"This is about as real as we can make it and doing it in a safe aspect," says Kalida Police Chief Jim Gulker.
Putnam County first responders spent their weekend at Kalida High School learning how to be proactive in an active shooter situation. The Tactical Emergency Causality Care, or T.E.C.C., training shows how different emergency services like police, fire, and EMS can work together in order to diffuse the situation as quickly as possible.
"It's simulating what we would actually do in a real life with real-life weapons, and use that training in conducting and getting through the actual event, and doing it safely, efficiently, and try to save as many people but eliminate the threat at the same time," says Gulker.
Using airsoft rifles and real gear, the trainees went through the motions as if a real active shooter was in the school. Kalida students volunteered to play injured people with varying problems along the way. They even used fake bombs, hand grenades, and trip wires to make the situation feel all the more real.
It is hard to imagine a local community like Kalida ever needing this sort of knowledge, but it is becoming more and more apparent that mass shootings can happen anywhere to anyone.
"As we've seen from the events of the past more recently it hasn't been big cities," says T.E.C.C. instructor Matthew Homik. "It's been small towns, small communities, and no one is immune from the situation that's happening, unfortunately."
The simulation feels just as real to the students volunteering their time. Kalida senior Chandler Hopkins says it made him realize his school is just as vulnerable to an active shooter as any, but seeing his local law enforcement take such a proactive approach to the safety of their students is comforting.
"It feels definitely real; they have gunshots going through the hallways and flash bangs going off, and people screaming," says Hopkins. They're taking it seriously and I think it's a good thing. Makes me feel like they can do their job, you know, you think they should be able to do it but then you see it in action and it gives you some confidence as well."
And while it is not easy to see students on the ground, fake injuries or not, Gulker believes this type of realistic training is what first responders need to experience.
"I think this is going to start catching on and more and more people are going to realize that this is what we have to do," says Gulker. "This training is what we need to do to catch up on the wave of violence in our schools."