GREAT FALLS — School hallways are usually empty during the summer months, which make them a perfect place for a training exercise. While school is out for summer, the Great Falls Police Department can use the empty buildings for training when they need it.
That's exactly what they did with rescue task force training at East Middle School on Thursday. The training is for helping better prepare first responders for mass casualty or active shooter incidents. Their training is focused on the integrated response between the police and other agencies like the fire department and Emergency Services.
Lt Tony Munkres of the GFPD said, “These training scenarios are important to add some realism to our training. We train quite frequently it's very beneficial. Scenes can be chaotic. There's a lot of coordination. And just getting our guys exposed to this level of training will benefit us in the future.”
They also used volunteers as role players with fake wounds on their bodies to signify blood. Munkres says it’s a good way to get interaction with the community and to show them more of what they do. The blood and victims alert responders to who needs immediate help and who is a hypothetical casualty.
It helps make the scenarios more realistic and gives the public a chance to see something new.
Michael Cronin was one of the volunteers and wanted to help because he says he’s passionate about helping police, especially with kids of his own.
“I have kids that go to school. I hope they never have to respond to something like this but I want them to be the best they can be,” Cronin said. “I'm playing the role in this scenario of a person who's dead, and there's other people who have other injuries that they're going to have to help and carry out. So they basically have to decide who to help and who not to help. I would recommend helping if you’re interested. The officers can’t do this without the volunteers. It’s a big help for them.”
The next training is set for July 19th. If you are interested in volunteering, you can contact GFPD volunteer coordinator Adrienne Ehrke at 406-455-8408.
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