CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Teachers, students and staff in Kanawha County are learning how to respond to an armed intruder at their school.

FBI agents were at Kenna Elementary School in Charleston Thursday to conduct an active shooter drill.

“We do what we call acoustical awareness, so that they can hear what gun shots sound like,” said Murry Streetman, senior resident agent supervisor with the FBI in Charleston.

School officials learn about different scenarios and whether they should exit the building or place the school on lock down.

Streetman said they hold these drills to keep the community safe.

“It’s a huge priority for us to ensure that the community is as prepared as possible. We are members of this community as well and it’s important for us to provide some tools so that they can be prepared in the event of a tragedy striking,” he said.

Teachers and staff are at the scene before police and emergency officials arrive, so they need to have a plan, Streetman said.

“Police officers, the fire department, the FBI are not going to be there immediately, so the decisions that are made by this staff or an organization — it can make a big difference between life and death,” he said.

Leeann Dent, a first grade teacher at Kenna Elementary, said her job is to protect her students as if they were her own children.

“I have four kids of my own, but yet I have 20 here at school as well. We treat them like our own kids and we will do whatever it takes to keep them safe,” she said.

Dent said knowing the correct steps to take in the event of an active shooter situation will help teachers remain calm.

“Whether we decide to exit the building or whether we decide to lock down, I think the training will help us make those decisions in a better, quicker manner,” she said.

The FBI conducts active shooter drills for schools and community organizations nationwide.

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