Emergency Workers Retrace Va. Tech Lessons

 

 
 
 

Patrick Wilson | | Thursday, April 2, 2009


MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Va. -- Nearing the second anniversary of a mass shooting at Virginia Tech, many of the state's emergency management workers continue to ponder how they responded to the tragedy on that day.

"We just pray that somewhere along the line, what we've done and what we have experienced ... has made a difference," said Neal Turner, the emergency services coordinator for Montgomery County, which includes Virginia Tech's campus in Blacksburg.

Turner and Stanley Crigger, a regional coordinator in southwest Virginia with the Virginia Department of Emergency Management, discussed the Virginia Tech response at the 2009 Virginia Emergency Management Conference at the Hampton Roads Convention Center Thurs day. They said emergency managers are communicating better because of what they learned after April 16, 2007.

"The events of Virginia Tech are so real every day on every college campus, every high school and every middle school around the United States," Turner said. "We hear things every day where students are bringing guns to school."

On that day, gunman Seung-Hui Cho killed two students in West Ambler Johnston Hall at 7:15 a.m. At 9:40 a.m., Cho began an 11-minute shooting spree in Norris Hall, killing 30 students and teachers and wounding many others before killing himself.

Police officers came from 40 law enforcement agencies, and more than 120 first-responders arrived from rescue agencies, along with 27 ambulances.

Bomb threats were made immediately after the shootings, heightening fear on campus, Turner recalled .

"Any noise brought back that idea that someone else was going to be shot," he said.

Among the many tasks in the days after the shootings were feeding police officers, providing counseling to first responders, working in the shadow of about 160 news trucks and cleaning up the campus.

Turner outlined the response from the community, church groups and the private sector. A local Wal-Mart provided chicken dinners to police and responders for a month for free, he said. A rapid response team of chaplains arrived from the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.

The shootings and aftermath are leading to improved day-to-day communication between emergency responders, he said.

"The greatest step in what we've done to change things is we began to communicate with each other," he said. "Sometimes it's just getting together and sitting down and saying, 'What's going on in your world? What can I do to help you?'"

Patrick Wilson, (757) 446-2957, patrick.wilson@pilotonline.com




Connect: Have a thought or feedback about this? Add your comment now
Related Topics: WMD and Terrorism

 
What's Your Take? Comment Now ...

Buyer's Guide Featured Companies

Featured Careers & Jobs in EMS

Get JEMS in Your Inbox

 

Fire EMS Blogs


Blogger Browser

Today's Featured Posts

 

EMS Airway Clinic

Mechanical CPR is Producing Resuscitation Results Beyond Expectations

Discover why clinical studies are finding mechanical CPR just as effective as optimally-performed CPR.
More >

Multimedia Thumb

New York First Responders Take Extraordinary Steps to Help Residents

Snow causes fire and EMS crews to go beyond call of duty.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Raw Video: Explosion and Fire at California Business

Over a dozen hurt in Santa Paula blaze.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Four Workers Killed at Texas Chemical Plant

Five employees exposed to methyl mercaptan in La Porte.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Worker Killed in North Carolina Bridge Collapse

A fatal construction site collapse occurred in Wake County.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Plane Crashes into Chicago Home

Pilot reported engine trouble after takeoff.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

Switzerland Landslide Kills Two, Injures Four

Slide hits residential building near Lugano.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

World Trade Center Rescue

Technical rescue work is done at nation’s tallest skyscraper.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

LMA MAD Nasal™

Needle-free intranasal drug delivery.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

The AmbuBus®, Bus Stretcher Conversion Kit - EMS Today 2013

AmbuBus®, Bus Stretcher all-hazards preparedness & response tool
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

VividTrac offered by Vivid Medical - EMS Today 2013

VividTrac, affordable high performance video intubation device.
Watch It >


More Product Videos >