NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. (WIVB) - Violent events like Friday's massacre at an elementary school in Connecticut has taught some valuable lessons to emergency teams.
If a tragedy like the shootings in Newton, Connecticut should happen in western New York, first responders would have a plan for immediate action. As law enforcement officers clear and protect areas, firefighters and paramedics would enter the active crime scene and directly care for the wounded.
Erie County Emergency Services Commissioner Dan Neaverth, Jr. explained, "As they're clearing, the people who are injured or wounded are being treated, and not dragged out to be treated."
Law enforcement officers conduct drills and simulate an "active shooter" situation. They are trained to take immediate action tracking down the gunman, while trying to get students to a safe place.
Erie County Sheriff's Special Services Chief Scott Patronik said, "We want to get police officers in the building immediately to try to neutralize that gunman, so they can't do any more harm to individuals that might be in the building."
At Niagara Falls High School, Principal James Spanbauer is constantly working to build relationships between the adult staff and students, with the hope that problems
might be addressed before they could possibly get out of hand.
"When you see the tragedy such as today, you would hope that we could pick up a sign somewhere along the way to help someone," he said.
The school has an electronic monitoring system that allows security to pinpoint potential hot spots, and the main door is accessible to students. Faculty and staff
have to swipe cards for other entrances. But it's the personal connection with students that is critical, says the principal, and it has already paid off.
Spanbauer said, "[The] more relationships we have, the more opportunities we're going to have to intervene."
Niagara Falls High School conducts lockdown drills, and most recently simulated a hostage situation, even using a mock gunman.
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Police say there were 32 burglaries, 20 in Albion, five in Medina, four in Oakfield and three in the City of Lockport.
A seven-year-old Buffalo girl got dropped off more than three miles away from the bus stop where her mother was waiting for her on Wednesday.
Police, FBI agents and a bomb squad all showed up on a quiet residential street in North Buffalo overnight.
The Niagara County Sheriff's is on the scene of a suspected meth lab in Sanborn.
Authorities say they're investigating the deaths of two inmates at New York's maximum-security Attica Correctional Facility.