‘Practice makes perfect’

PUHI — The sound of gun shots and screaming filled the Kauai Community College Continuing Education and Training building on Thursday.

On one end of the building, several people flee for safety. On the other, a masked man wielding two handguns makes his way past a person and fires at him. The victim falls and the man continues his way to the back of campus, looking over his shoulder and shoots several shots in the air.

The school issues a campuswide lockdown.

In the wake of his mayhem, the masked man shoots a pregnant woman who lies helpless outside of the Learning Resource Center.

Desperate and under duress, the perpetrator barricades himself in the business building.

When the Kauai Police SWAT team arrive, they announce the death of the shooter.

Over a dozen agencies that participated in an active shooter, first response exercise at KCC on Thursday and agreed the practice of such an event is important.

Over 25 volunteers acted as victims and close to 100 first responders participated in the exercise, which involved KPD, American Red Cross, Kauai medical services and the National Guard.

There were two major portions of Thursday’s scenario: an active shooter scenario similar to the Virginia Tech incident and an element similar to the Aurora, Colorado, movie theater shooting, which involved a chemical component.

“These kinds of real incidents are happening more and more frequently and no place is exempt,” said Helen Cox, KCC chancellor. “Although we certainly hope it will never happen here, we have to be prepared just in case it does. Having all of the agencies participate really helps us know what it really might look and feel like and what our role is and what their roles are.”

The victims were later treated for chemicals and taken to a local hospital, where the exercise continued.

Exercises began at 9 a.m. and ended around 3 p.m.

Josh Fisburne, Insight Global Consulting Group vice president and exercise director, said it’s crucial for anyone involved in an incident that jeopardizes one’s safety to listen to first responders.

“One of the things that is difficult for (first responders) is to identify who’s a victim and who is a suspect,” Fishburne said. “Making that very plain, so you are obeying all their commands until they know who is safe and who is not is really vital to your safety.

Padraic Gallagher, American Red Cross director of disaster services, said practice makes perfect.

“If there’s any flaws or anything like that, any gaps we need to fill in, we’ll find out what they are,” Gallagher said. “It’ll prepare you to get in that whole mindset and it becomes second nature.”

The purpose is to find ways agencies can work better together while pooling resources, Fishburne said.

“Heaven forbid this ever happens on Kauai,” he said. “But we want to be prepared for the worst case scenario.”

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