Excerpts from the ChicagoTribune.com:

Gurnee police and fire departments collaborated in a mass casualty training exercise Saturday (5/2/15) at Woodland Intermediate School, with the hope of being able to provide faster emergency medical treatment in crisis situations.

Police normally ensure an area in a conflict is secure before calling in emergency medical services, which increases the time someone injured waits for help. This training exercise trialed a new approach where police officers sweep a room but don’t fully secure it, then paramedics come in and do an initial triage and bandaging if necessary. This would allow vital treatments for wounded people in hostage situations to arrive sooner, increasing their chances of survival.

Gurnee police do similar drills twice a year at locations like Six Flags, Gurnee Mills, and all the local schools. These exercises ensure that police have a working knowledge of the land should a situation ever develop there.

The U.S. Navy also participated in the exercise playing characters within the scenario. Personnel from the Grayslake, Waukegan and Zion fire departments participated and teachers were also involved.

The simulation started with the fire department responding to a rescue call for a broken leg at the school. While there, they heard shots fired and the police were notified. From this point, the simulation could go any number of directions, based on how the police and fire department reacted to the situations they encountered.

William Meyer, administrative commander for Gurnee police, said the scenario is designed to be as close to real-life scenario as possible, with moulage used to create realistic effects such as burns and jutted bones in the wake of a bomb.

Terrorists weren’t differentiated from students in the exercise, as police aren’t always sure who the terrorists are.

Gurnee isn’t the first to try this new approach. A similar exercise was held in Bristol, Wis., roughly one month ago.