More than 200 first responders attended Saturday's training.
ADAMS, Mass. — Emergency responders and officials from across the county came to the former Memorial School building Saturday morning to participate in active shooter and hostile event response (ASHER) training.
More than 200 responders received training by Emergency Response Consultants in the last two weeks to prepare for the day's seven-hour session. Members of police, fire and ambulance agencies from North Adams, Adams, Williamstown, New Ashford, Savoy, Williams College and Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts were in attendance.
Amalio Jusino of the Berkshire Regional Emergency Planning Committee, also Adams' emergency management director, helped to organize the event. The class used National Fire Protection Association 3000 standards, which focus on allowing a whole-community response to hostile events.
"It's a whole community-integrated preparedness response and recovery program that ultimately results in this: police, fire and EMS all coming together," he said.
Before training started, trainees heard from guest speaker Shawn Soler. Soler is the owner of Medicine in Bad Places, which offers training and consulting for first responders worldwide.
"Today, you're going to learn to work hand in hand. You're going to see the logistical nightmares of each different agency," he said. "And you will be tasked with communicating with people in ways in which you probably have never thought you would communicate with people ... as a first responder, I can't say thank you enough for you guys taking the time out on a Saturday to make this a reality."
Soler had served with the New York Police Department in multiple roles for 27 years before recently retiring. He is also qualified as both a rescue specialist and medical specialist for Federal Emergency Management Agency.
"When I say it's humbling to stand in front of my peers, I tell you straight up, you're going to make mistakes," Soler said. "I'm here to expose; AJ and your staff today that is running this, are here to expose you to things which we hope you never see."
Soler said he was impressed by the coordination already shown by emergency personnel in the county.
"No longer is EMS, fire and PD working independently. You have to come together," he said. "And you guys have done so in a way where, I gotta tell you from the outside looking in, you guys are being on the forefront and being the most proactive that I've seen in an extremely long time."
North Adams Mayor Jennifer Macksey was in attendance for the training and noted how important it is to collaborate with other communities. She thanked the trainees for the work they put in on a daily basis to keep people safe.
"I am just really excited to be working with AJ and the team on such an important concept," she said. "I know every day in your life, these are things that you deal with. And I have the utmost respect for all of you, no matter what role you play in public safety."
Jusino thanked Soler and his team from Medicine in Bad Places for coming as guests and helping with the training.
"They do this exact same training globally. They're great friends of ours, we work together on a lot of different things, so it's an honor to bring them up from New York City to the Berkshires today," he said.
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