BRUNSWICK COUNTY, N.C. -- Brunswick County first responders and school administrators are more prepared to protect students after an active shooter drill on Thursday at South Brunswick High School.

  • The drill began with an explosion and a smoking car
  • About 150 faculty members participated in the exercise
  • For law enforcement, they first identify the threat, then help the wounded, and finally get people out the building

Starting with an explosion and a smoking car, the drill was kept as realistic as possible, putting those involved in the mindset of an actual emergency. Firefighters, EMS and other responders received a call to the high school around 9:30 a.m.

"An exercise like this helps us make sure that our coordinated response is effective and streamlined as much as possible," said Brunswick County Sheriff John Ingram.

School faculty members volunteered to role play and fill the school as teachers and students. With about 150 of the volunteers from across the district on hand, local law enforcement remained sharp. 

They had to keep track of each other -- checking in before anyone entered the building -- and stay aware of what they were seeing and experiencing.

Ingram said they have done drills like this before, but there is never enough training for the real thing.

"Each time we inevitably learn something and we try to improve upon that, and that's what this is all about," said Ingram.

Brunswick County Superintendent Les Tubb said this is an opportunity for the school system to know their role and protocol during a worst case scenario as well.

"They're practicing what they do well and want to do better, and we're practicing the protocols that we have in place in these schools," said Tubb. "We're looking for those areas that we have weakness in."

Tubb said 10 to 15 years ago they didn't have to worry about training teachers like this, but now it's imperative.

"When you have an active shooter, you're looking at three big things," said Tubb. "You run if you can, you hide if you can, and then if you have to reach the bottom line, you fight." 

For law enforcement, they first identify the threat, then help the wounded, and finally get people out the building, all with the safety of the students in mind.

"We're here to serve and protect, and we want to make sure that our schools are as safe as possible," said Ingram.

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