EMA, DHR learn active shooter prevention skills

Published 3:42 pm Thursday, April 21, 2016

Crenshaw County has already begun to take proactive steps toward preparing for emergencies, such as active shooter attacks.

Last Wednesday, representatives from Crenshaw County’s Department of Human Resources (DHR), Emergency Management Agency (EMA), Sheriff’s Office, Luverne Police Department, Brantley Police Department, Crenshaw Community Hospital, Beacon Children’s Hospital, Crenshaw County Schools, Crenshaw Christian Academy, Luverne Fire Department and Smart Alabama, LLC all gathered in Dallas County for a table-top exercise in planning for, responding to and recovering from an active shooter situation.

There were a total of 22 different agencies from surrounding counties present for the group discussion and exercise. Each agency represented was able to bring their own emergency policies and procedures to the table to compare with and learn from as the meeting unfolded. Crenshaw County EMA director Elliott Jones was excited to see how well those from his county responded to the exercise.

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“Anytime that we can reach outside of our county for information, it becomes another form of thinking outside of the box. Each individual present has their own unique knowledge, but when you fill a room with that many people it becomes a wealth of knowledge under one roof,” Jones said.

“My hope is that we can bring this outside knowledge back to our county and enhance our own policies and procedures to better plan for and protect our own community.”

Crenshaw County DHR director Kristi Maddox is glad to know that exercises like these are taking place, and she is grateful that her department was able to participate.

“With all of our programs here at DHR, we work with situations that would potentially lead people to become upset or angry,” Maddox said.

“We already have training that we have in the office in DHR that all staff are required to take about active shooters, and with this meeting we got more information. My agency is one of the main places that could potentially be a target for an upset client.”

Maddox and the safety committee for DHR attended the meeting and were able to not only hear about active shooter information, but also for other emergencies they may face.

The day proved successful, and Jones says he is ready to take the information he gathered and bring it back to serve Crenshaw County.

“Without this type of support from our county agencies, the EMA education program would be crippled,” Jones said.

“These individuals took time out of their busy schedules because they care and I want them to know how much they are appreciated for their interest in our community’s safety. We have come a long way over the last year, but we still have so much more work to do.”