JACKSONVILLE (KYTX) - East Texans spent Wednesday preparing for a possible school shooting here. The Jacksonville community held a disaster drill at the local middle school.
We got an up close and personal look at how a real school shooting would be handled in Jacksonville.
In the simulation two fake shooters came in through the school's front doors, went down the hallway and shot fake bullets. Moments later, real sirens sounded throughout the community.
"This was primarily testing the SWAT team and the school's reaction to an active shooter, if they were following their procedures," says Jacksonville Fire Chief Paul White.
Jacksonville Middle School Principal Lisa Cox and her staff responded as if the shooting were real.
"I was the one who had to call 9-1-1. I stayed on the line with 9-1-1 until we were safe," Cox says.
In the simulation, the shooters killed six people and injured ten.
"It was very scary," Cox says. "Once you hear shots and you know you have to respond, you want to make the best choices, regardless of whether or not it's a drill."
As the pretend victims laid throughout the school, EMS workers were put to the test.
"Triage, taking the worst patients first, getting them to the hospital and calling for the JP," White says.
Police caught one of the shooters almost immediately. The other, was the last to be taken out of the building, on a stretcher and handcuffs. Then, sighs of relief.
Cox thinks to Tuesday when another real shooting happened at a Georgia school.
"It's tragic. You never want it to happen at your school but we have 700 kids coming Monday and we want our staff to be prepared in the event that anything like that were to ever happen here," she says.
White is thankful for the training opportunity.
"If this happened tomorrow we'd be better prepared than we were today," he says.
Rusk ISD also did a community wide emergency drill. Today they held a mock anthrax attack. Both Rusk and Jacksonville do these training exercises every year, each time with a different disaster to practice.
Both communities will be critiquing their performances today, talking about what was done well, and what could be done better in the future.