The active fire exercise incorporates the latest techniques

WHEELING, West Virginia (WTRF)

Police officers, sheriff’s deputies, paramedics and firefighters took part in a realistic drill Thursday at the former OVMC compound.

The course, delivered by Louisiana State University, focused on the latest techniques for dealing with an active shooter.

National experts have learned valuable lessons from Columbine, Sandy Hook and other mass tragedies.

They learned that waiting to secure the scene before dispatching the victims ended up wasting precious minutes.

“There were a lot of people bleeding to death because first responders were waiting for everything to be cleared up,” said Lou Vargo, executive director of Ohio County EMA. “So this course teaches the concept of the rescue task force by taking firefighters and paramedics, escorted by law enforcement officers to a relatively safe area. You can walk in, initiate treatment and then safely remove them and that’s how we save lives.

Attendees were from the Ohio County Sheriff’s Department, Wheeling Police and Fire Department, Ohio County EMS, several Belmont County Tactical Dispatchers, and two police officers from West Liberty University.

Vargo says it’s good to have them all involved, as they would likely come from other departments and even other states in the event of a real active shooter situation.

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