(Walhalla, SC)--------------------------------------The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office continues to focus on providing safety and security for students, teachers, administrators and staff of schools in Oconee County. Numerous public safety agencies, along with the School District of Oconee County, will be holding a table top exercise this month. This training is simply being proactive and not the result of any threat related to any of the schools in the county.
The exercise will take place at the Hamilton Career and Technology Center, located in the Oconee Industry and Technology Park, on Tuesday, November 8th. The table top exercise is set to begin at 9:00am and should last from two to three hours. The exercise will simulate an active shooter in a school. No students will be in the building during the drill; all district schools and offices will be closed for Election day.
“Working with the school district and our local, state and federal law enforcement partners, this table top exercise will enable everyone to work together in order to verify the roles and capabilities of each agency involved,” said Oconee County Sheriff Mike Crenshaw. “The scenario will involve an active shooter. We will be able to evaluate the tactics, techniques and response plans for the public safety agencies as well as the safety plans for each school in this exercise. The main objective is to ensure all operations plans are up to date should an actual event occur in our county.”
Public service agencies and the school district have previously conducted meetings and drills regarding the possibility of active shooters in a school. This will be the first table top exercise involving each schools administration, law enforcement, fire, and EMS along with state and federal resources.
“Minutes and seconds can mean the difference between life and death in an active shooter incident,” said Sheriff Crenshaw. “Preparing for an event such as this in a training scenario can increase the efficiency and effectiveness for every responder as well as each school’s safety plan.”
In regards to public safety agencies that will be involved in the table top exercise, they include the five municipal police departments in Oconee County, the Oconee County Coroner’s Office, Oconee County Emergency Services, the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office, state agencies such as SLED, SCDNR, SCEMD and the South Carolina Highway Patrol, federal agencies such as the FBI, DHS and the ATF, as well as Prisma Health, which will include paramedics. School District of Oconee County participants will include representatives from district leadership, principals and teachers.
“School District of Oconee County Superintendent Dr. Michael Thorsland said, “This exercise will provide another opportunity for us to improve the safety of our schools. Strengthening our operational plans and having a better understanding of each agency’s role will make us more prepared and better equipped in the event we face an incident of violence on our campuses. We appreciate our partnership with the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office and all local law enforcement agencies.”
Oconee County Emergency Services Director Scott Krein has served as a facilitator for many tabletop exercises in Oconee County in relation to the nuclear plant and will manage this training as well. “In any event of this magnitude the ability of all public safety personnel to work together is paramount, exercising together will help enhance our ability to respond to all types of critical incidents,” says Director Krein.