Students take part in mass casualty training in New Jersey

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AJ Ross has the story.

High schoolers from 22 towns in Morris County are getting a firsthand look how to deal with some of life's most frightening moments, like a mass shooting, and many of the tactics first responders use.

This training is all about empowerment versus being helpless and equipping kids with skills to not only save their lives but others.

For several hours Thursday, they practiced some extreme scenarios at the Morris County Public Safety Training Academy; it's an experience many say will stick with them for a lifetime.

When the unthinkable happens, being prepared could mean life or death, which is why kids in Morris County aren't just learning first aid basics in the classroom; they're being exposed to real life scenarios.

"I can only imagine, great preparation, this is the right place for you," said Domenick Castillano, Morris Catholic student.

"If there was a scenario in a school or something like that, we would be able to be the first ones there and be trained and know exactly how to help them," said Danielle Buccelli, Randolph High School student.

In fact, this is just a small portion of a weeklong intense training session through the Morris County Public Safety Youth Academy.

Teens from over 30 different schools will learn a variety first responder skills through staged scenes like a club shooting, car fire, and officer shot during a traffic stop.

"This is a very real thing, it's sad but it's the reality," said Adam Hartswick, Tactical Combat Casualty Care Instructor.

While some believe this sort of exposure may be too much for kids, instructors say it's necessary considering the times we live in.

"I think a lot of times we underestimate tragedy," said Jeffrey Paul, the Director of Morris County OEM.

Judging by the smiles and feedback they've received over the past four years of this program, it's an experience teens say they'll never forget.

"Just being here, just the teamwork, it's a really good environment and it really teaches you how it's going to be in like the real world," a student said.
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