By: Noelani Mathews | WCTV Eyewintess News
June 26, 2019
THOMAS COUNTY, Ga. (WCTV) -- This week, more than 500 educators, law enforcement officers and first responders from across Georgia are attending the 10th annual school safety conference at the UGA Tifton Campus Conference Center.
In three days, everyone will receive 16 hours of training on the latest threats facing Georgia schools and how best to respond.
"We will touch on drugs and gangs. The schools shootings are a big one. They're so horrific and we seem to have more and more. It's getting people more tuned into to what they need to do to prevent violence in their schools," said Pam Lightsey, with the U.S. Attorney's Office Middle District of Georgia.
In the event of any school tragedy, courses like 'stop the bleed' is training all staff the ways to save a life.
"With professional rescuers, no matter how fast they respond you're talking about a person being able to bleed out in 3 to 5 minutes. They're not going to get their fast enough," said Kristal Smith, with the Regional Trauma Advisory Committee.
Leaders with GEMA and Georgia's Department of Education helping train schools to notice the warning signs of violence.
"Be very vigilant. Look for behavior with students. Look for people on the campus that shouldn't be there. In other words, focus on prevention," said Dr. Garry McGiboney, with Georgia's Department of Education.
They're encouraging several levels of safety in schools, such as adding threat assessment teams.
"With a student that may be going the wrong direction they begin to monitor that child, offer assistance, and try to keep them on the right track before something bad happens," said Bill O'Brien, with GEMA & Homeland Security.
With about 500 people and more than 20 safety courses, the conference is making sure all kids are protected and safe.
Organizers say over it's last ten years, they're seeing their biggest turnout yet.
The training isn't required, but an invitation is extended to all Georgia schools and law enforcement agencies.
Those attending from our South Georgia viewing area are schools and officers representing Colquitt County, Thomas County, Lowndes County, Cook County, Lanier County, Decatur County, Berrien County, Brooks County, Clinch County, Echols County, Grady County, Valdosta, and Pehlam.