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First Responders hold mass shooting drill

SOUTH JORDAN, Utah (ABC4 Utah) - Utah's emergency responders were on high alert today.
SOUTH JORDAN, Utah (ABC4 Utah) - Utah's emergency responders were on high alert today.

Just a year ago, a deadly shooting at a Colorado movie theater rattled Utahns. Inside a screening of the Dark Knight Rises, 25-year-old James Holmes opened fire.

"You just kept hearing bam, bam, bam bam," a witness said.

Twelve people were killed in the rampage and almost 60 more were injured.

For that reason dozens of emergency responders met at the Megaplex 20 in South Jordan for a mock movie theater shooting.

"We're trying to prepare with everything we've seen going on," said Captain Troy Darger from the South Jordan Fire Department.

Several agencies from Utah and Salt Lake County took part in the drill, which some called a timely exercise after a shooting at a Nevada middle school just yesterday.

"It's something that's happened a little more frequent than we'd ever want to see," Darger said.

So to prepare for the worst, dozens of volunteers played victim in today's drill.  Some pretended to be severely injured or even dead as responders cleaned their make believe wounds.  The told ABC4 Utah the experience gave them a new understanding of life's fragility.

"It's just scary," Alex Sorensen said.  "You get scared and you don't know what to do in that situation.  That's the hardest part." 

Chase Noorda agreed.  "It's not a joke.  These things can happen and when they do you need to be prepared for them."

Responders said that after today's drill, they feel better prepared for a disaster.

"To be able to have this many apparatus and this many guys working together is invaluable," Darger said.

Especially when it comes to saving a life.  In today's drill, emergency responders treated and transported more than fifty people to the hospital in just an hour.

Darger said, "We're just trying to make sure we're prepared and ready to go."

Today's drill is one of many across the state this week.  Officers plan to hold another theater drill with 100 volunteers at the Megaplex Theatre in South Jordan again tomorrow.

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