Updated: Thursday, 03 Jan 2013, 6:53 PM EST
Published : Thursday, 03 Jan 2013, 5:13 PM EST
CLINTON COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) - It was as real as it could get. From sirens, to screaming, to sounds of gunshots, to even bodies lying on the ground – a mock school disaster exercise in Frankfort, Ind., helped first responders train for real-life emergencies.
"We have that added dimension of actually having children lying on the floor in the hallways that could possibly be 'injured,’” Clinton County Sheriff’s Deputy Dan Roudebush said.
Thursday morning, Clinton County law enforcement agencies held a mock school disaster exercise at the Indiana Army National Guard Armory in Frankfort.
Frankfort Police Chief Troy Bacon says this type of additional training for first responders is crucial.
"We need to have this training so we keep everybody on the same page,” Bacon said. “There are no do-overs in a situation like this. If something needs to be tweaked or changed, this is the time to do it. In a stressful situation, you revert back to the training you received and that’s why it’s so important to have this training today."
Frankfort Mayor Chris McBarnes echoed those thoughts.
"We live in a very unstable world,” McBarnes said. “Public safety is (of) the utmost importance in this community. You can never be too prepared.”
The exercise was a simulated call of a gunman at a school. Clinton County authorities say they had this scenario planned months before the Dec. 14 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary school in Newtown, Conn., but afterward knew it was more important than ever to hold the exercise.
"When you put that badge on, you're basically signing a waiver to put yourself second,” Bacon said. “And that's what you have to do in these situations. Place yourself second and run towards that gunfire."
Evan Hall works as a jail guard for Clinton County and played the role as the active shooter during Wednesday's drill. He says it felt all too real.
"Those blanks are still pretty loud,” Hall said. “In a sense it does feel real, especially with the recent things that have happened. It kind of hits home."
And if a similar situation were ever to hit home, Clinton County law enforcement authorities want to remind residents they're trained and their skills are continually being refreshed.