Cherokee County community disaster drill: 'Shots fired! Shots fi - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Cherokee County community disaster drill: 'Shots fired! Shots fired!'

CHEROKEE COUNTY, TX (KLTV) -

Wednesday, Cherokee County hosted their annual community disaster drill.

Each year it's a different disaster. This year the event took place at the Jacksonville Middle School campus where they simulated an active shooting as well as other unexpected disasters.

The disaster took a year to plan and is a collaborated effort by police, first responders, hospitals and city officials.

"The primary thing we're practicing is the SWAT Team clearing the school of someone shooting but it also allows us to practice communication between the different departments and the different roles in how the school reacts and everybody involved if it were really somebody shooting in the school," said Paul White, the Fire Chief of Jacksonville Fire Department.

Communication between police, EMS, and the fire department is something they work on for a faster and safer response.

"It was a lot smoother with our communications which we had worked on before for the last couple of years. I think some of the things we had put in place was a lot better," said Paul Duncan, the Team Leader of Integrated Services for Trinity Mother Frances.

The variety of training keeps responders prepared.

The scene included a hostage and even a mock-up Anthrax case.

"We try to hit a spectrum of training but we look at the threats that are actually there and what is likely to happen or could happen," said Reece Daniel, Chief of Jacksonville Police.

School officials say they welcome this kind of training.

"One of our number one concerns is for safety and security and so we wanted to work with police and the county as we looked for safety and security for the students and as we practiced different drills," said Joe Wardell, Superintendent of Jacksonville Independent School District.

"We're committed to the safety of the people in town and even outside of town and this type of training again is so vital and that's why we do so much of it," said Daniel.

...in hopes of saving more lives.

Cherokee County says they have already started planning for next year's community disaster drill.

Copyright 2013 KLTV. All rights reserved.

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