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Portsmouth city employees prepare for active shooter scenario

PORTSMOUTH, OH (WOWK) - First responders are helping Portsmouth city employees prepare for the worst, by practicing an active shooter situation. Portsmouth's police and fire departments put on an active shooter drill Tuesday for the Portsmouth City Health Department staff.

"Unfortunately in this day and age, there's been a lot of incidents of active shooters, so this was a way to prepare the health department and other city employees for an active shooter event," said Andy Gedeon, Director of Environmental Health at the Portsmouth City Health Department.

The drill also helps first responders practice their training. Not only would police officers respond to an active shooter threat, but also the fire department's TEMS team, which stands for Tactical Emergency Medical Support.

"Our TEMS team, they are armed," said Sgt. Andrew Dawes with the Portsmouth Police Department. "They do go through firearms training, as well as some training on searching rooms and buildings and active shooter response."

Employees at the Portsmouth City Health Department played the role of hostages and victims, learning how to safeguard themselves in the process. 

"We started off the day with giving some basic instruction on stopping the bleed, how to use tourniquets, and how to plug any wounds that they may come across in situations like this," said Sgt. Dawes.

The fake scenario helped reveal mistakes then, rather than during a real incident that could cost someone's life. 

"There's several areas that we need to improve on like our communication during the incident," said Gedeon. "We need to improve on our codes and information system. The good thing about having these drills is you learn where your weak areas are and we learned the areas that we need to improve on."

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