For those in the area of the North Royalton Elementary School who were wondering what the commotion was about during the holiday break, they can rest, assured that it was nothing terrible. The North Royalton Police and Fire Departments, along with North Royalton School personnel, were conducting their first responders training event at the North Royalton Elementary School on Monday and Tuesday, December 19 and 20.
“The last time the training was done here in North Royalton was in 2018, when the High School was the location,” said North Royalton Police Chief Keith Tarase. “Then it was just police and fire doing the training. This time the school has a requirement to do the exercise, plus a drill every three years. We chose the elementary school because it’s newer and the officers aren’t as familiar with it.” In addition, ten actors each day from the Traumatic Players of Cleveland participated, in an effort to make the scenario more realistic.
Tarase said there have been full-scale exercises with other agencies responding, such as earlier this year in Strongsville, where a number of agencies responded, including the Cuyahoga County Department of Emergency Management. “We partner up with them. They train the instructors with all the different agencies, who then train their own people. North Royalton currently has two trained instructors in the police department and three in the fire department. Cities either then train in-house, or ask other cities to join. He said that this exercise was on a smaller scale than the one in Strongsville.
Lieutenant Charles Redrup, who assisted in orchestrating the training, said six-to-seven officers participated each day supervising the training of six officers each day. There was also one officer from Middleburg Heights and two from Strongsville, as well as four firefighters each day, supervising about fifteen firefighters each day.
The scenario that was the basis for the training is an active shooter event. The overall training consists of a classroom portion, going over the concepts of the response, and the actual exercise portion. Tarase said that the area is broken down into three zones: the hot zone is where the shooter would be located, the area surrounding that would be the warm zone and then a cold zone, which is a further proximity. He said that the firemen/EMTs did not go into the hot zone, but into the warm and cold zones, with police accompaniment to start evacuation and treatment. “What we look at is how to move as a team together,” said Tarase, “and for the fire [personnel] where and how best to treat victims. This training primarily focused on the rescue portion of an event. The training on dealing with the active shooter takes place more internally,” said Tarase. “That training is done separately, and is broken down into more specified training components to an active shooter response.”
Redrup added that “the training, this time, was to catch up for all those who hadn’t gone through in 2018. We also had some officers participate in the full-scale training at Strongville High School. There are new regulations that the schools have to do school safety training every year. Going forward, the police and fire department will train each year.”
The safety forces are reviewing what took place in order to hone procedures in the future.  Redrup said that the process was from crawling to walking to running.  “An improvement could be seen at the end of the day.  “There seems to be positive feedback on what took place those two days,” said Redrup.  “I thought it went really well.” said Tarase.  “Actually, it probably exceeded my expectations.  The officers seemed to pick up the tactics and training pretty quickly and in a short amount of time.”

Contributing Writer