ELLINWOOD — The emergency sirens sounded Wednesday evening in Ellinwood High School and the lights were turned off in an eerie version of a lone gunman drill.
In an attempt to be as lifelike as possible, the drill began with multiple calls to 911 in reference to someone shooting in the school with multiple injuries. Ellinwood Police Department and EMTs responded, followed by many other service personnel from throughout the county.
Actual procedures were followed as they would be in the case of a real emergency, including the use of a cease and desist procedure that could be used if necessary.
Streets were blocked, and students ran yelling from the school.
Police entered the building and, before too long, apprehended the "gunman" and several suspected shooters.
Barton Community College student Jonathan Rahe played the gunman and even made an escape attempt.
After the "gunman" was captured, a triage area was set up outside the school, and victims were transported to all of the county hospitals.
The students who participated as victims enjoyed the drill. "It’s awesome," said Tabitha Dunn, an EHS student who was a victim. "It’s a lot of fun."
She got into her role as a victim, complaining "It hurts." Each of the victims was given a card with their wounds listed and their vital signs. "I hate needles," she informed the EMT on her ride to Ellinwood District Hospital. She had never ridden in an ambulance before.
The event was organized by Emergency Medical Technician Brittney Glenn. "We recognized this is a sensitive topic, and we had many long discussions about what type of drill would be received by the public and the parents of the students at USD 355.
"We can either practice and be prepared or bury our heads in the sand, pretending like nothing is wrong," she said.
The public was not allowed to view the event. "Safety is our primary concern, and for that reason, we have to restrict access to those who are playing an active role in the event," said Debbie Glenn, director of Ellinwood EMT services.
The drill went well, said Debbie Glenn.