Missoula, MT (KGVO-AM News) - The University of Montana campus played host to teams from the UM Police Department, Missoula Police Department, Missoula County Sheriff’s Office, Missoula Airport Police, the Montana Highway Patrol, City and Rural Fire Departments and Emergency Services for a day of learning and training together.

I spoke with UM Police Chief Brad Giffin in front of the Music Building where several of the training sequences were being conducted.

UM Police Department Hosts 'Active Attack Integrated Response Training'

“What we're doing today is called ‘Active Attack Integrated Response Training’,” began Chief Giffin. “It's basically the national model of how to respond to active shooter events. None of these things that happen in the communities where they occur have the resources for an individual agency to actually respond effectively, so the premise is that we coordinate our response inter-agency wide.”

Giffin described the usual parameters that occur during an active shooter incident.

“Active shooter events are usually over with within three to five minutes,” he said. “What comes after that is the long process of getting emergency responders in clearing the building. Then we have a process where we deploy rescue task forces. A rescue task force is a police officer or two with one or two fire personnel or EMS personnel who also have protective body armor so that they can come in and immediately treat the people who have been put into a ‘casualty collection point.’

Volunteers were Made-up with Simulated Gunshot Wounds

That collection point was visibly inside the UM Music Building, with volunteers in makeup simulating various gunshot wounds, to the head, to the neck and other areas of the body where Emergency Medical Services could treat their wounds.

Chief Paul Finlay with Missoula Rural Fire looked forward to the collaboration of the several responding agencies during the training scenarios.

“That's our end goal,” said Chief Finlay. “Here's the collaboration that comes out of this. We're going to continue that into the future and work with one another. We're all different agencies, but we're here with an end goal to work together. And we do so well, and we'll continue to push each of our agencies in order to ensure that what we're training on and what we expect to learn is passed down.”

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All Participants Appreciated the Collaboration of the Many Agencies

Missoula County Sheriff’s Office Public Information Officer Jeannette Smith said community response in such an incident requires great care so that only the most accurate and up to date information is delivered to local media.

“We want to provide accurate information, and I'm one that if I can't give accurate information, I'm going to wait until I have that accuracy,” said Smith. “We want that initial public safety message to go out. We want to give clear instructions, such as when we ask folks not to go to an area, we're asking them for a reason and it's for their safety. We want to make sure we get that public safety message out first, and then provide other details when they're available.”

I wish to thank Chief Giffin and all the emergency responders at the event for their time and trust in allowing me access to the training.

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