LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is touring the country talking to emergency responders about how they can best react to mass shootings and mass casualty situations.

U.S. Homeland Security Instructor Jonathan Richeson told a group at the University of Louisville, "Now you have 1400 people in the movie theater trying to egress out when law enforcement is trying to get in and get target on the bad guy....Have you thought about it at your location?"

The names are all too familiar -- Columbine, Aurora, Colorado, and Virginia Tech.  Of the latter, Richeson explained: "How do we know it was well planned?  He chained the doors. He went into the auditorium and chained the doors."

It's a lesson taken to heart by Valerie Shell of Ascension School:  "One of the things that was said is how long it takes emergency responders to get here. One of the things that stuck with me was that you own the 20 minutes until they get there, and I want to know what it is I can do in that 20 minutes to keep the most kids safe."

Shell says Ascension just crafted an active shooter plan, and it will now be tweaked:  "Bolt cutters, they were referring to one of the incidents at Virginia Tech when they locked all the students in and had no way to get them out."

At times, it's an uncomfortable conversation in U of L's Brown and Williamson Club, with roughly 150 teachers, officers, and security personnel on hand.  Deputy Exec. Director of Kentucky Homeland Security Aaron Horner says it amounts to, "Trying to get more of a dialog or network of plans that need to be established in the workplace or a university to respond to these incidents."

Throughout Kentuckiana, law enforcement has increased active shooter simulations, now engaging more of the stakeholders.  It follows Sandy Hook, the Boston Marathon bombing, and the Washington Navy Yard shooting, all in less than year.

It's a sad lesson for Valerie Shell, but one she wants to know should Louisville, Kentucky ever become one of those communities the rest of the world knows by name:  "I feel like it's a reality in our world right now, and you have to embrace it and get a plan and move forward."

In 1989 Louisville saw a mass shooting.

Joseph T. Wesbecker entered Standard Gravure, his former workplace, killed eight people, and injured twelve others before committing suicide.

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