By: Amanda Pitts


NORTON, Mass. (WLNE) -- First responders in Southeastern Massachusetts put their skills to the test Friday, taking part in active shooter training.

The Active Threat Integrated Response Course prepares police officers, firefighters, and other emergency personnel for a gunman on the attack.

The course started on Wednesday and ended with the practical exercise, using students from the Massachusetts Maritime Academy as shooting victims.

"This can happen anywhere, anytime, any place. We're in a church today, it could happen at a business tomorrow," said Brian Clark, Norton Chief of Police.

The men and women worked as a team, helping the wounded to safety. The pretend active shooter was located and "taken down".

The exercise was a collective effort, ensuring everyone from dispatch, to officers, to EMT's are all on the same page, working together to save lives.

"We have to be prepared, and training as a team is vital. It's the only way to do it," said Pat McMurray, Undersecretary of Homeland Security.

The training comes nearly a week after the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting. While the course took place in a Norton church, officials say that's just coincidence. They do say the tragedy that left 11 dead solidified the need to brush up on life-saving skills.

"We just want people to know this is in our eyes, it's on our radar, and we're training on this type of incident," said Clark.

The training was sponsored by the Southeastern Region Homeland Security Advisory Council, Executive Office of Public Safety and Security and the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency.

The course will continue across the state. Central Massachusetts is next, officials say their active shooter training is set to start next month.

(c) WLNE-TV 2018