One organizer, Johnson County Emergency Management Director Dave Wilson, says the exercise seems even more necessary in the wake of recent shootings in Dayton and El Paso. “So for us, it’s all reality,” Wilson says. “We don’t take a, ‘it’s a never going to happen here’ approach. We try and be ready for what happens when it’s our turn because it’s very possible.”
The exercise is meant to be a full-scale simulation. Multiple law enforcement agencies from across Johnson County are responding, and medical professionals are working to triage volunteers posing as victims, then transporting them to area hospitals for treatment.
“More than anything, it probably reinforces the fact that, yeah, this is a relevant thing, this isn’t some wild training exercise that is never going to happen here. I don’t think anybody feels that way,” Wilson says. “We all thought prior to Texas and prior to Ohio that this could happen here.”
Wilson says the exercise has been in the works for years and the timing is coincidental. He says it’s the first such training in about three years to include EMS in addition to law enforcement. With each incident, he says agencies do additional preparation for the responsibility they never hope to have.
(Thanks to Kate Payne, Iowa Public Radio)