NEENAH, Wis. (WFRV) — On Monday, September 27, first responders from four different police agencies, two fire departments, and Gold Cross ambulance came together at the old Shopko building in Neenah to train.
“We gotta be prepared for the worst, you known, hope for the best type of thing,” Lt. Jonathan Kuffel of the Neenah Police Department said.
The scenario the group was preparing for was an active shooter situation.
It’s the type of thing these first responders have already seen.
“All the agencies here responded to the Fox River Mall, you know in the wintertime,” Lt. Kuffel said, referring to January’s deadly shooting at the Fox River Mall.
Now, all those agencies are together again to practice.
“We’re practicing RTF movement, Rescue Taskforce Team, and EMS training for active shooter situations,” Tyler Hillen, a firefighter for Neenah-Menasha Fire Rescue said.
These first responders say it’s important to practice now.
“It happens so quick,” Hillen said. “We want our guys to have some hands-on experience prior to that, and you don’t think it’s going to happen in your town, but if it does, we want our guys to have some practice on it and be ready.”
Lt. Kuffel added, “We all have our roles to play in these events. The police have multiple roles, they have to stop the killing and help save the dying, the fire department’s primary role is to help save the dying.”
As part of the learning exercise, Neenah-Menasha and Appleton firefighters were given the chance to train alongside police.
“For them to see what we do when they’re not around so they can understand when we’re around what we’re all working on,” Lt. Kuffel said.
Gaining an understanding in the old Shopko building: a space that makes the scenario feel more real.
“It’s great because we have such a large area,” Hillen said, “and it’s a realistic setting like an office or a workplace.”
When it comes to this kind of training, the more realistic the better.
“It’s good to get together, practice, so in the case of a real scenario, we’ve kind of worked together and hammered out some of that stuff,” Hillen said.
Training will be taking place at the same location through September 29th.