On October 22nd and 24th, Mr. Anthony Vaspasiano, faculty advisor of the Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) organization, had student volunteers take part in the East Haven fire and police departments’ 2019 school shooting tactical training. The SADD students were asked to be actors in the training. Some of the student volunteers were asked to wear prosthetic makeup to look injured, while others were asked to act as the agitators. This training was designed to help both departments be more efficient in helping victims during any potential crisis.
Mr. Vaspasiano explained the scenario that police and firefighters were put in to clear the building of survivors. “I was told years ago when there was an incident such as this, the police would go in and clear the scene and then allow the fire department and paramedics to go in and treat the victims. Well, while this was going on, victims were either dying, bleeding out, or were seriously injured and not getting help. With this training, they [the paramedics and police] are now working hand in hand. Police will clear the scene and say, “okay this room is clear go in and help the victims.’ So, we are cutting down on time.” This training helped both the fire and police departments become more efficient in helping injured students and school personnel when there is a crisis.
Fire Training Officer Paul J. Norwood Jr. organized the event. He explained that Mr. Vaspasiano and the SADD group were very helpful for the training exercise. For the training, twenty-five paramedics were present, with and additional twelve to fourteen police officers on the scene. This training was part of a regiment that they modified to help first responders in becoming qualified. Mr. Norwood explained the, “National standard or national best practice that police and fire departments across the country are doing within their agencies, so we just looked at other departments and agencies of similar size and followed their lead.'' According to Norwood the departments utilize the NFPA 3000 which is the National Fire Protection Association which is a consensus standard that all fire departments should aim to meet. Norwood hopes that EHHS and the East Haven community know that first responders work their hardest to ensure that the community is safe.
Alysa Carangelo, one of the executive leaders of SADD, played the role of the victim which involved her being critically injured and immobilized. She explained,“My arm was blown off so I wasn't allowed to leave the classroom... So I had to be carried out of the building during each exercise by either a policeman or firefighter. My arm had to be restrained to my body so it wouldn’t move because it was only hanging on by muscle.” This training was taken very seriously and had a lot of real life scenarios that could occur if there were ever to be a school shooting.
Another executive leader in SADD that also participated in this tactical training was Ian Loehmann. Ian explained, “Personally the first responders said even the students just being there and participating in the training as a victim gave the extra knowledge on what has to be done in situations like that so we’re just that more educated on what we need to do.” SADD members got the opportunity to learn that our first responders take their jobs very seriously and our safety is their number one priority. Throughout the training course,, SADD SADD members had the privilege to have front row seats to our first responders as they as they executed their duties. In the future when these men and women have to respond we now know that they will be able to handle more serious situations and settle for no compromise.