AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – Community leaders continue their efforts to establish a standard response to active shooter and other hostile emergencies.

The #StrongAugusta initiative is well underway. Their focus: prevention, response and recovery. Leaders of the initiative are deepening their community involvement and gearing up for the next step in this year-long effort.

Since the #StrongAugusta symposium in February, leaders have led prevention training at schools, places of worship and hospitals in the Augusta area.    

“We have to be proactive and lean forward and take steps to get us to be as prepared as we can,” said John Ryan, emergency manager at Augusta University.

Now leaders are preparing for a full-scale response exercise involving multiple agencies to identify and close any gaps. 

The #StrongAugusta initiative uses the National Fire Protection Service 3000 as a model to make the community stronger. 

“Just knowing you have that training will make you feel better,” said Brian Ozden, supervisory senior resident agent with the FBI. “You’ll at least have a plan for how to get away – how to get out of a situation. It’s not always perfect, but at least you’ll have a plan, which gives you more confidence.”

Looking further ahead, #StrongAugusta will begin community training efforts in recovery.

“We’ll have victim specialists, counselors, and those types of people,” said Ozden. “Also giving presentations to the community and to law enforcement, first responders so that they can recover from it.”

Dr. Alejandro Baez tells us leaders in the healthcare community are considering active shooter and other hostile events as a public health issue.

“When we look at social determinants of crime, when we look at social determinants of health…there’s a lot of commonalities,” said Dr. Alejandro Baez, Vice Chair of Operational Medicine at the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University. “Is there something else that we can do to address the prevention side from the public health perspective?” 

Leaders say that the goal is not only to create a safe community in Augusta, but to also be a model for other communities.

“Augusta’s a perfect community because it’s big enough to where you’re affecting hundreds of thousands of people,” said Ozden. “You know, I grew up- Sheriff Roundtree and I were both investigators at the same time. And the chiefs and lieutenants…we’ve all been around. We call this home. It’s a very tight community.”

“For us to share the struggles that we’ve had, the lessons that we’ve learned, so that other communities may want to implement something similar,” said Ryan.

For more on #StrongAugusta and the NFPA 3000, visit