NEW CANAAN, Conn. (WTNH)-- In communities across the state, school security has become an even bigger priority following the Sandy Hook tragedy. In New Canaan Thursday, first responders practiced how they would handle any worst case scenario.
Members of a SWAT team rushed into a Connecticut school where a gunman is inside.
What happened at Saxe Middle School in New Canaan Thursday was just a drill, but after Newtown we are all painfully aware of just what can happen.
"It's how my officers are taught to respond, which has changed over the years. Now pretty much the first officer at the scene goes and stops the violence, whereas years ago you waited for SWAT and dealt with it then, now it's stop the casualties, stop the violence, the first officer on the scene pretty much goes after the threat," said Interim Chief Leon Krolikowski, New Canaan Police Department.
This so called 'active shooter' drill is critical for police officers, firefighters, EMS crews, and teachers.
State troopers and members of the FBI were also a part of Thursday's drill.
Coordination between all of these agencies in situations, where seconds can be critical, is what it's all about.
"If this were to ever happen in our community, God forbid, as we've scene in the past, you can see it's a devastating event and if you don't have training to rely on, you're left with just your emotions. So this gives training and learning what each department's capabilities and limitations are," said Michael Handler, New Canaan Emergency Management Director.
And, the training doesn't stop when the shooter is subdued.
First responders practice how they'll deal with the aftermath following a tragedy.
"Causalities, dealing with mass casualties, we had a scenario where the EMS dealing with causalities and triaging and tragedy," said Krolikowski.
New Canaan officials say it takes a great deal of planning to pull off this kind of active shooter drill.
They only have them on Thursday's scale, about once every five years.
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