An active shooter simulation was staged at Martinez Elementary School.
The Columbia County Sheriff’s Department trained multiple agencies on response times and preparedness.
Major Sharif Chochol with Columbia County Sheriff’s Office, says, “every year the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office trains at a different school, our active shooter training.”
Fire, EMS, Augusta University, and the school board public safety were all there.
“In years passed, the injuries would have to come outside, those that were injured. We had to wait till we cleared the building and then get them out to help. Now, helps coming inside with us,” says Major Chochol.
Multiple agencies came out here today to practice on not only mannequins, but also with students so that everybody is prepared in the worst case scenario.
Student Role Player, Kaitlyn Komnick, says, “I got a little scared. I was hiding in the corner of a closet, and I just saw a gun appear in the closet.”
An adult Role Player, Cynthia Stein, says, “your situational awareness suddenly disappears. Where are all the kids in the gym You’re hearing them screaming. They’re crying and your first instinct is, take care of these kids.”
The Sheriff’s Department says they try to make their training as realistic as possible to they are prepared as they can be in the event that it happens.
“I do think it was a benefit for the role players to see how serious we take these things, and how serious they are,” says Major Chochol.
Those who role played say they are now more aware of their surroundings.
“They wanted them to realize that this was very serious and this is not fun and games,” says Stein.
Major Chochol says this kind of training goes beyond schools.
“Active shooter event, you know can happen anywhere and it would take this type of response to mitigate that,” says Major Chochol.
The Sheriff’s Department says they hope there is never a time where they have to step in and use this kind of response, but they are as ready as they can be in the case of an emergency.