New Smyrna Beach, FL – With Spring Break in full force at all Volusia County public schools, first responders in New Smyrna Beach are taking the chance to prepare for the worst.
Starting today (March 19th), the city’s police and fire departments are conducting a training exercise at New Smyrna Beach Middle School where officers, firefighters and paramedics have to respond to an active shooter on the campus.
NSB Fire Chief Shawn VanDemark says you can expect a large number of police and fire vehicles on the campus over the next three days as a result.
“We’re taking advantage of the school being closed for spring break [so we] don’t interrupt [while] school is going on and to allow us to get all of our objectives met,” VanDemark added.
The training is designed to improve coordination and communication between city police and fire during a mass casualty event as well as do the same for outside agencies like Volusia County or any state or federal law enforcement, per VanDemark.
“One of the key components of this would be for us to insert ourselves with the police department after they’ve neutralized some of the threats,” VanDemark noted. “[That would] allow us to treat patients and extract them to a safer, more reasonable place to work.”
The simulation would also allow paramedics to practice the best ways to triage and how to get paramedics from other agencies involved should they arrive as reinforcements.
NSB police and fire practiced a similar scenario last summer and plan to do this type of exercise at least once a year moving forward.
All training will be done between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. today, tomorrow and Thursday and will involve some “live” victims, but none which are actually students at the school or hired actors.
Signs will be posted outside the campus to warn drivers or anyone passing by that it’s only an exercise.