AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – What do you do in the case of an active shooter? Community leaders are working to establish a standard response to those cases and other emergencies.
Augusta-area emergency services came together on Tuesday to collaborate on a year-long journey. Their goal? To make sure emergency workers know how to respond to an active shooter situation.
The community commitment began with Augusta University, the mayor’s office, the Sheriff and fire chief. They are working to implement a national standard known as National Fire Protection Service 3000. Members from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security were also in attendance.
“It could happen here,” said John Ryan, Emergency Manager at Augusta University. “And, so, this consensus standard that the National Fire Protection Service has afforded us has a framework- as Brian so eloquently described it this morning- for the entire community.”
Tuesday’s event, titled “#strongAugusta2.0”, marks the beginning of community training in the areas of prevention, response and recovery in active shooter and hostile events.
“This is a model of how to really approach safety and security for the community,” said Marcus Coleman, Director of the Center for Faith-Based & Neighborhood Partnerships at the U. S. Department of Homeland Security. “And do it in a way that, again, balances the important sanctity of any space that wants to welcome others, but making sure that they do so safely.”
“We have not had to address anything on the national level in Augusta,” said Brian Ozden, Supervisory Senior Resident Agent with the FBI. “But we are adamantly preparing so that if we ever did, we will have a game plan.”
With this new commitment, Augusta leaders hope to be a national example.
“And not just leave it in Augusta,” said Alejandro Baez, professor of Emergency Medicine & Epidemiology and Vice Chair of Operational Medicine at the Medical College of Georgia and Augusta University. “But, basically, from our lessons learned, share that knowledge and create that knowledge transfer throughout the country.”
More than 200 people attended from multiple counties in the CSRA.
“Today is just the beginning,” said Ryan. “We’re looking forward to becoming the best prepared community we can possibly be.”
Ryan and Ozden say that, throughout the year and beyond, training and efforts to improve will be ongoing. For more information on #strongAugusta2.0 and the NFPA 3000, visit NFPA 3000.