"The unfortunate possibility of an active shooter is an issue that's on everybody's mind. People are always wondering just how prepared we are as a university," said Mike Belcher, director of Pacific's Department of Public Safety. "Allowing us to take part in this hands-on, multiagency training was very valuable to our officers, dispatchers and the university's emergency response system as a whole. It also sends a message to the rest of the campus about our preparedness."
First responders from Pacific's Department of Public Safety, Stockton Police Department, Stockton Unified School District Police Department, San Joaquin Delta College Police Department, Stockton Fire Department and American Medical Response participated in the two-hour exercise staged at Pacific's DeRosa University Center. Pacific students and staff, students from nearby Stagg High School, and others volunteered to play "victims" during the exercise. In all, nearly 200 first responders and volunteers participated. The scenario for Wednesday included gunmen entering the DeRosa University Center to take hostages and police officers entering the building to search for and apprehend the gunmen. Officers also escorted "victims" out of the building and medics into the building to treat the wounded.
The cooperative training for the agencies was intended to make students, faculty, staff and the community safer by allowing first responders to better prepare to react together in the event of an active shooter. The training is based on the San Joaquin County Emergency Medical Services Agency Active Threat plan and Assembly Bill 1598, signed by Gov. Jerry Brown in September 2014, which calls for cooperative training standards for first responders
Evaluators now will go over what they saw during the exercise to assess what went well and where improvements can be made. The training was intended to be as realistic as possible and gave the Pacific Alert Team, the emergency management organization for the university, a chance to test the PacificConnect emergency notification system. In the event of a real emergency, Public Safety police officers and dispatchers are trained to send PacificConnect emergency alerts to students, faculty and staff via mobile phone, text, landline and email. (Pacific faculty, staff and students should provide and update contact information for the emergency notification system. Log in to insidePacific, click on the "Administrative" tab, and click on "Update your profile for Emergency Notifications" under Pacific Connect on the far right. Update the contact information and click "Save.")
More information on Pacific's public safety department can be found here.