Although it looked like tragedy had struck Bellevue it was just a drill. The fire department held a mass casualty exercise on Saturday.
Every second counts in an emergency situation. In an effort to make sure they're prepared to handle the worst of the worst, firefighters responded to the scenario of an active shooter at Lincoln Road and Harvell Drive.
Crews simulated a mass shooting where victims were also exposed to lethal chemicals. Bellevue, Papillion and Omaha fire departments recently entered into a mutual aid agreement and this was the perfect way for the departments to work together.
“This was our first real opportunity for the three fire departments to get together and train in a real life situation just to test us and see how we can do better just in case something like this should occur,” said Bellevue Fire Department EMS Supervisor Shari Lentsch.
Volunteers helped make the scenario very real. “As time has gone on there's been a lot of real life stuff going on with active shooters and this is just another example of how we train all the time to be prepared to provide for our community the best way we can.”
The exercise went well, but Lentsch said there's always room for improvement. “The communication between everybody is always the biggest challenge so we'll take that information back and see how we can improve it in real life.”
The Bellevue Fire Department hopes to hold another mass casualty exercise next year.