Johnson County first responders holding active shooter drill on University of Iowa campus

Published: Aug. 13, 2019 at 3:55 AM CDT
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Johnson County Emergency Management wants to make sure first responders are prepared in the event of an active shooter situation.

Numerous agencies across the county will be part of an active shooter drill Tuesday on the University of Iowa campus.

The drill has been several years in the making. Leaders say it was planned long before the recent mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio.

Officials say recent shootings over the years emphasized the need to hold these types of simulations.

The drill will start at 8:30 am at the University of Iowa Campus and Recreation Center and last about 4 hours. Commuters should look for detours because the road will be closed.

Eventually, there will be a debrief at the Johnson County EMA Center.

During the drill, a person posing as an active shooter will enter and shoot 12 people.

Police will come in and stop the threat, treat the victims and take them to one of the three local hospitals.

First responders will focus on areas where there is a low-risk threat to start treating victims.

"Going clear back to Columbine [shooting],” said Dave Wilson Johnson County Emergency Management Director. “When you saw people lay in a room and pretty much bleed out because they were looking for secondary searches to occur in a building and law enforcement to deem those areas safe."

Wilson says over time, the focus has also shifted on stopping the threat right away during an active shooter situation.

“The whole tactic has really changed quite a bit. Especially since Columbine and Virginia Tech [shootings], of the whole contain the shooter, try to negotiate with the shooter and things like that,” said Wilson. “To immediate arrival of law enforcement officer, respond to the shooting, contain that threat, neutralize that threat, do whatever you can do to stop the killing.”

First responders say a person's best options during an active shooter situation is to run, fight or hide. They stress every situation is different, so it's whatever a person feels is the best method to survive.

Two years ago, Johnson County last held a disaster drill for a simulated plane crash.

They want to remind people to not live in fear, but to report anything suspicious that they see.

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