Rambler Newspapers

Serving Irving, Coppell and Grand Prairie

Training helps first responders prepare for the unthinkable

Photo by John Starkey
Gunshots and simulated explosions bring first responders to Bowie Middle school where volunteers portray the roles of wounded bystanders and teachers. / Photo by John Starkey

Screams and gunfire could be heard within the halls of Bowie Middle School. As first responders arrived, a bomb went off on the east side of the school, ‘killing’ one of the gunmen. And so the morning began with the school in lockdown as a worse-case scenario played out involving gunmen, hostages, police, fire, the Irving ISD and the City’s Office of Emergency Management on March 29.

“In doing this, we see what we are doing well and where the gaps are, so we can train towards the gaps,” said Pat Lamb, Director of School Safety and Operations for Irving ISD. “This is very important. We are continuously talking about response to emergencies. We have an excellent relationship between the police department and the fire department. In the spirit of collaboration, this is designed to prepare us for what might happen in the future.

The Board of Trustees recently tabled a proposal that would have allowed Irving ISD staff members to keep weapons in their parked vehicles for protection in case of emergency.

“This kind of exercise puts it in perspective that when there is such a dangerous scenario, the only thing we want our staff doing is pulling kids into classrooms, turning lights off, and getting out of the line of sight, line of fire. They don’t need weapons in a scenario like this. We want to know when the police department arrives they are the only good guys with weapons.”