PRINCE GEORGE - The sounds of gunfire erupted from inside Rowanty Technical Center around noon Friday - right on schedule. The gunfire wasn't real, but the lessons being learned were as part of an active- shooter drill for the criminal justice, emergency medical technician and nursing programs at the school.
"We've done scenarios like this before, but never this large," Danny Jarrell, EMT instructor for Rowanty Technical Center, said. "We've got about 40 to 50 people participating today."
In the past, Jarrell said such scenarios have seen about a dozen students.
Friday's drill was one that was inspired, in part, by recent news events.
"It just brings it to light that these things could happen anywhere," Jarrell said. "Like Boston - you just don't know."
He said that with such incidents being fresh in the students' minds as well, it helps them to see a different side of such events: the emergency responder's role.
Similar to anof the year exam, the scenario was a graded exercise for the students, a chance for them to showcase what they've learned. Additionally, the EMT and nursing students were able to surpass a state requirement for completion of a Mass Casualty Incidident Management I. Jarrell said that with the scenario that was run Friday, students were able to earn an MCIM II rating.
"That's the management side of things. It's not required, but we teach it to the students."
Jarrell said that before the actual drill, students spent about three days on classroom instruction on topics related to the exercise and about a week going through training in various roles, such as triage and incident command.
In addition to the EMT, criminal justice and nursing students, other students assisted in Friday's drill by playing the roles of victims. The students went through a make-up process to have "moulage" applied. The moulage - or stage quality make-up simulating injuries - included burns, abrasions and bullet wounds. Additionally, each wore a card indicating the severity of their injuries and what their vital signs would be after the injury they sustained.
"It looked awesome," said Nick Mills, one of the students from other classes at Rowanty who volunteered to participate as a victim. "It's a little bit of a way to see what the experience would be like, without it actually happening."
The scenario the students participated in Friday included a shooter coming into a school shooting at students and staff, and detonating an explosive device.
The injuries Mills, 19, was to have suffered in the attack included burns and a gunshot wound to the head.
"I had to chop my T-shirt up and get an injury put on my head," said 18-year-old Craig King who, like Mills, was to have suffered a wound to the head. Fake blood dribbled from the mock injury on his forehead, down his nose while he was waiting for the drill to begin.
The drill took place in two vehicle bay-style classrooms on opposite sides of the school, with one serving as a school, with plywood walls creating a hallway, two classrooms and an open cafeteria-like area. The other classroom served as several area hospitals.
"We actually are going to put them on an ambulance and taken to the other side of the school," said Jamie Scott, a fire and EMT instructor at Rowanty. "The ambulance carries them around to there, drops them off and comes back to pick up more."
Once the drill started, students began to fill their roles, assisting with the triage of the mock injured and securing the scene in the hour-long exercise.