Active-shooter false alarm sends SWAT team swarming Ariens Company in Brillion

Published: Jun. 30, 2020 at 4:00 PM CDT
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BRILLION, Wis. (WBAY) - Hundreds of people were evacuated from an Ariens facility Monday afternoon when an active shooter alarm went off. While it turned out to be a false alarm, the incident was a good learning experience.

It was business as usual at Ariens in Brillion on Tuesday, a day after hundreds of employees found themselves in a scary situation.

“There’s an active shooter alarm going off in the building, and we’re not sure if it’s a glitch or something is really going on,” said an employee in a 911 call to Calumet County dispatch.

Despite the full-on emergency response to the area, it turns out the alert was just a false alarm.

According to Larry Weyers, chief operating officer of Ariens Company, “Unfortunately it was a circuit board in our rack of computers that had a short in it, so it closed the contact points and triggered the alarm.”

But the incident was good practice, not only for the Ariens employees who were forced to evacuate the building but also the first responders.

“Our normal protocol is, we evacuate all of the employees, they go to a certain rallying point,” says Weyers, “but we were very happy with the response of the local Brillion Police and the Calumet County police.”

While it's required that facilities have fire alarms, active shooter alarms are a more recent addition to some businesses, a sign of the times.

Weyers says, "The safety of our employees, it's more important than any shipment or profit, etc., so we have to plan for that it's part of our responsibility"

And while Monday's response was the first type of this specific alarm the Calumet County Sheriff's Office has responded to, it's a good reminder of the potential calls that could come in and the need to be prepared.

“Any time you have an incident, whether it be real or turns out to be a false alarm like the scenario yesterday, you always take training benefits away from it,” says Lt. Derek Bries, adding, “This was just a good reminder that it’s probably time to reach out to all of the businesses in the area again and make sure we’re all on the same page.”

So in the event of a real emergency, the operation runs just as smoothly as Monday’s false alarm.

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