By Michael Abeyta

(CBS4) – Crisis actors created a realistic and graphic scene at a local church meant to mimic a mass shooting. South Metro Fire teamed up neighboring fire agencies for a training exercise with 911 dispatch centers, various law enforcement agencies, and hospitals.

The goal is to be prepared in a worst case scenario like a mass shooting.

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First responders practiced bleeding control, communication and the use of new standardized protocols and rescue operations in a classroom setting. Then they took what they learned and used it in a realistic response.

Actors were wearing surgical “cut suits” to look like realistic shooting victims. Those actors were rescued and transported to local trauma centers where hospital staff will then also participate in the exercise.

(credit: CBS)

The cut suits included a rib cage and organs so first responders could practice treating patients on scene while they rescue them.

This type of training is designed to make participants feel like they are helping real victims with real injuries to better prepare them to handle worst case scenarios.

(credit: CBS)

Friday was the first of 18 training sessions. Fifty people attended, but in all, more than 800 first responders will receive the training because in today’s world, it’s important for them to stay ready.

“From the rural setting even to the city, we’ve seen active threat incidents whether it’s places of worship or schools or just public venues in general, and it’s up to us as the first responders to be ready for those for our community members, and this is the best way we can do that,” said Eric Hurst, a spokesman for South Metro Fire.

Michael Abeyta is a 4th generation Coloradan and a Multimedia Journalist for CBS4. His stories can be seen on CBS4 News at 5 & 6. He is on Twitter! Follow him @AbeytaCBS4.