Coordinating, communicating: First responders in ‘active aggressor’ training


Emergency and school officials gather to discuss the exercise in the mobile command center.

Emergency and school officials gather to discuss the exercise in the mobile command center.


The mobile incident commander center.


Local emergency responders debrief outside after the training exercise.


Wilmington Police officers debrief inside Wilmington High School after the training exercise.


The Wilmington High School students who took part in the exercise.


Members of the Clinton-Warren Joint Fire District at the training exercise.


Local emergency responders debrief outside after the training exercise.


John Hamilton | News Journal

WILMINGTON — Local first responders worked on strengthening communications and response during an “active aggressor” exercise at Wilmington High School Wednesday morning.

It included multiple first-response agencies throughout Clinton County implementing rescue task force (RTF) tactics between law enforcement and emergency medical services (EMS) personnel.

Marc Burdiss, President of Preparedness Solutions Inc. and controller of the training, told the News Journal the exercise had a master scenario of events list and simulated injuries. One of the main goals was practicing coordination and communication.

This active shooter scenario saw local law enforcement coming into a “hot zone” and making it a “warm zone” so that emergency services can get people to safety

Burdiss called the training a success, highlighting the communication that emergency services maintained with each other and other parts of the community.

“It is the law enforcement agency’s responsibility to stay current on trends and training,” Wilmington Police Chief Ron Fithen recently stated in a Clinton County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) news release. “The Wilmington Police Department is committed to working with its partners to protect schools, workplaces, houses of worship, transportation centers, other public gathering sites, and communities.”

Wilmington School District Operations Manager Curt Bone added, “The active aggressor exercise will enable the district to review its emergency plans, identify additional training, and refine school safety measures to help keep our students and teachers safe in the event of an incident.”

Clinton Memorial Hospital leveraged the exercise to conduct a tandem in-house exercise for their emergency department staff for a similar type of emergency.

The exercise is coordinated and funded by the Clinton County EMA.

EMA intends to rotate it annually amongst the county school districts before the start of each school year, and to conduct a similar event each January with local business partners

Emergency and school officials gather to discuss the exercise in the mobile command center.
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2022/08/web1_command-center-1.jpgEmergency and school officials gather to discuss the exercise in the mobile command center.

The mobile incident commander center.
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2022/08/web1_DSC_0035-1.jpgThe mobile incident commander center.

Local emergency responders debrief outside after the training exercise.
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2022/08/web1_FD-debrief-2-1.jpgLocal emergency responders debrief outside after the training exercise.

Wilmington Police officers debrief inside Wilmington High School after the training exercise.
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2022/08/web1_officers-with-guns-1.jpgWilmington Police officers debrief inside Wilmington High School after the training exercise.

The Wilmington High School students who took part in the exercise.
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2022/08/web1_student-actors-1.jpgThe Wilmington High School students who took part in the exercise.

Members of the Clinton-Warren Joint Fire District at the training exercise.
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2022/08/web1_eight-first-responders-1.jpgMembers of the Clinton-Warren Joint Fire District at the training exercise.

Local emergency responders debrief outside after the training exercise.
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2022/08/web1_FD-debrief-1-1.jpgLocal emergency responders debrief outside after the training exercise. John Hamilton | News Journal