St. Charles Parish hosts anti-terror training exercise
Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 18, 2006
By KERI CHAMPION
DESTREHAN- St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Office and St. Charles Parish Schools hosted domestic anti-terror training exercises on Friday in conjunction with several other agencies.
The exercise was the result of three months of intense planning by all agencies involved.
Participants included units from St. Charles Fire Department, St. Charles Hospital, Emergency Medical Services, and air support from Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office.
“We wanted the situation to be as real as possible, so the S.W.A.T teams went into the training exercise with only basic information from the start so they would have to react just like in a real situation, said Pat Yoes, spokesperson for St. Charles Sheriff’s Office.
“The St. Charles Parish School system had been working very closely with law enforcement agencies to prepare for this exercise,” said Rochelle Cancienne, spokesperson for St. Charles Parish Schools
“This is not a reaction to the recent rash of school shootings, but something he had already planned before, however the fact that the shootings have happened made the training more timely,” she said.
The exercise was held at Ethel Schoeffner Elementary School in Destrehan.
“We made sure to notify all residents of what was going on, we called every parent on the parish phone list and put public notices around the community so that everyone knew we would be doing the training exercise on Friday,” Cancienne said.
Training exercises had all the elements of a real-life situation in place including a lifelike bomb, masked shooters and rescue, fire, and EMS squads at a command post where participants relayed messages to one another.
Part of the training included practice EMS training where student actors were injured or killed by gunmen in the building and a hostage situation.
“We chose a day when we knew there wouldn’t be any students in school, so it wouldn’t affect the school day, Cancienne said.
Students in St. Charles Parish only had a half-day of school on Friday.
“We have trained for this all year, but this is the culminating event in our domestic anti-terror training,” Yoes said.