MORGAN COUNTY, W.Va. - The tragedies at our nation's capital are on the thoughts of the Eastern Panhandle, especially Morgan County emergency services, who just took a course on dealing with the exact situation in D.C.
Morgan County Emergency Services officials had been watching and listening to the news with extreme sadness of the events at the Washington Navy Yard that left 13 people dead during Monday's mass shooting. What happened was all too familiar to dispatcher David Ward.
"The other dispatcher and I both thought it was ironic that we had just had the Active Assailant Course this weekend," said Ward, a Morgan County 911 dispatcher. "So it was just strange that it would happened the day after we finished taking the course."The dispatchers of Morgan County took the Active Assailant course, which is designed by the International Academies of Police. The course teaches dispatchers what information to obtain from eyewitnesses at the scene of a shooting. For example, the description and location of the shooter, and what eyewitnesses should do. The information obtained by dispatch can help police to take the steps from further escalation.
"I remarked to the other dispatcher that I hope their dispatchers had taken the course," said Ward. "They would know exactly what to tell the people to do because if something like that happened here, we are prepared, we would know what to tell the victims.""I think it's important for our dispatchers to know and our public to know what sort of response they are going to get," said Zack Caldwell, director of Morgan County 911. "What they can do to help us and to help themselves to save lives around them, and save their own life."
Morgan county 911 officials say if you are in a similar to the shooting at the Washington Navy Yard, they say relay as much information as you can to dispatch and most of all - answer all of the dispatchers questions.
"Not only can we provide life saving instructions to the caller who is in fear for the life, the lives of those around them," said Caldwell. "We can gather some information from that caller specifically about that assailant. What are they doing, where they are, in that way we can provide that information to our field responders so they can neutralize that threat."
Officials say 11 Morgan County dispatchers took the four hour Active Assailant course.