Alex City first responders sharpen skills with active-shooter drill

Active shooter drill held at Alex City school

ALEX CITY, Ala. (WSFA) - Some learning of a different sort took place Monday at an Alex City high school.

“There is a car fire in the parking lot of Benjamin Russell High School," said a student as he called 911 as his part of a script for an active-shooter drill. The call was for a car explosion, a diversionary tactic for two shooters to carry out their deadly deed inside the school.

Alex City, Alabama law enforcement and student actors gets a chance to practice for an active-shooter situation at Benjamin Russell High School
Alex City, Alabama law enforcement and student actors gets a chance to practice for an active-shooter situation at Benjamin Russell High School (Source: WSFA 12 News)

Lexi Garrett volunteered to play one of the victims and was impressed with how firefighters and police responded in the exercise.

“They acted like everything was really happening and I feel like that they would act like that in real life," she said.

The exercise was five months in the making, and one Todd Sassano felt was necessary.

“With the bad that’s going on in the country, we wanted to make sure our local first responders and school systems, everybody is prepared for any situation," Sassano, a paramedic with the Alex City Fire Department, explained.

To make it feel more authentic, first responders held a news conference at the Central Alabama Community College afterward.

Alex City, Alabama law enforcement and student actors gets a chance to practice for an active-shooter situation at Benjamin Russell High School
Alex City, Alabama law enforcement and student actors gets a chance to practice for an active-shooter situation at Benjamin Russell High School (Source: WSFA 12 News)

“Students who were non-injured, non-affected have been transported," one official said.

Organizers say, overall, the exercise went well at the high school. Everybody was on point. But they admitted there were a couple of things they need to work on.

“Communications. We did have a hard time in some of the buildings," Sassano stated.

Alex City, Alabama law enforcement and student actors gets a chance to practice for an active-shooter situation at Benjamin Russell High School
Alex City, Alabama law enforcement and student actors gets a chance to practice for an active-shooter situation at Benjamin Russell High School (Source: WSFA 12 News)

Under this scenario, four students died, including one of the shooters. Twelve were taken to the hospital. The script called for the other shooter to be captured. The entire drill lasted about 45 minutes.

Sassano said the exercise itself was delayed for about 15 minutes because Alex City paramedics had real emergencies to respond to before beginning the drill.

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