Active shooting exercise organized at the local school | Columbia County

CRARYVILLE — Eighteen agencies from multiple counties were at Taconic Hills Central School on Wednesday to simulate an active shooter scenario with multiple casualties.

The drill took place at the request of school officials, Taconic Hills Superintendent Neil Howard Jr. said.

After the school closed early for the day, organizers arrived around 2:30 p.m. to set everything up for the exercise, including 16 adult volunteers, who were the casualties during the exercise, said the director of Columbia County Emergency Management, David Harrison.

First responders began arriving at the school shortly after 4:30 p.m.

Fire Police closed County Road 11A in both directions during the exercise.

A simulated incident command post has been established at the school bus garage, across from the main school building.

Representatives from each police department were in charge during the exercise, Harrison said.

Some school staff participated in the drill, Howard said.

Taconic Hills officials wanted first responders to know the layout of their building in case they were dispatched there in the future, Howard said.

Howard said he was satisfied with the outcome of the exercise.

“We’ve learned a lot from this and will learn more once all the reports are available,” Howard said.

Taconic Hill’s primary goal is to stay up to date on all new technology and keep our children safe, Howard said.

“Overall the exercise went well,” Harrison said. “There are some things we need to work on and adjust before the next exercise.”

County officials are planning another drill in the spring at a different location, Harrison said.

Agencies that participated Wednesday included Taconic Hills Central School District, Questar III, Columbia County Sheriff’s Office, Columbia County Fire Coordinator’s Office, Craryville, Hillsdale, Copake and Taghkanic; Office of the Columbia County EMS Coordinator, Community Rescue Squad, Columbia County 911, State Police, Chatham Police Department, New York State Division of Homeland Security, New State Department of Transportation York, Columbia Mental Health Association and Greene, Mobile Crisis Assessment Team, Columbia County Health Department and Columbia County Office of Emergency Management.

Other agencies were heavily involved in the planning for the exercise, Harrison said.

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