BLUEFIELD, VA (WVNS)–On Wednesday, July 20, 2022, law enforcement agencies in Bluefield held a mass casualty drill at a local middle school.
At Graham Middle School in Tazewell County, multiple agencies including the Tazewell County Sheriff’s Office, Bluefield Virginia Police Department, Tazewell County Emergency Services, and Princeton Community Hospital: Bluefield ER held an important training for all first responders.
This was thanks to a partnership with Tazewell County Schools. Officers and deputies carried out their mass casualties training both inside and outside the school building.
Shane Gunter, Chief of Bluefield Police Department said this type of training is needed just in case the actual event occurs.
“So, pressing like this, you can identify deficiencies, improve up on them, and just better work together in the future if the actual event does happen. And it’s not something we’re going to do one time, you have to continue to do this just like you do fire drills in schools and things like that, it’s just something you have to keep practicing,” Gunter said.
Sheriff Brian Hieatt with the Tazewell County Sheriff’s Office said their 911 center technology improved over the recent years with a new addition to help respond to situations quicker.
The RAVE app is a downloadable app that can send out alerts to the responding unit.
“As soon as someone in the school system hits that button, it will alert to the 911 center the panic alert has been hit of an active shooter at Graham Middle School. And that’s what it will show us. So, before we even talk to anyone on the phone, we know what’s going on, we can send law enforcement,” Hieatt said.
One volunteer, Dustin Farmer used to work as an EMT but he’s using his time to help volunteer as a concerned parent in this drill. Farmer said he’s glad he can be helpful.
“It’s a good thing to do. Especially with the community and everything. You know what’s going on, stuff like this does happen in real life. So these trainings are important, not only for the community to see how it responded but also law enforcement, ems, fire to get the proper training on it,” Farmer said.