Local authorities train, prepare for ‘active shooter’ incidents

Public safety officials in Farmington and Farmington Hills say they not only undergo training to deal with “active shooter” situations, but also train civilians who want to know how to best respond in life-threatening circumstances.

Farmington Hills joint meeting
Officials and attendees talk following a Wednesday meeting of local city and school district officials at Longacre House in Farmington Hills.

In the wake of a February 14 school shooting in Parkland, Florida, Farmington and Farmington Hills city and school officials included a “Community Preparedness” item on the agenda of a joint meeting held Wednesday at Longacre House in Farmington Hills. Farmington Hills Police Chief Chuck Nebus, Farmington Hills Fire Chief Jon Unruh, and Farmington Public Safety Director Frank Demers each spoke about how their departments prepare for the worst.

Nebus said Farmington and Farmington Hills have partnered on a firearms training program through which officers look at 800 scenarios, many involving an active shooter.

“We exceed the state requirements for firearms training,” he said. “Every single police officer in Farmington Hills has received active shooter training. Every police supervisor has received special training in how to manage active shooter situations.”

Farmington and Farmington Hills officers participate in training with Oakland County Department of Homeland Security, Oakland County Sheriff’s Department, and other agencies.

“We train together so we all react in the same way,” Nebus said.

Local houses of worship will participate in a March 22 emergency response training requested by the local Interfaith Association after 26 people were killed at a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas. A community-wide active shooter training is in the works for April, Nebus said.

Another training offered free of charge by Beaumont Hospital Farmington Hills teaches residents how to “Stop the Bleed” during a mass casualty incident. Participants learn to recognize life threatening bleeding, apply direct pressure to a bleeding wound, use a tourniquet and pack a wound to stop bleeding.

Even hospital staff have gone through the course, said Barbara Smith, director of trauma services at Beaumont Farmington Hills.

“We all need to know what we can do until help arrives, whether it’s multiple casualties in the hospital or in the community,” she said. “It saves lives.”

Smith said the hospital will offer three courses, one hour each, on March 31, which is national “Stop the Bleed” Day. Beaumont also participates in active shooter and mass casualty drills. As part of the Beaumont system, the Farmington Hills hospital could call on trauma experts from other facilities in the event of a local incident, she added.

To sign up for a “Stop the Bleed” class, visit classes.beaumont.edu.

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