Cochise County emergency response agencies successfully complete full-scale training exercise
Cochise County’s emergency service agencies successfully completed a full-scale training exercise designed to test response and communications during a major incident.
The event involved an active shooter scenario at Joyce Clark Middle School, Sierra Vista, on October 11, and included multiple regional, state and federal agencies and their partners.
“It went really well,” said Gabe Lavine, Cochise County Emergency Services Coordinator. “We identified some gaps in our interoperability and these are areas we will address in our next training cycle. We are ready to respond to a large-scale incident, but we will continue to improve our policies and procedures.”
Through the involvement of role players, the exercise tested the response of emergency personnel, the movement and treatment of casualties and victims, communication between agencies, and communication to the public and media. More than 100 people participated directly in the exercise, or as observers.
“While responses to real-life emergencies are never perfect, everyone in public safety is committed to providing the best possible response. Exercises like this one help us continually improve and are invaluable learning experiences for everyone involved,” Sierra Vista Police Chief Adam Thrasher said. “I would like to thank Cochise County Emergency Services Director Gabe Lavine for organizing the exercise and for bringing together all of the agencies that participated. Training together greatly improves our ability to respond seamlessly in the event of a major incident.”
Sierra Vista Fire Chief Ron York added, “Our firefighters and EMS personnel are training constantly and exercises like this one are vital to ensure readiness in the event of a major emergency. If we are not prepared, we can be overcome by the immensity of the event and may not think straight. We need to be able to run an incident almost without thinking, because we have done it in practice so many times. An exercise like this allows us to make mistakes, learn from them and each other, and be best prepared for large-scale incidents in the future.”
Participating agencies included Cochise County Office of Emergency Services, Sierra Vista Police Department, Sierra Vista Fire & Medical Services, Cochise County Sheriff’s Office, countywide fire and emergency medical services agencies, Southeast Arizona Communications Dispatch Center, Sierra Vista Unified School District, agency public information officers, Cochise County Department of Public Health, area hospitals, and the US Border Patrol.
Exercise 1: Sierra Vista Police, Fire & Medical personnel safely escort injured victims from Joyce Clark Middle School during Thursday’s exercise. (Photo by CK Photography)
Exercise 2: The active shooter exercise at Joyce Clark Middle School involved multiple agencies, including Cochise County Sheriff’s Office, Sierra Vista Police Department, and U.S. Border Patrol. (Photo by CK Photography)