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Simulator used to train first responders for active shooter situations visits Western Illinois University

This simulation offered training for police officers, fire and medical personnel from across western Illinois.

MOLINE, Ill. — First responders gathered at Western Illinois University in Macomb for the Active Threat and Command Control course.

The three-day event concluded on Friday and used a state-of-the-art simulation where multiple teams were linked together.

Sixty first responders, both local and regional participated.

"We know as the professions that are assembled here, that this is the level of training that we need to be striving for, in order to better serve our communities," said Eric Arnold, Illinois School and Campus Safety Project program director.

The training emphasized the need for cooperation between law enforcement, fire and medical teams.

"In a previous type [of] shooting, fire [personnel] would support and hold back," JP Moore of the Illinois Fire Service Institute said. "We've had to change some of our tactics where now fire doesn't sit back. Fire creates a rescue task force which creates a moving warm zone, where we have law enforcement and fire teamed up to go in and get to the survivors and move them to definitive care."

Experts said the simulation is realistic and puts trainees in high-pressure situations, but it also provides data that couldn't be tracked in a real active shooter event. The simulation can track response times, shots fired and more.

"All the critical events, all the tragedies that we've experienced," Arnold added, "that critical element of being able to come together … to get in and provide aid and get folks that are hurt to critical emergency care saves lives."

The western Illinois region is just one of twelve areas in the U.S. to have received the three-day program.

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