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College offers active shooter response training

It’s a situation no one wants to think is possible in Beaufort County, but the reality is that the threat of an active shooter is all too real, regardless of zip code. In an effort to ensure that local emergency services are prepared for such an eventuality, Beaufort County Community College is offering a special training on Wednesday.

The training is open to police, fire, 911 operators, emergency management personnel, military responders, school system security staff and corporate security managers.

According to promotional literature on the class, the program is designed to help local agencies function effectively together during the critical first 30-minutes of a high-profile emergency such as an active shooter.

From rapidly establishing a command post to community-wide planning, such a training allows emergency workers to understand exactly what it takes to make an effective response during a high-pressure situation. According Chris Newkirk, operations chief of fire/emergency management for Beaufort County, the Office of Emergency Management has been working closely with BCCC to promote the training.

“Different types of emergencies have different types of reactions,” Newkirk said. “When you start looking at a high-impact call, like an active shooter incident, the suddenness of it makes it difficult at time to manage the response. So much is happening in a second, and trying to process all the information and coordinate with resources can be overwhelming to a lot of agencies.”

By preparing for such a situation, however, local agencies can curb some of the chaos that comes with a potentially fatal emergency.

“We really like this class, just because the concept it focuses on is managing that first piece,” Newkirk said. “Everything dumps on you at once, and a community’s ability to manage that during the first couple of minutes determines how effective your response will be overall. I think classes like this are a good foundation to build further response plans from.”

The course takes place from 8:30 a.m. until noon at Building 8 on the campus of BCCC. Registration begins at 8 a.m. All responders from local and state-funded agencies are invited to take the course, free of charge. U.S. Government and private employees must pay a registration fee of $70. Agency identifications and credentials are required for registration. For more information, call Brenda Bertrand at 252-940-6375.