Active Shooter Drill brings emergency personnel to CCCC-Lee
SANFORD - Shots were fired in the Science Building at Central Carolina Community College's Lee County Campus. Law enforcement, fire and rescue workers were immediately dispatched to the scene. Within 25 minutes, the shooter was captured, but not before killing two people and wounding seven others.
It wasn't a real incident, but it could have been. By conducting its first Active Shooter Drill on July 18, Central Carolina Community College is determined to be prepared to deal with such scenarios.
Approximately 110 people participated in the event, including CCCC staff and faculty; police personnel from the Sanford, Siler City, and Pittsboro police departments; the Lee County Sheriff's Department; the North Carolina State Highway Patrol; the Sanford Fire Department; Central Carolina Hospital Advanced Life Support-EMS; Benhaven Emergency Services; and the University of North Carolina Air Care helicopter.
Officials observers were also present, including Siler City Police Chief Gary Tyson and Pat King, a retired IBM security manager and senior consultant with Sunstates Security, who negotiated the security contract between SunStates Security and the college.
"There were two shootings within 90 days of my being hired at IBM," King said. "After that, IBM did a lot of things differently. This kind of drill is well worthwhile. It gets agencies to work together, to know each other, and there is a lot they will learn."
Sanford Police Capt. W.C. Genthe addressed those gathered in the drill briefing room at the Dennis A. Wicker Civic Center.
"There's no script," he said. "Regardless of what you see, take it seriously. It is how we treat the evacuated and wounded that is critical to their survival."
As participants exited the center to begin the drill, they donned vests inscribed with red, yellow, green or black markings. The vests identified the roles they were to play as victims in the exercise: red - critically wounded, yellow - ambulatory, green - uninjured and black - deceased.
CCCC Library Assistant Peggy Cotton said that as soon as the drill got underway, it became eerily real to her.
"I got the message immediately that we were under attack," she said. "I locked the doors, notified the other staff members and got in the restroom. It was frightening to think that this really could happen. When Monday comes, I'm going to talk to the library director and other staff members to make sure that we have a plan of action, someone assigned to lock the door, say that we're under attack, and so on."
Playing a wounded student, Scott Bedoe, a volunteer with the Moncure Fire Department, arrived at the Civic Center after being C- (cervically) collared, put on a spine board and taken to Central Carolina Hospital.
"The exercise was very realistic," he said. "You definitely felt in danger, especially with blanks going off all around you."
In keeping with Active Shooter Drill exercise regulations, no live ammunition was used, but law enforcement was directed to go from building to building and some blank ammunition was fired. Campus security used radios, the college's Cougar Alert notification system and call boxes to send out emergency messages.
According to exercise regulations, once a lockdown is declared, minimizing accessibility to the buildings and protecting those in the vicinity of an immediate threat, no doors are open to anyone. Faculty and staff become responsible for their students, who are directed to follow the "Run, Hide, Fight" response to protect themselves.
Matt Smolecki, corporate training manager for Sunstates Security, said training like this is some of the best personnel can get.
"You plan and plan and plan, and when the time comes you do what you have to do," he said.
CCCC President Bud Marchant asserted that the exercise was not only vital to campus security, but beneficial to everyone involved.
"It allows local law enforcement and emergency services personnel to become familiar with the campus, while getting excellent training," he said. And it ensures that the college has procedures in place in the case of such an event."
CCCC Security Director Frank Bedoe said the exercise is only the first in a series the college is planning.
"I'm sending out a questionnaire to gain feedback from every person and all agencies who participated," he said. "Our Emergency Planning Committee will meet, evaluate the responses and use them to develop future exercises."
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