Mock Shooter Exercise at WKCTC Successful
By Bill Hughes
PADUCAH, KY - West Kentucky Community and Technical College held a mock shooter exercise on campus Thursday morning, with the help of first responders, faculty, and students.
Steve Orazine, Director of Security, said the drill's purpose is to find any shortcomings, so they can be corrected, and he was satisfied with how things went.
"We had a couple of small glitches in communication, but other than that, I think the drill just went off, A+," Orazine said.
The scenario for the exercise was a sniper who opened fire from the woods behind the Allied Health Building, shooting three people. Students then ran inside and someone called 9-1-1, while the school began a lock-down and initiated its SNAP (Safety Notification Alert Process) messaging to students and faculty. Nobody was allowed to enter or leave the campus during the exercise, which lasted a couple of hours.
Orazine said the SNAP message said, "This is only a drill. Shots fired. Initiate lock-down. This is only a drill."
The exercise continued as three more shooters entered the Allied Health Building and opened fire on people they encountered on multiple floors. As they learned what was happening, students and staff began to shelter in place, according to WKCTC's emergency protocol.
Paducah Police and McCracken County Sheriff's Department were already on the scene, but waited until they got a call from dispatch before going into action. Firefighters and Mercy Regional EMS also responded during the exercise. Once an area was secure, students wearing realistic wound make-up were treated in a room until EMS arrived, while law enforcement tracked down and neutralized the four shooters.
Even though she knew it was a drill, nursing student Courtney Coleman of Graves County couldn’t help but be apprehensive as she heard simulated gunfire, and saw police officials swarming outside her classroom in the Allied Health Building.
“It was pretty real when they were shooting right outside our door so my heart was actually racing then, even though I knew it was fake, said Coleman. “But I think it helped us and also the responders because they know what to do if something did happen.”
In some classrooms, faculty and students heard knocks on the doors with voices asking for the door to be opened. “It was good for us because if it really happened, we know not to open the door for anybody until we got the “all clear” from someone official,” said fellow nursing student Kayla Delapp of Graves County.
This was the second exercise of this type on the campus, and Orazine said they are important for everyone, because it sets a standard for how to react and communicate, even though a real-life scenario might be different.
"When you have a serious situation, you react just exactly the way you have trained. If you train like it's a game, then when the situation's serious, you'll react that way. If you train seriously, you'll react seriously without even thinking about it, and that's why we try to make this as real as we could," Orazine said.