Emergency Training Exercise at MHHS

Post date: Oct 2, 2015 1:21:23 PM

After months of planning and extensive coordination by administration of Mountain Heritage High School, members of local law enforcement and emergency response teams, the emergency training held at MHHS on Monday was an incredible experience for all involved.

After an early dismissal of schools on Monday, participating school staff from across the county arrived at MHHS to fill their roles as students and victims to allow for a “real-life” event for the high school staff.

The exercise simulated two shooters on campus who moved through the hallways, leaving victims and evidence for law enforcement and emergency responders to have to process and evaluate.

MHHS Principal Kevin Huskins said, “Drills of this nature are always eye opening and intense. Every agency that participated was professional and well trained. It was a very good experience for our faculty and staff members.”

The Sheriff’s Office, Burnsville Police Department, Yancey EMS, Emergency Management and State Highway Patrol responded to the scene as well as middle school SROs Mike McCart and Rick Turner. Members from each law enforcement agency were involved in cornering and apprehending the male shooter while EMS staged to receive victims at the tennis court area. MHHS SRO Anthony Renfro, who was on campus when the first shots were fired and captured the female shooter very quickly into the drill, stated, “There is nothing like being put in the middle of a scenario to help teach you how to react. It was great for all involved to participate in such a valuable training.”

The Burnsville Fire Department secured the entrance to the school campus and other fire departments across the county were on call to provide backup as needed.

Several people were invited to wear safety vests and move through the school as spectators during the exercise. Commissioners Jill Austin, Jeff Whitson and Burl Ballew, as well as County Manager Nathan Bennett and Commissioner Clerk Jason Robinson felt almost a part of the action as the scene played out right in front of their eyes. Austin stated, “It was wonderful to see this many groups come together with a vision of ensuring safety among our kids. I applaud the efforts made by everyone involved.”

School Board Member Norb McKinney and principals from other schools followed the action by security camera monitor in the principal’s office.

Superintendent Dr. Tony Tipton stated, “Over the past few years, with support from the Commissioners, we have made securing our school sites a priority. This drill is one more step taken to make our schools safer for everyone. I appreciate the many hours and attention to detail that has been put in coordinating this event and want to thank Instructors Chief Deputy Shane Hilliard, Lt. Ryan Higgins and Chief of Police Brian Buchanan. With their help, we all benefit from this type of drill in our schools.”