On Tuesday, Missoula-area teachers, administrators, janitors and other staff got a hands-on lesson in how to deal with a campus shooting, as part of a training exercise to keep schools safer.
The exercises were put together by the Missoula County Sheriff’s Office, with help from Safariland Training Group. The training organization holds training sessions for law enforcement officers around the country, and instructors took some of those lessons to the session at the Bonner School.
“What we're seeing now from Sandy Hook...is that it's a watershed event for educators, non-law enforcement personnel that, ‘My life, [the lives of] those around me, [are] in my hands. I have to be prepared to defend myself,’” said Terry Nichols of the Safariland Training Group.
Instructors say the goal of the exercises is to prepare teachers for scenarios in which lockdown is not enough to keep kids safe.
Staff learned how to neutralize an intruder with hand-to-hand combat, how to handle an unconscious person and how to deal with bleeding wounds. They also experienced what gunfire sounds like indoors, and were taught a bit about tactical responses.
“We're just trying to provide them with the tools they would need to be a little safer and for their students to be a little safer,” said Missoula County Sheriff’s Office Captain Brad Giffin.
Organizers say they hope to take the training program on the road to other parts of the Missoula-area community.