Full scenario for upcoming Towns-Union active shooter training

active shooter drill

HIAWASSEE, Ga. – Officials are in the process of planning a full-scale emergency response drill in Towns and Union Counties, consisting of a prison break and active shooter scenario. Meetings were held April 15, and today, April 24, at the Emergency Operations Center in Blairsville. The exercise is scheduled Friday, May 3, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The drill is directed jointly by the Georgia Mountains Healthcare Coalition and the Northeast Georgia Health System. The purpose is to review local and regional coordination in an effort to address preparedness gaps and identify areas for improvement in response to an active shooter scenario. Locations of the training will include a Hiawassee doctor’s office and Union County Farmers Market. Medical response evaluations will occur at Chatuge Regional and Union General Hospitals. Multiple “casualties” and “fatalities” will ensue during the mock crisis.

The focus in Towns and Union Counties is to review the response, coordination and communications among community partners.  To the extent possible, organizers asking for emergency agencies to participate as much as possible considering their own available resources.  The more effort that is exhibited towards situational realism, the better the training, the manual for the drill reads.

The dramatization script accompanying the training follows:

“Local law enforcement within the Georgia Mountain Health Care Coalition has noticed as significant increase in crime and the number of local incarcerated prisoners associated with the ‘Ghostface Gangsters’ – This gang originated within the Georgia prison system, but has expanded into the free world.

“The Ghostface Gangsters are very violent and will not hesitate to shoot anyone.  The Anti-Defamation League has described it as white supremacist organization with a few select black members.  The crimes of the group are especially heinous with no boundaries of violence.  They are linked to the recent killing of two Georgia correctional officers and were able to escape in a prison work bus.

“Over the past week, there have been two additional carefully planned and successful prison escapes; each group included several of the Ghostface gang associates.  Prisoner sightings have been confirmed and eye witnesses indicate the movement to be in a northeastwardly direction.”

Scenario Update:  “It is a beautiful May spring morning in Blue Ridge, GA with the temperature at about 60F.  9-1-1 reports that a dark sedan and one green Toyota Tundra pickup have been “car-jacked”.  The car was commandeered at the Blue Ridge McDonalds on Highway 515 and the truck was taken at gunpoint just a half mile away in the Home Depot parking lot.  The victim at Home Depot said he was overtaken by 2 shaved-head white guys with multiple facial and body tattoos.  The McDonald’s victim reported two assailants.  One was a female about 150 lbs. with short black hair.  She reportedly helped a big white guy over-power him and steal his sedan at McDonalds.  The sedan headed east towards Blairsville and the truck taken at Home Depot seemed to be heading the same direction.  An “all-points” BOLO was issued at about 0925 and landline direct calls were made to law enforcement at Fannin, Union and Towns County Sheriff’s offices.  A police alert was issued with the BOLO advertizing the seriousness of these sky-jacking.  These robbers represented a potential threat to life or great bodily harm to anyone in their way; they were seen with tactical type weapons and high capacity magazines.

“An estimated time of 0945, the sedan was noticed at the Farmer’s Market in Blairsville and not long thereafter, the green Toyota pickup was spotted entering the area of 85 Seasons Ln – Dr. Church’s parking lot.  It was later known that cell phones had been taken from the auto victims and the two groups were coordinating a rendezvous in Hiawassee or Hayesville, NC.

“In Blairsville, the Market was busy with vendors setting up booths and putting out various products.  As the escapees were walking toward the covered market area, they began firing at random.  Vendors and on-lookers began scattering in all directions with countless numbers of shots being fired.  Also, Fridays is a busy day at the Church Clinic in Hiawassee. This is the time for follow up visits and renewing of pharmacy prescriptions.  The two escapees were seeking drugs and they knew the clinic had them on site.  They entered the clinic with weapons waving and began shooting employees and patients while demanding access to the drugs.  Both locations were now in a heightened state of shock and chaos.

“A few minutes after the initial commotion, the gunman at the Farmer’s Market jumped into their vehicle to elude law enforcement.  The perpetrators in Hiawassee were taking an inordinate amount of time by methodically shooting innocent victims as they were trying to escape the office and parking area.

Scenario Update:: “Local law enforcement was alerted to the situation at both locations.  Blairsville PD and UCSO had stopped all traffic on GA Highway 515 at the new market area entrance and blocked the intersection at Weaver Road which was a spur access to the market.  As police were advancing on the parking area, they engaged the two gunmen firing from the escaping vehicle.  Heavy gun fire ensued causing serious collateral damage.  Multiple casualties were lying in and around the grounds of the market.  After a few minutes, there was almost deadly silence; it appeared that both gunmen in the vehicle had been stopped through the police action.

“Hiawassee PD and TCSO were closing in on the clinic based on eyewitnesses seeing a very suspicious Toyota truck with people holding guns in the parking lot.  Law enforcement blocked all access in and out of the clinic and stopped traffic on Main Street.  As a tactical maneuver was progressing towards the area, officers realized something terrible was happening.  They heard shooting noises and witnessed people scattering in all directions.  Police quickened their advance and started closing-in on the truck where they noticed what appeared to be the female alleged perpetrator waiting in the vehicle.  She was in the driver’s seat and began to quickly move the vehicle towards the exit.  Her associate was still outside the truck.  When he saw the police, he began firing in their direction.  This spawned the same action from the female as she started shooting at officers but she was quickly neutralized.  At the same time, the associate continued to advance on foot while shooting wildly at anyone and anything to include  law enforcement.   The pursuing gunman was now forcing “death by cop”.  He began running faster towards the officers while firing the remaining rounds in his weapon.  His desires were met!”

Scenario Update: Recovery “It did not take long for the local and national news networks to have helicopters and broadcast news vehicles in route to both locations.  Initial reports were erratic but it was unofficially released that Blairsville had 5 dead and 10 injured not including the alleged perpetrators.

“The Hiwassee scene remained in a panic mode for awhile but one officer was severely wounded and at first count, 6 were known dead, 4 in critical condition and 5 with unknown injuries.  Both gunmen (one female and male) were dead at the scene in the parking area of the Ingles store.

“At about 1110 hours, EMS and other first responders were allowed at the scene after both facilities were cleared and determined to be of no further threat.  Some victims were triaged and treated at the scene while all others were transported to Union General and Chatuge hospitals.  Erlanger was providing airlift capability and transporting the more severe to Chatanooga. Clay and Cherokee County EMS were providing all the resources available.”

Local law enforcement, fire and rescue crews, and emergency medical staff will participate in the drill. “The exercise is written with the healthcare organizations goals in mind, but it offers an opportunity for the community to be involved for training and skill development within the discipline of each group,” the situational manual explains.  “The National Planning Scenarios and the establishment of the National Preparedness Priorities have steered the focus of homeland security toward a capabilities-based approach.  Capabilities-based planning focuses on planning under uncertainty, since the next danger or disaster can never be forecast with complete accuracy.  Therefore, capabilities-based planning takes an all-hazards approach to planning and preparation that builds on capabilities which can be applied to a wide variety of incidents.”

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