Horizon Hosts School Shooting Drill - KFYRTV.COM - Bismarck, ND - News, Weather, Sports

Horizon Hosts School Shooting Drill

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The thought of a school shooting is something no one wants to think about, but law enforcement, emergency management and school administrators says it's important to have a plan in place.

The city of Bismarck led a full scale school shooter drill at Horizon Middle School this afternoon.

There were several emergency medical vehicles, helicopters, police officers, SWAT, you name it, they were there. Drill directors say this exercise was several months in the making and officials from across the state were invited to this one of a kind event.

Last month, Bismarck police, public schools and emergency management were among the group finalizing the details for the full scale community school shooter drill.

This is the first time an exercise of this size has happed in North Dakota. Observers from both near and far said they came to see first hand how it would all go down. Some said they could already see how their departments could improve.

"It's just great experience to see what other agencies do to see if they have a better way of doing things. It's a good way to really test your preparedness and see the areas you can improve," says Mandan PD's Deputy Chief Paul Leingang.  

An initial briefing showed more than 150 volunteers what to expect. 

Members of Bismarck Public Schools volunteered to be teachers, students or victims during the drill.

"These things might really happen. It's important for responders, not only in the school district, but for all of our emergency personnel to know what to do when the real thing happens," says Melissa Ochsner, Bismarck Public Schools.

Officials said they're looking to make the experience as close to real as possible this includes the injuries. 

"We know if we have an event like this, everybody that has a gun and a badge is gonna show up," says Bismarck PD's Deputy Chief Randy Ziegler. "That's what we want. Our goal today is just to make sure that we can meld that big group of people together. When they do come here, we can put them in the right position."

Training officials said they hope a situation like this never occurs but preparation is key.

We weren't allowed to take video inside the school during the drill due to safety and security regulations. But officials say the drill helped highlight things that did and didn't work today.

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