AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - In an active shooter situation, it’s all hands on deck. And a drill involving both Xcel Energy’s security team and area law enforcement is preparing them for a real-life situation.
In the exercise, they responded to an all too familiar active shooter scenario--- a disgruntled employee opening fire in the workplace.
“This type of scenario actually, unfortunately has taken place in other places around the country,” said Xcel Energy spokesman Wes Reeves. “So it’s not that unheard of for something like this to happen.”
Xcel Energy employees acted as the shooter and the injured on scene the Amarillo Police Department, the fire department’s rescue team, S.W.A.T. and AMS responded to the mock incident.
The exercise was an opportunity for both first responders and company employees to work together in what could be a life or death situation.
“Hopefully we never have something like this happen in Amarillo, but you don’t want to wait and see,” said Sgt. Carla Burr with APD. “If something like this were to happen, every police officer in this area is going to respond. And so, kind of having an idea of how people are going to act really makes it better if it were to happen.”
“It’s been a great process to understand how all the groups work together, how we respond as a company, how we protect our employees,” said Reeves. “And that’s our number one priority, always, is safety with our employees, whether they are working in the line, in the power plant, or even in an office setting. So we have to think about things we didn’t necessarily think about even 20 years ago.”
Senior Protection Services Consultant for Xcel Energy, Chris Shelton, said the exercise showed communication as being an important factor in both real life incidents and training.
“Communication’s always the first thing to break down and it’s always the most impactful," he said. “So communication just among the exercise floor or communication among ourselves and our employees. That’s something we can always improve on and I think we have some ideas on how to do that.”
Reeves encourages other businesses to communicate with local law enforcement about having a plan for a possible active shooter incident.
“It’s probably not a bad idea for every place of business to understand what might happen if someone in their midst takes a weapon and starts shooting,” he said. “Be prepared, have a plan in place, and communicate that with the police department. And of course, not everybody can have these full scale drills like this but it’s just a good idea to keep the communication open.”
Amarillo police said they plan to take part in these full-scale drills with other agencies at least once a year, and hope to do so with other area businesses.