School officials and law enforcement conduct active shooter training at Semmes Middle School


SEMES, Ala. (WALA) – This is a situation no one wants to be in, but it is a situation that needs practice just in case.

“We spend a lot of money and a lot of time practicing things that we hope and pray will never happen, but we have to be prepared,” said MCPSS Director of Safety Andy Gatewood.

Members of the Mobile County Public School System, Mobile County Sheriff’s Office, and Semmes Police Department participated in an active fire drill at Semmes Middle School to walk through all phases of an emergency. .

“We try to make it as realistic as possible because you don’t know how someone is going to react to hearing gunshots,” said MCSO captain Paul Burch.

This is a very complete simulation from when the officers enter the school to rescuing the injured officers and students.

“They’re trying to work through different scenarios that they might come across, like parents coming into the building and reactions from students and teachers and everyone else,” said Rena Philips of MCPSS.

“I want to land the helicopter, I want to do whatever we might have to do in an emergency,” Gatewood added.

Even simulating gunshots.

“They use simunitions on a lot of these things. That’s what training is about simulating a real event so you know how to react so it becomes muscle memory when you go through something like this,” Burch said.

Those inside the school say the simulation was quite authentic.

“It was very real on the inside and as a mum it breaks my heart that we have to practice this, but we are in good hands.” We have the best law enforcement officers and the best resource officers,” added Philips.

The school system is always figuring out whether or not to arm school resource officers. The first day for the Mobile County public school system is August 4.

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