School shooting training exercise to be held Saturday at Yazoo City High School

By CATHRYN CARTWRIGHT,

The Yazoo County Emergency Management Agency will be conducting a school shooting emergency simulation exercise this Saturday at the Yazoo City High School, from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m.

Multiple emergency agencies will be participating in the exercise along with the Emergency Management Agency, including the Yazoo City Police Department, the Yazoo City Fire Department, Pafford EMS, Baptist Hospital, the Yazoo County Sheriff's Department, the Adams County EMA, Yazoo County Fire Departments, and the Bentonia Police Department.

Jack Willingham, the emergency management director for Yazoo County, said they will be exercising the response of law enforcement, EMS and fire departments; the capabilities of local medical facilities; and the response and capabilities of city school officials in different aspects.

"School shootings are an all too common occurrence nowadays," Willingham said. "The City High School is located between McCoy Elementary and Manchester Academy, so several different schools will be able to utilize their emergency plan during this event."

Willingham said that there will be a heavy presence of emergency vehicles in the area around the high school, and while it is still a drill, the event will be treated as a serious exercise and the public is asked to stay away from the scene while the simulation is going on.

"There will be a lot going on in that area on that date, and just like in a real emergency, citizens will be asked to stay out of the area while this exercise is going on," he said.

Willingham added that these drills exercise the capabilities of these agencies as they uncover shortfalls in response and training and will better prepare them for a real-world event.

Parents of school-aged children are encouraged to read more about school shooting preparedness drills at the Federal Emergency Management Agency's website.

Willingham said this is their second full-scale exercise in Yazoo County the last six months.

"We will continue to meet and plan together with local agencies in ways to respond to all types of natural and Man-made disasters in our county," he said.