To better prepare for dangerous events in schools the Wauwatosa School District, Fire, and Police Departments teamed up to participate in a situation preparedness exercise. Although it occurred six years ago on May 19th in 2012, the preparedness for emergency situations is still a very important subject in schools across the nation.
23 members of the school district, 7 media students from West, 60 police men and women, and 45 firemen and women participated in the exercise. Students from West were brought in to act as hostages to make the simulation taking place at Whitman Middle School more realistic.
One student hostage Hannah Fritsch, acted as a thirteen year old girl who was shot in the chest and had uncontrolled bleeding in her arm. The SWAT team came in and carried her out.
She said the experience was “kind of scary but a lot of fun.”
Another student, Breanna Subotich said it was fun because they were able to sit in a squat car.
“They made it seem very realistic,” she said. “If I had the opportunity to I would participate again.”
One theater student, Brian Condon acted as he if he died in the exercise. “It was very scary,” he said.
Another theater student, Susie Shively was involved.
“It was terrifying and I wouldn’t compare it to theater because it wasn’t acting. It was legitimate terror,” she said.
Student reporters also played a role simulating a press release.
The School Resource Officer Doug Braun said that the exercise was done to see if what’s prepared on paper would work in a real crisis and what needs to be improved on.
Overall students involved agreed the exercise demonstrated the preparedness of the departments nicely.
Superintendent Phil Ertl said they would use the exercise to determine what went well and what didn’t. “Hopefully we’ll never have to use it (in real situation),” he said.
But even though six years has past, emergency situations have become an even larger concern for many students, staff, and people across the U.S. A real situation similar to the exercise at the time seemed much farther off than today.