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WAUSAU (WAOW) -
Business leaders, school officials and law enforcement officers from our area got together to get prepared.
They want to make sure you would know what to do if tragedy hits closer to home.
The shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School shook the country. That had local law enforcement looking at plans already in place right here in Central Wisconsin.
"Up until the last couple of years, there's been no real focus on reaching out to the community and telling them what they should be doing if something horrible happens," Marathon County Sheriff's Department Lt. Chad Billeb said.
That's why the Wausau Chamber of Commerce wanted to bring local businesses together.
"We felt like this was a solution to an unfortunately growing problem," Wausau Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Karen Nerison said.
A growing problem police say could happen anywhere at anytime.
"It doesn't matter where you like now, you can be in a big city, you can be in a rural area," Wausau Police Department Lt. Mark Pankow said.
The Marathon County Sheriff's Department went over some simple tips that could be put into place at schools and businesses right away.
First, have an evacuation or lock down plan in place. Second, provide a map of your school or office to local law enforcement. Finally, have a code word or phrase in place as a way to let people know about a threat in the building.
Jane Graham-Jennings from the Wausau Women's Community says those are valuable points.
"This is a refresher and reminder and learning new things about what we need to do to prepare our staff and families that we serve," Graham-Jennings told Newsline 9.
Officials say drills do work, pointing to the fact that no student has died in a school fire in the last 50 years. But law enforcement leaders here say few exercises are done to prepare for an active shooter.
"We need to educate people as to where they need to go, who they need to talk to, what they should do because that's going to save lives," Billeb said.
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