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Missoula emergency response agencies train together for active shooter scenarios

Posted at 5:13 PM, Oct 08, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-08 19:13:30-04

MISSOULA – Mount Jumbo School, a vacant elementary school in East Missoula, played host to a special training session between multiple emergency response agencies from Missoula.

It’s called Active Attack Integrated Response, and its main goal is to better prepare emergency responders for active shooter situations.

They hope that preparation can help achieve the class’ goal of saving more lives at the scene of an active shooter.

AAIR hopes to do that by training different response agencies together for an active shooter scenario.

“The important part, for us, is it’s given us the opportunity in Missoula to have all of our area first responders training on the same page of how to respond to an active attack, active shooter events,” said Captain David Conway with the Missoula County Sheriffs Office.

Training together is something that emergency response agencies in Missoula rarely get an opportunity to do.

“Unfortunately, it’s actually kind of seldom where we do get to co-mingle everybody together,” said Missoula Rural Fire Battalion Chief Blaine Cowan. “Fire and EMS work pretty tightly together on a daily basis, but for us to get law enforcement, fire and EMS all together in the same room and work together on our communication or our plan. Just actually have an idea of what we are going to do in this situation in the moment.” 

Now that all these groups are training together, they can work on a new strategy for de-escalating active shooter scenarios.

“This program creates what is referred to as Rescue Task Force Concept,” Conway said. “So the first couple cops that get on scene will still go in and do what they do. Then the next group of cops that get on scene, the next 3,4,5 cop numbers that get there will grab a fire engine crew and bring them in with them as a rescue task force into what is referred to as a “warm zone,” into the spot where we don’t think there’s a bad guy left still, but their might be.”

Training was funded by the Department of Justice and was made possible through grant funds secured by the Office of Emergency Management.

Office of Emergency Management Director Adriane Beck says the training was something that was well needed and said that the agency was happy to help secure the funding.