Public Safety prepares personnel for active attack situation

Sean Schmoyer, Asst. News Editor

The Department of Public Safety at Wilkes University hosted Active Attack Integrated Response training earlier this summer to prepare emergency personnel for active attack situations.

The training was held on campus in the Stark Learning Center. The campus was selected by the Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training (ALERRT) Center to provide training for emergency personnel.

Christopher Jagoe, Wilkes Director of Public Safety, said, “This is an integral part of our all-hazards approach to delivering critical emergency services for Wilkes University and the surrounding community.  We’re proud to have ALERRT select Wilkes as a training site.”

ALERRT provides the training for local first responders. ALERRT’s trainings are free, as they are a government funded program. As host of the training, Public Safety does not have to worry about expenses.

The training was for emergency personnel from Wilkes University, Wilkes-Barre, Kingston, Plains Township, Wyoming, West Wyoming, Nanticoke, Plymouth, Pittston, Hanover Township, as well as personnel from the Luzerne County District Attorney’s Office and Luzerne County 911.

Active attack situations are defined as any dangerous encounter where an individual is actively engaged in attempting to kill or killing people in a populated and confined space. One of the most heard of active attack situations are gunmen in locations like schools, churches and other enclosed buildings.

The training focused on integrating the resources between the police, fire and EMS agencies. Other areas of the training sought to improve were effectiveness and coordination between the agencies.

Response tactics taught to the agencies were based on the tactical emergency casualty care guidelines from the National Association of Emergency Medical Techniques. These tactics are meant to be used to aid victims and increase survival rates in attack situations.

“Our officers have and will continue to train in responding to critical incidents such as an active attack. In doing so, we must also prepare our first responders to safely intervene, control bleeding and save lives. We are pleased to collaborate and train with our local police, fire, EMS and telecommunications dispatchers to provide effective and coordinated responses to critical incidents in the surrounding area,” said Jagoe.

The training was not the last the Department of Public Safety had planned. The end of July saw Public Safety host a demonstration of the hand held restraint device known as the BolaWrap.

Jagoe said, “The BolaWrap is a hand-held remote restraint device that discharges an 8-foot bola style Kevlar tether at 640 feet per second to entangle a subject at a range of 10-25 feet.  We have around a dozen police departments coming out to look at this new product.”

From the BolaWrap to active attack training Public Safety plans to continue training sessions like the one in June throughout the year to keep emergency personnel well prepared and able to react to crisis no matter what they may be.

“It is a fantastic way to network with other law enforcement/first responders in the area.  We also understand that in many situations, that includes an active attack, these would be the local police officers coming to campus to assist my department or for us to assist others.  It is good that we have the same or similar tactical training in responding to such issues,” Jagoe said.