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Mock shooting drill taking place today

About 350 people involved in drill
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Law enforcement and emergency responders will be out in force Wednesday, in numbers that could be unnerving for Shawano residents unaware of what’s going on, but there’s no reason to be alarmed.

It’s only a drill to prepare for something that police, emergency personnel and health professionals hope they will never have to deal with for real.

The training exercise being coordinated by Shawano County Emergency Management imagines the possibility of an active shooter at a local school.

The exercise will run from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. and will include the closing down and barricading of some streets in the area of Olga Brener Intermediate School.

Special response teams in full tactical gear, but not carrying real weapons, will be deployed, and emergency triage will be conducted on “victims” covered in fake blood.

“This full-scale exercise provides a training opportunity for local emergency response agencies to practice their skills in a non-life-threatening environment,” said Natalie Easterday, director of the Shawano County Emergency Management Department.

Agencies involved in the response include Shawano police, Shawano County sheriff’s deputies, Stockbridge-Munsee police, Shawano County Health Department and Department of Human Services, Shawano Ambulance Service, city officials and Shawano Department of Public Works, and the Shawano School District.

Some 350 people will be involved in the exercise in one form or another, including the school district’s entire professional staff, Easterday said.

Shawano Police Lt. Dan Mauel said the drill will give law enforcement an opportunity to exercise the policies and procedures in place for responding to an active shooter situation “so we’re able to handle it in an efficient manner.”

The same holds true for school personnel, who will need to react to the initial alert of a shooter in the building.

Much of the drill’s focus will be on the aftermath of the tragedy, Easterday said, including the evacuation of the building, reuniting students with family members and conducting triage on the victims.

“We’ll be testing a lot of elements,” she said.

Sites being used in the exercise are Shawano Community High School, Olga Brener Intermediate School, City Hall, Zion Lutheran Church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and Hope Community Church.

All participants will receive an evaluation following the exercise. The evaluations will be collected and a report created and sent to all agencies on their performance.