Here’s the protocol for local first responders when there’s an active shooter situation

SPOKANE, Wash. — As the nation processes and mourns the Uvalde Elementary School shooting, many are wondering how our local first responders would react, and if they’re prepared for a mass shooting.

One of the biggest questions right now is, “How accessible are our local schools?” We reached out to Spokane Public Schools this week and they told us that all possible entrances at K-12 schools are locked, and the only way in is through the main entrance where they would need to be buzzed in.

As for preparing our first responders, they all take part in a multi-agency training and one just recently happened in March.

Firefighters dressed in protective helmets and bulletproof vests back in 2015 for similar training. In this training, firefighters were reaching victims while the shooter was still inside the building.

“When you have a scenario that’s almost like a battlefield where people are injured severely, a lot of multi-system trauma, blood loss the quicker you can get to them, the quicker you have the opportunity to save them,” said former Battalion Chief Dave Haworth, in 2015.

In these situations, it’s a race against time and a core component of that training illustrated firefighters responding to victims, as a first priority, over anything else to give them a chance at surviving.

“The best way to be prepared for a tragedy like this is to have some idea of how you will react if that event transpires,” explained Corporal Nick Briggs, Spokane Police Public Information Officer. “As these things unfold, we get information from those law enforcement agencies and we’re constantly trying to assess what happened, see what suspects are doing, learn from those, learn from law enforcement responses so we can best tailor our training and our response.”

Our local partners have an emergency response built for this kind of situation, and it was called upon at the Freeman High School shooting.

“We need to look at the science, look at what’s actually happening in front of us, digest it, rationalize it, discuss it, talk about it (in this case with our kids) talk about their fears, and get everything on the table and then start working towards a solution,” said Spokane Fire Chief Brian Schaeffer.

Chief Schaeffer is looking forward to community conversations with partners on ways they can leverage their resources to do as much as they can to help youth in the community.

Spokane Police have been outside some schools around our area over the past few days. That is not due to any particular concern, or given threat. We’re told they are there to provide a sense of comfort during a time of great fear.

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