University officials at Cal State Long Beach (CSULB) enacted a coordinated multi-agency response to an active shooter and mass casualty incident on the campus. This exercise, held on Aug. 13, comes in the wake of recent shooting incidents that occurred at Santa Monica College and Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut.
More than 150 volunteers participated in the emergency preparedness drill, including personnel from the Long Beach Police and Fire departments, St. Mary Medical Center and other agencies in and around the Long Beach area. Employees from throughout the university also were involved.
“I can’t stress enough the importance of having these types of activities on campus. It is vital to the safety and well-being of our students, faculty and staff that we prepare ourselves to respond appropriately to an active shooter incident,” said CSULB Interim President Donald Para.
In preparing for the exercise, over the past six months representatives from St. Mary Medical Center educated staff at Cal State Long Beach on how to prepare for the possibility of an active shooter inflicting significant injuries to a large number of people. About 30 “mock” victims with makeup and doused in fake blood were on hand to simulate injuries.
One focus of the exercise was on the CSULB Student Health Center and its staff’s ability to perform field triage in the event that outside first-responders are unable to get to the university quickly. During the drill, campus personnel also tested the virtual emergency communications system at the university, which included the campus’ emergency notification system, website, Twitter and Facebook pages.
“We are pleased to work closely with Cal State Long Beach health officials, University Police, Long Beach Police Department, Long Beach Fire Department and all surrounding agencies to conduct this drill,” said St. Mary Medical Center Chief Executive Director Tom Salerno. “By working together as a trauma center and disaster hospital with all our community agencies, we make Long Beach a safer city to live in.”
Also leading up to the drill, CSULB University Police led multiple tabletop discussions with Long Beach Police and Fire and developed strategies for taking down an active shooter on campus while also protecting the health and safety of others who happened to be near the incident.
“The Long Beach Fire Department is pleased to work with our city partners in CSULB, LB Police Department and St. Mary Medical Center to build relationships, develop strategies, share knowledge, resources and plan for scenarios to keep the Long Beach community safe,” said Battalion Chief Jeff Ohs, who participated in the drill.
Underscoring the ongoing need for these types of events, Long Beach Police Chief Jim McDonnell commented, “We always welcome the opportunity for our officers to engage in training exercises with our law enforcement partners. It is vital that we hone our tactical skills together for response to emergency incidents.”
Expressing his gratitude for a successful event, Para extended thanks to the Long Beach Police and Fire departments, St. Mary Medical Center and others from the community whose personnel took time from their busy schedules to help prepare, run and evaluate this drill. “In the event of a real emergency, coordination and communication with these agencies is crucial,” he concluded. “We could not do this drill adequately without them.”