KLAMATH FALLS – A call to 911 dispatch at 8:41 a.m. Thursday kicked off an active shooter exercise that closed Klamath Community College for half the day.
During the exercise, two “shooters” (assigned by Klamath Falls Police Department) injured seven “victims” and “killed” multiple others. Officers from Klamath County Sheriff’s Office immobilized the shooters within minutes of entering KCC’s Work Skills Technology Center, where the exercise took place.
The multi-agency exercise was a collaboration among Klamath County Sheriff’s Office, Klamath Falls Police Department, Oregon State Police, Kingsley Security Forces, Klamath County Fire District 1, Kingsley Fire Department, Klamath County 911, and Sky Lakes Medical Center.
KCC hosted the exercise to help faculty and staff become more acquainted with emergency protocol and to be better prepared to respond in an emergency event, according to KCC President Dr. Roberto Gutierrez.
“We have two brand new buildings on campus that some first responders may never have been in,” Gutierrez said. “Partnering with our local emergency agencies was a very important step in making our campus safer.”
The exercise was streamed using security cameras to another building on campus, where 120 KCC employees watched the exercise in real-time. The seven injured victims were transported to Sky Lakes, where employees there practiced how they would respond to an active shooter incident.
Erick Bishop, battalion chief for Fire District 1, said a primary goal for first responders was to create a realistic environment in which agency leaders could activate a unified incident command.
“I appreciated the support from the emergency services community,” Bishop said. “The more we can practice working together, the more effective we’ll be in a real event.”
The exercise lasted about an hour and was followed by an after action review with KCC employees and emergency agency leadership.
“I feel like a lot of people search for an ‘absolute’ right thing to do in response to an active shooter,” Bishop said. “There is no ‘one right way.’ Be aware of your surroundings and use your best judgment.”
Gutierrez said the exercise will be used as a foundation to strengthen KCC’s existing safety protocol and direct future employee trainings.
“Safety is a top priority, and we will continue doing all we can to ensure KCC is a safe learning environment for our students,” he said.
Klamath Community College is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity/Veteran/ADA institution embracing diversity. We encourage and welcome women, minority, veteran, and disabled candidates.