A group of Jones Regional Medical Center employees received training on how to deal with a situation if there was an active shooter.

In a joint training between the Jones County Sheriff’s Office and the Anamosa Police Department, the staffers educated about how to handle the situation.

The training utilized the ALICE Training method. According to the training’s website, A stands for “alert,” or recognizing there’s danger. L is for lockdown, or barricading a room. I is for “inform,” communicate information in as real time as possible. C is for countering and measures that can be taken against a shooter. E is for evacuating.

The training also covered the OODA loop, utilized by the military, which stands for observe–orient–decide–act. Those attending the training were also advised not to distract officers entering the building by grabbing on to the officers, screaming and pointing or making quick movements.

What’s taught in the training has largely stayed the same, according to Jones County Sheriff Greg Graver, who started doing trainings seven years ago. There have been some slight tweaks to the presentation based on questions that have been received over the course of sessions.

The biggest goal of the training is to inform those involved and get them thinking about what they would do if a situation were to arise.

“Inaction is usually the worst thing you can do,” Anamosa Chief of Police Jeremiah Hoyt said. “Doing something…is better than nothing.

“But we really want to get people thinking through this process. Trying to override the conditioning that we’ve all been through all our lives that says ‘This won’t happen to me.’ We really want people to get over that hump and start thinking, ‘What would I do if…?’”

What started as a training the Jones County Sheriff’s Office worked on, soon became a joint effort between area law enforcement agencies, as they would all be cooperating if the situation would ever arise.

Graver’s seen a difference in how people react, saying things are much quicker. Hoyt said it’s a function of trainings like this becoming part of the routine.

“It’s become just like a fire drill or a tornado drill,” Hoyt said.

“We have places that we do pretty much yearly,” Graver said. “Ten years ago, you didn’t have much of this training and in the last couple of years, it’s really been in the news a lot. People are thinking a bout it. It used to be taboo…we’re past that now.”

It has made a difference, Graver said, though it’s hard to quantify how many lives such trainings have saved. It’s not a perfect system, though. In such situations, safety is never a guarantee and a “perfectly executed plan” could still have a bad outcome.

After the classroom portion, staffers were drilled in a couple of situations using blanks in a gun to get a sense of what things sounded like and put them under stress. After each situation, they talked over what happened.

At the end of the two-hour session, Graver had a message for the staff members.

“I am completely confident that you are more prepared tonight than you were last night,” Graver said. “The skills that were taught to you today, you can take out into the real world. You can use it every day.”

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