BY KEN LITTLE
First responders and Tusculum College employees worked together Monday to respond to a mock disaster scenario on the college campus.
The scenario involved "an active shooter" on campus with explosives, and multiple injuries.
Shortly before noon, a call came into Tusculum College security about a report of an armed man on campus. Responders staging at the Tusculum Police Department were notified.
The scenario included injured students and an "officer down." The shooter was taken into custody minutes after law enforcement responded to the scene. The focus of the exercise then turned to treatment and transportation of injured students.
The mock emergency was staged "to help both the Tusculum College community and surrounding emergency response personnel improve their preparedness for a real emergency situation," college spokeswoman Suzanne Richey said in a news release.
Agencies reacted to the event "as if it is real, which will provide valuable training for both the emergency personnel and Tusculum staff members involved," Richey said.
Bill Brown, county emergency management director, said the exercise provided a valuable opportunity to interact with college officials.
"We're anxious to work with Tusculum College and all the emergency personnel. It's vital that we do this and work with the public," Brown said.
There were nearly 200 participants in the exercise, including first responders, college employees and student volunteers, Brown said.
The Greene County Sheriff's Department Mobile Command Center was set up in the parking lot of the Niswonger Commons student center.
"There's multiple agencies involved. I think doing it here at Tusculum College is a good idea," Sheriff Steve Burns said. "There's a lot of people and a lot of activity in this area."
Tusculum College "is certainly a focal point of the City of Tusculum," Burns said.
"I think we will learn a lot. We will gain a lot of experience here today," he said.
Members of the Greeneville Fire Department also participated in the exercise.
"You pretty much look at your protocols and how you operate and how the response is.
"It's not a normal fire, and this just provides us with the opportunity to look at our response protocols and procedures and how to respond to an event like this," fire Chief Mark Foulks said.
In the disaster scenario, about 30 students suffered traumatic injuries and two officers were shot by the gunman.
Greene County-Greeneville EMS personnel transported patients to the triage area on campus, and from the triage area to Laughlin Memorial Hospital.
"I think it went real well," EMS Director Robert Sayne said of the exercise.
Participating in the scenario on Monday were Tusculum College Campus Safety, the Greeneville Fire Department, the Greeneville Police Department, the Greene County Sheriff's Department, the Tusculum Police Department, Greene County-Greeneville Emergency Medical Services, the Tusculum Volunteer Fire Department, Greene County Office of Emergency Management, Wings Air Rescue, Laughlin Memorial Hospital and the Walters State Community College Police Academy.
The simulated disaster scenario was being coordinated by the college's Office of Student Affairs and School of Nursing, the Emergency Management Agency and the Greeneville Fire Department.