Dozens of agencies train for active shooter event in Clay County

CLAY COUNTY, Fla. — Mass shootings are an unfortunate reality that first responders now have to train for. On Tuesday, the Clay County Sheriff’s Office brought first responders in the area together for real-world training.

It’s about as real as it gets: radio calls, maps, computer screens, and whiteboards. No time to spare.

Around 50 first responders in Clay County from Duval County School Board Police, St. Johns County Fire Rescue, to Orange Park Mall Security teamed up for the simulated active shooter situation.

“Clay County, we are not super resource-rich. So if we did have a mass casualty incident in the county, it’s very realistic that those partners that are here training with us today, would actually be responding with us,” Clay County Sheriff Michelle Cook said.

In the simulated training, dispatchers took 9-1-1 calls, first responders kept track of other first responders at the scene and worked together to decide who to send where, and other first responders practiced doing media briefings.

The three-day training is rigorous but necessary, the sheriff says. She says most agencies have tactical training down (drawing guns and chasing down the shooter), but agencies fall short when it comes to management during such situations.

“This is what we’re focusing on. How do we from a dozen different agencies come together and manage this chaos? And that’s what this training does for us,” she explained.

Sheriff Cook hopes to never have to deal with a mass shooting, but she is confident every first responder is ready.