“Equipping our students to handle any emergency is crucial. This is the fourth emergency training scenario that we have conducted,” said Jim Ingersoll, associate director of secondary education for the Southern Union Conference. “Previous training included a hypothetical lightning strike on a playground and a school-flooding incident. We pray that these emergencies will never happen, but it is essential for students to understand how to keep themselves and others safe.”
Academies attending the 2Serve Conference included Tri-City Junior Academy, Greenville Adventist Academy, Forest Lake Academy, and the teaching academy Heritage Academy. Students are taught by students and prepared for emergencies through discussions, presentations, and exercises using simulated rescue tactics. The conference culminated in an emergency training in which students were part of an active shooter simulation. Twenty-five were selected victim actors and received moulage, or special effects make-up and bandaging, to simulate wounds.
The event also presented an opportunity for local emergency personnel to build a relationship with the students and to practice their response to such an emergency. The Seminole County Emergency Management Team briefed the victim actors and other students on what to expect in a real-life active shooter incident.
Forest Lake Academy along with the Seminole County Emergency Management Team took every measure to ensure the life-like simulation would remain safe. The emergency management team:
- Worked on a script and schedule for the day,
- Required each participant to be checked for weapons, sharp objects, or items that could be used as weapons,
- Assigned team members to accompany all participants
- Provided instructions on how to address the emergency personnel if a real emergency were to occur during the simulation.
Victim actors and emergency personnel were instructed to act as if the simulation was real by using a pre-established phone line set up in which students were to call “911” when they spotted the danger. Authentic local law enforcement arrived on the scene in tactical formation. Legitimate medical personnel were called to assess the injuries and transport victims to real emergency vehicles. Adults designated as parents and student victims were brought together in the designated reunification center along with uninjured students.
Upon completion, the simulation culminated with a debriefing. Alan Harris, emergency manager of the Seminole County Emergency Management Team, facilitated the debriefing and asked participants how to improve the next simulation. Participants were also given a psychological and spiritual first aid training to ensure all were in good condition before returning to their respective academies.
“We pray no tragedy like this ever takes place in one of our schools, hospitals, or churches,” said Tim Northrop, president of Adventist Risk Management, Inc. “In case it does, our students and members will know what to do and how to help others to safety.”
Other 2Serve Conference sponsors included the Southern Union and Florida Conference.
The next 2Serve Conference will be held at Tri-City Christian Academy in High Point, North Carolina from September 27 through October 1. For more information on the 2Serve Conference and how you can get involved, contact Jim Ingersoll at firstname.lastname@example.org.