SANTA ROSA BEACH, Fla. (WMBB) — Walton County practiced an intense active shooter training drill on Nov. 9.
Multiple agencies responded to South Walton High School for the mock emergency situation. The fake scenario involved disgruntled parents opening fire inside South Walton High School.
“We have to be prepared for a worst-case scenario. So the fact that we chose to do multiple intruders is an unfortunate reality of the business we’re in,” said Michael Adkinson, Walton County Sheriff.
Multiple agencies, including sheriff deputies, fire personnel, and EMS staff responded to the school.
“You tend to do what you practice and we have to have a little bit of variability in there so that we don’t collapse when things don’t go according to plan. They are never going to go according to plan,” said Adkinson. “So I think the multiple agencies working together, the multiple entities, this is a great opportunity to show people that we’re taking into consideration what variables are out there, you know, what things are going to be thrown at us.”
Teachers, school district faculty, and community leaders observed the training. Watching live camera feeds from the hallways.
The observers were able to give feedback on what needs to improve to keep kids in the community safe.
“When that first sound of someone with bad intentions came into school, I teared up. I teared up because that doesn’t belong in schools and it doesn’t belong where our children are. But since we have people who may have that kind of intent, we’re going to be as ready as we can be so that we can make sure that we eliminate those who may have those intentions,” said A Russell Hughes, superintendent of schools.
The drill used airsoft guns to mimic the sound of a real-life situation. Adkinson said training will never compare to an actual school shooting but gives the department time to make sure they can respond correctly.
“Let’s train for the worst, prepare. Let’s make our mistakes here. Let’s get better here. In real life we don’t have the opportunity to say timeout, I hope this works out,” said Adkinson.
After the multiple assailants were found medical staff practiced prioritizing care for those injured.
An additional training exercise involved a reunification site off campus. Faculty and staff went to vision church off Highway 98 to practice reuniting parents with students in order to leave the campus free for medical personnel.