Island filmmakers create tragedy preparedness movie here
On a glorious Tuesday morning this week, James MacKenty slid the family convertible up to an Airport Mobil gas pump in West Tisbury.
Mr. MacKenty, an Edgartown resident, graduated from Martha's Vineyard Regional High School two weeks ago. He is looking forward to beginning school as an auto technician in September. Life is good.
Forty-eight hours earlier, however, Mr. MacKenty was running in mock terror away from his high school during the filming of an emergency preparedness training film that recreated the horror of school shootings like the one that occurred in Columbine, Colorado, in 1999.
For Mr. MacKenty, his brother, Brian, and nearly 80 other Islanders, including teachers, law enforcement and emergency personnel, the mock film being shot by the Emergency Film Group (EFG) provided an opportunity to see emergency planning and high-quality moviemaking firsthand.
EFG is a safety training film company headquartered on Cooke Street in Edgartown. The company has shot several safety-training films on the Island, including a film on hazardous materials in 2006. EFG safety training films feature local members of police, fire, and EMT squads.
This week, the company filmed scenes depicting preparedness training for school personnel, two "event" situations and post-event crisis management situations at several locations, including the high school and at Katama.
Edgartown patrolman Jamie Craig commands the Island's recently formed tactical response, or SWAT, team. He was grateful for the opportunity to train his group in real-time situations.
"We know the school layout completely now and we got repetition of training of response techniques," Mr. Craig said. "While there is dispute about whether patrolmen should go into a building or wait for SWAT personnel, an expert in active response situations where shooting is still going on has said that someone is shot every 15 seconds in the incident. Typically, SWAT response time is 20 minutes."
To that end, patrolmen are now trained to enter in a team and attempt to neutralize shooters, he said, adding that in rural locations, where U.S. crime is rising two and one half percent faster than in urban areas, it may not be possible to gather the optimum four-man team quickly.