HAMBURG, N.Y. (WIVB) — The whole point of today’s drill was to test just how prepared law enforcement and school officials are if they had to jump into action. It’s a reminder that these situations could happen anywhere at anytime.
Classes went on as normal at Frontier Central High School today as dozens of law enforcement officials carried out an active shooter field training exercise at the school.
“Students have a major role and responsibility in the safety of a building any day of the week in this case their reaction to the call of a lock down to some of the more intense scenarios that were played out today was really important so that we can fine tune our systems,” said Jeff Sortisio, Frontier Central High School principal .
Multiple agencies including Hamburg and State police, the FBI, Erie County Sheriffs office, and medical responders worked with school personnel and students.
They tested how quickly they could get people to a secure location, how secure those locations actually are, and how they could accomplish it with more than 1500 students in the building.
“We had many role players from within the school, outside from our agencies participated and we brought a whole bunch of resources here to make sure that we knew how everybody would react if something happened here at one of our local schools,” said Adam Cohen, FBI Special Agent in Charge.
The drill involved testing an active shooter entering a school, school personnel utilizing the 911 system, and law enforcement response to clearing victims from the building. It also covered potential hostage situations.
“We instruct the students to please refrain from using their cell phones and we explain to them why because they could be drawing attention to where they are in the building,” said Sortisio.
School officials acknowledge they’re aware that some students might feel tempted to text their parents or to tweet during a shooting situation.
“Everything is potentially a target wherever there are people those places could potentially be targeted by individuals who work there, who go to school there, or who shop there,” said Cohen.
Starting next school year, the principal of the Frontier Central high school says the school will be required by the state to do at least 4 drills a year.