Coastal Alabama Community College holds active shooter disaster drill in Fairhope

Published: Jul. 10, 2023 at 5:07 PM CDT
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FAIRHOPE, Ala. (WALA) -It was all hands-on deck at Coastal Alabama Community College. First responders and staff members got hands-on training to respond to an active shooter situation. While it’s something the school hopes they never have to do, it’s something they want to be prepared for.

“It is better to be prepared than not be prepared,” said Sergeant Jason Williams with the Coastal Alabama Police Department. “If you’re not preparing to take care of these incidents then basically, you’re preparing to fail your citizens and students and staff.”

The drill started with an active shooter in one building and a bomb in another building. Sergeant Jason Williams with Coastal Alabama PD says they have a SWAT team made up of officers from Coastal Alabama, Fairhope and Spanish Fort police to handle such an emergency.

“Gathering the proper resources to equip all three properly in order to protect the students, staff as well as the local citizens in the community,” added Williams. “That’s always a challenge but it’s coming together.”

The drill also included taking care of injured people. Students volunteered to be victims with different injuries from breathing problems to gunshot wounds.

One person was even life flighted to South Baldwin Regional Medical Center in Foley. The students say it was an eye-opening experience.

“You don’t really get that kind of training in the classroom so it was very interesting for us to be on the other side of the ball and realize in real life this could happen,” said Matthew Miller.

Matthew Miller and Dominique Kendrick are both seniors in the nursing program and say the exercise gave them a lot to think about going forward.

“Try to keep calm and remember what we learned in school and what we’re still learning in school and be able to apply that into these high-stress situations,” said Dominique Kendrick.

“Trust that we know what we’re doing to take care of the patients in a timely and orderly manner,” said Miller.

Sergeant Williams says another challenge is the coverage area since Coastal Alabama has about 12 campuses across our area. He adds doing these drills once a year helps them prepare for that as well.