AMERICUS, Ga- Unfortunately, mass shootings have become common events, and schools and colleges are particularly vulnerable. Having an emergency plan in place is key. News 3’s Greg Loyd takes us to Americus where South Georgia Technical College was joined by local police agencies and emergency responders who prepared for the unthinkable.
It’s 10:04 on what seems a quiet, typical Friday morning at the Energy and Transportation Center on South Georgia Technical College’s Campus. That is until . . . shots ring out, and police race on-scene.
Thankfully, in this case, it’s all a carefully coordinated drill, months in the making.
Law enforcement and emergency workers were working to prepare should SGTC ever have an active shooter on campus.
“We do this to try and take into consideration everything that would happen, not just to prepare for the event itself, but to prepare for the evacuation, to prepare to notify the faculty, staff and students. The communication between the agencies.. All those things are important,” says Dr. John Watford, South Georgia Technical College President.
The nine agencies involved worked to make today’s simulation real as possible. Officers cautiously enter and work to evacuate students and staff. Meanwhile, the stench of gun powder lingers in the hallway, leftovers of what is thankfully just an exercise.
“With us having two universities here in Americus, it’s important our responders know how to react, should something like this ever happen, and God, we hope it doesn’t. But we have to be prepared for that event should it happen,” says Nigel Poole, Emergency Management Director of Sumter County.
To give you an idea of just how real the exercise was, part of it involved transporting mock victims to the Phoebe-Sumter Hospital.
After the drill, school officials and emergency workers discussed how well they performed and how they might improve.
The State of Georgia recommends its public colleges and universities hold emergency drills once a year to test their response plans.