ARGYLE – Men armed with rifles; injured people; hostage negotiations: these scenarios could describe a fight scene in the movies or they could describe the training that took place at Argyle High School on Friday, April 27.
As part of an effort to educate multiple agencies in Lafayette County and those from the surrounding counties, Argyle High School was host to a mock active school-shooting drill that involved law enforcement, fire and EMS personnel.
Lafayette County Emergency Management Director, Theresa Burgess was contacted by the Argyle EMS Chief Andy Chenous asking for assistance in creating the full scale exercise in June 2017. At a meeting in November 2017, the school board was introduced to the Wave system. The district contacted Thomas Hausner & Associates to gather more information on the system. The system was then purchased for about $24,000 and installed in February.
The Wave system is a way for any staff or faculty at Argyle to instantly call for help when there is an emergency by pressing a wireless panic buttons strategically placed throughout the school, that will alert the authorities with a pre-recorded message that is transmitted over law enforcement’s radio and will immediately place the school in lockdown. It is a way for the authorities to be notified within seconds of the emergency instead of having any delays in information.
“There is an ability to know where the threat is moving through the building and that combined with 911 reports, will hopefully be good information to help law enforcement get to the threat,” Burgess responded in an email.
Burgess felt this past Friday’s training was a complete success. This was the first time a fire department, EMS and law enforcement rescue task force training was used together in such a way.
“There will be great improvement as these skills are practiced. It is always good to work the teams through the schools to create familiarity with building lay out and communication needs.”
She has been working with the area schools on ALICE (Alert-Lockdown-Inform-Counter-Evacuate) training along with Stop the Bleed training in both Shullsburg and Blackhawk Schools. Belmont may also do a full-scale exercise later in the fall.
“The goal with every training event is to safely work through a situation to find areas in need of improvement and to determine strengths and weaknesses,” Burgess added.
Agencies that were involved in the exercise were: Argyle School, Belmont School, Argyle Police, Fire and EMS Departments, Village of Argyle, Blanchardville Police and EMS Departments, Darlington Police and Fire Departments, Paramount Ambulance, Shullsburg Police Department, Belmont Police Department, Cuba City Police Department, Woodford Fire and First Response, Wiota Fire and First Response, New Glarus Police Department, Monticello Police Department, Hazel Green Police Department, Juda School District, Green County EMS, SSM – Monroe Clinic, Green County Emergency Management, Iowa County Emergency Management, Lafayette County Emergency Management, Lafayette County Sheriff’s Office and the Monroe/Lafayette/ Green ERT (Emergency Response Team) with Crisis Negotiations.