SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC 4 Utah) – The sound of gun shots ring through one Utah high school. Students run screaming as they try to get away from the gunman, some are wounded and critically injured – thankfully, this was all just a drill.
“Unfortunately we live in a world where police and fire departments have to respond to situations where there might be a shooter in a school,” said Capt. Jared Price, West Jordan Fire Department.
It was just one of several exercises that firefighters were put through this weekend for the Utah Firefighter Symposium, a 3 day event consisting of hands-on fast-paced exercises designed to enhance the skills of first responders. Several of the scenarios included a vehicle extraction, an elevator rescue, and an active shooter response.
The scenario played out like many of these scenarios often do. A shooter hold us a school and injures several students. Police prepare to go in and subdue the shooter. This particular exercise was set up to get firefighters and the police department to work collaboratively to rescue the victims.
Alex Maren played the bad guy for the scenario today but he hopes to one day be one of the good guys.
“I hope to develop some skills when I go into law enforcement because being on the SWAT team is one of the units I’d like to be in,” he said.
These courses were created in a combined effort with the Salt Lake Valley Fire Alliance to create an environment to give firefighters more hands-on practice.
“It’s geared towards helping us get some hands on training, which is something which is really valuable for us which is something we don’t get to the opportunity to do as often as we’d like,” said Price.
From here firefighters can take the skills they learn back to their departments all over the state and teach these skills to firefighters at their stations so they can become better equipped to handle scenes like these.