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story.lead_photo.caption LYNN KUTTER ENTERPRISE-LEADER Hunter Carnahan, school resource officer with Greenland School District and a volunteer firefighter with Farmington Fire Department, stands guard following an active shooter training scenario at Farmington High earlier this summer. The "shooter" is dead in the classroom behind him and several people are "injured." Participants were learning about an integrated response that uses law enforcement, firefighters and other first responders.

FARMINGTON -- Farmington High School has been the scene for several active shooter training sessions this summer for area enforcement officers, firefighters and other first responders.

Principal Jon Purifoy said he was perfectly willing to allow the school for the sessions because it benefits high school staff and students.

"I think it's really good for us because they learn our building," Purifoy said during the first training session last month. "I think it's a big bonus for our community."

Washington County Sheriff's Office sponsored the trainings, assisted by staff with the Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training Center (ALERRT) at Texas State University in San Marcos, Texas. The first session this summer included first responders from Farmington, Prairie Grove, Johnson, Rogers, Greenland, Cave Springs, Tontitown, Washington and Benton counties, along with several emergency dispatchers.

Scott Basham, an ALERRT instructor, said the two-day, 16-hour training is a new class that came out of a think tank last year. It's new because the training is designed for an integrated approach with law enforcement, firefighters and dispatchers responding to an active shooter situation. The training is called AAIR or Active Attack Integrated Response.

"The purpose is to get good medical care into our situations as fast as possible," said Basham, who is an ALERRT instructor part-time and works full-time as a warden with Arkansas Game and Fish Commission out of Booneville.

Sgt. Arlo Guthrie with Washington County Sheriff's Office attended a "train the trainer" class in May and now this group is training first responders in the region on an integrated response to active shooter events. The training at Farmington High School in early June was the first one in Northwest Arkansas. The idea is to make the training available to officers and others in Arkansas, Oklahoma, Missouri and Texas.

For many law enforcement agencies, active shooter training has been to "stop the killing," Guthrie said.

This next step is an integrated response with rapid rescue and rapid evacuation, Guthrie said, noting that under this approach firefighters, law enforcement officers and other first responders will work side by side.

About 28 emergency personnel participated in the first training held at Farmington High. The first day they worked within their separate agencies. The second day participants worked together to respond to six scenarios. They completed one scenario and then discussed it before moving on to the next scenario.

These same situations can apply to schools and businesses, Guthrie said.

The training stresses the importance of communication between all persons responding to an event, as well as first responders stepping up to take control, both as a commander on the inside as well as someone in charge on the outside.

Communication has always been a gap, Guthrie said.

"This is how to bridge that gap and how to communicate and work together."

With an integrated response, the person who takes charge could be a new officer who has gone through the training, not someone who has worked for many years with the organization or someone of a higher rank, Guthrie said.

For an active shooter call, Guthrie said law enforcement goes in first to deal with the situation. Outside, other officers, firefighters and first responders are setting up a rescue response task force, ready to go in when needed and when it's safe.

It's the job of officers on the inside to communicate to the command post outside what is needed to help anyone injured during the incident and to direct help to the right place. As medical staff comes into the building, each group is protected by law enforcement officers attached as part of the rescue team.

"Once law enforcement gets it resolved, it becomes an integrated response," Guthrie said, adding, "This class teaches us how to make that happen...we're working together simultaneously in rapid response to stop the killing and save lives."

General News on 07/11/2018

Print Headline: First Responders Learn Integrated Response For Active Shooter Events

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