Coast Guard conducts simulated active shooter exercise on Ohio Valley Sternwheeler

Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit Huntington, local agencies, and key port partners participated in a simulated underway active shooter response exercise, May 20, 2019. Nearly 40 members of the river community, including officers from MSU Huntington, Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Washington Co. Ohio Sheriff’s Department, and the Marietta Fire Department, took turns embarking and searching the 157-foot passenger vessel Valley Gem for five simulated active shooter scenarios.

Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit Huntington, local agencies, and key port partners participated in a simulated underway active shooter response exercise, May 20, 2019.

MARIETTA, Ohio – Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit Huntington, local agencies, and key port partners participated in an underway active shooter response exercise, Monday.

Nearly 40 members of the river community, including officers from MSU Huntington, Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Washington Co. Ohio Sheriff’s Department, and the Marietta Fire Department, took turns embarking and searching the 157-foot passenger vessel Valley Gem for five active shooter scenarios.

“Blending responders from the different agencies in the port helps ensure cohesiveness and solidarity in a real-world scenario,” said Cmdr. Paul Mangini, commanding officer of MSU Huntington., “Incorporating a highly visible fixture like the Valley Gem sends a message that our port relationships extend well beyond governmental partnerships and rely heavily on our industry members as well.”

Responders worked to address the simulated threats, and triaged and transported victims of the simulated attack.

“The Valley Gem is unique in this area in both the volume of passengers we take out as well as the range of tours we offer,” said Captain Heather Sands, owner and operator of the Valley Gem. “Time has changed some things and the importance of preparedness in today’s world is something even paddle wheel captains have to contend with.”

“Full-scale exercises like this are becoming more and more commonplace throughout the country as port communities everywhere prepare for and practice for real world scenarios,” said Mangini. “Be it a large-scale oil discharge or a threat to the public, the Coast Guard remains ready to respond along with its partners.”

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