FARMINGTON — Representatives of many law enforcement agencies, firefighters, emergency management and emergency medical responders took part in active threat/shooter training Thursday at the University of Maine at Farmington.
The training was put on by officers from the University of Maine at Farmington Campus Police Department, Farmington Police Department and Maine State Police. A representative of the University of the Maine Police Department in Orono also assisted with training equipment, including bringing nonlethal Simunition guns.
There was a briefing for participants prior to the different scenarios that would play out in UMF campus buildings.
The intent was to find out if there were weaknesses in tactics, if there was a threat or active shooter incident in Franklin County.
They would learn from any mistakes, UMF Sgt. Ryan Wagner told those gathered at Thomas Auditorium for a briefing prior to training scenarios being acted out.
Wagner told participants to pick up their safety masks before going to the place where a scenario was to take place.
A county dispatcher broadcast over the scanner that shots were fired inside a campus building and emphasized it was a drill. She called out several agencies, including Farmington Fire Rescue Department and NorthStar EMS ambulance personnel. Members of the UMF facility crisis management team also responded.
Farmington Fire Rescue Chief Terry Bell, Deputy Chief Clyde Ross and Deputy Chief/Franklin County EMA Director Tim Hardy set up an incident command center near the end of South Street. The road was closed off for the training exercises.
Law enforcement would be busy dealing with what was going on in the crisis situation and firefighters and other agencies would take care of some of the other details, including calling for roads to be closed off and schools and other places to be locked down.
The command center team reviewed what they would do in case of a threat, active shooter and possible hostage situation. They had not received radio transmissions from inside the buildings so they knew that would need to be improved.
A drill is the evaluation of response by necessary departments and communications between those departments, Ross said.
The idea is to learn the weaknesses and to improve upon it, he said.
If a situation warranted, buildings would be locked down and adults, including colleges students, would most likely be told to shelter-in-place, Bell said.
“I think the most important thing is to get the daycare kids out of there,” he said.
There is a daycare on the campus.
Regional School Unit 9 representatives would be alerted and told to lock-down nearby W. G. Mallett School, a pre-kindergarten to second-grade school, if the incident took place in the UMF area.
Farmington Public Works Department would be asked to bring barricades to shutdown nearby streets.
The command center team continued to make a list of who should be alerted and what should be done as the active incident went on inside the buildings.
Sgt. Ryan Wagner, left, of the University of Maine at Farmington Campus Police Department gives information Thursday to law enforcers, firefighters and county emergency management representatives before they participate in active threat/shooter training scenarios at UMF. (Donna M. Perry/Sun Journal)
Franklin County Emergency Agency Director/Farmington Fire Rescue Deputy Chief Tim Hardy, left, Farmington Fire Rescue Deputy Chief Clyde Ross and Chief Terry Bell set up a command center Thursday on South Street during an active threat/shooter training exercise at the University of Maine at Farmington. (Donna M. Perry/Sun Journal)