NEWPORT (WATE) - Teachers became students Thursday in Newport, as did emergency personnel from across Cocke County.
The subject of their lessons was how to handle a situation involving an active shooter.
John Rose, who is a training consultant with a company called Holston International, was hired by District 2 of the Department of Homeland Security last October to begin these classes.
Rose says this type of training is just as important as the fire drills we teach our school kids.
"We need to have the same training and preparation in case we have a violent intruder or an active shooter in the school, because we know that human beings react better if they've been trained," Rose said.
Recent shootings like at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut and in an Aurora, Colo. movie theater have forced the issue into the forefront of peoples' minds.
Cocke County Emergency Management Director Patrick Sheldon says those events and a few local events inspired him to organize the training.
"We had a few incidences. It wasn't an actual shooting, but a gun was involved at our local banks and pharmacy, and I just want to make sure everybody is aware and ready for what could happen," said Sheldon.
Holston says that is key, because it is likely all agencies will be forced to work together if a crisis situation happens.
"We're going to look at a scenario and we're going to look at all the different stakeholders in that scenario -- the school, the law enforcement, the fire, the county government -- and ask them if they've thought about their role." said Rose. "We will then give them some ideas about what they need to be prepared to do."
Sheldon says the emergency management office will begin planning a full-scale drill sometime in the coming months.