Area first responders participate in an active shooter training - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

Area first responders participate in an active shooter training exercise

Area first responders participate in an active shooter training exercise

LA CROSSE, Wisconsin  (WXOW) -   A unique training exercise for area first responders.  The drill, involving police, fire, and paramedics, was designed by medical students.

Most of the drills first responders practice, are designed and conducted by other law enforcement.
The people involved know all the players.
But not this time.

This drill, which included a car fire, house fire, and hostages being held by an active shooter, was designed by medical students.

3rd year resident, Walter Baehr says often times physicians have limited information about what brought their patents to the emergency room especially when the situation involves a crime.
That's why Walter and other students from the Wisconsin Academy for Rural Medicine, or WARM, planned and executed this drill with La Crosse police and fire fighters.

"i think it went pretty well," says Baehr.

The exercise helps medical student better understand why first responders do what they do and who physicians should contact if they need more information.
Priceless information during an emergency.

"Realizing that its not just the ambulance crew we need to talk to about what happened, with the patient but also if we can get input from when fire because fire may be the ones that brought him out or maybe it was the police that brought him out, says Baehr."

But the drills are just as valuable for first responders.
Beause they had no part in planning it, they had no idea what to expect, just like in a real emergency.

 "Realistic things that they put in the scenario with the actors and the role playing, the information, the props, the smoke, the different car fires, the real live medical treatment, things like that we usually don't get the opportunity to train with," says Emergency Response Team Leader, Dan Kloss.

The drill, which ended with the shooter dead, didn't go exactly as planned.
Police missed a hiding hostage the first time they searched the scene.
And instead of the departments communicating directly, they had to relay information.

"That can happen in a house fire, it can happen in any kind of situation," says La Crosse County Emergency Management Coordinator, Keith Butler.

But he also says that's OK.

"We thought maybe if we could merge them together, that might be a more efficient way of managing an emergency but other than that things went very very well."

Everyone involved agrees the drill was a success.
Helping first responders and future physicians prepare for the unexpected.

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