NEWBERRY, Mich. (WJMN) – First responders from multiple departments and agencies in Luce and other neighboring counties met this past Saturday at Tahquamenon Area Schools for a training session on responding in the case of an active shooter. The exercise aimed to streamline the communication process between the various departments to allow the response to work as efficiently as possible.

Responders broke into teams that took turns arriving at the school and going through the response process, which included law enforcement searching and securing the school grounds followed by EMS arriving to treat victims. While this training had been in the works for months, Luce County Emergency Management Director Chris Peterson says the plan is to hold additional events in the future.

“For this first one, we wanted to focus on emergency services, being both law enforcement, fire, and EMS,” Peterson said. “Our EMS is a big component of this because we’re initiating what’s called Rescue Task Forces, and those Rescue Task Forces are actually going in once an area is cleared and being able to remove victims and get them into medical care immediately. So that’s kind of our practice step for this first round is getting the law enforcement side of hunting down the bad person and then second of all providing security for EMS to come in and remove victims.”

While multiple U.P. schools have canceled classes in recent weeks due to threats of violence, Peterson says the threats haven’t changed the approach taken towards planning the training, but reinforced the need to be vigilant.

“That just heightens the importance of what we’re doing today,” Peterson said. “Because we don’t know if that’s a real threat and we have to take everything that’s a threat as if it is truly real and this gets all of our emergency responders in the county on the same page to do it safely.”