For students on one college campus it was a chance to use their skills in a mock disaster.
This is not a real life disaster, but nursing students at Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College are treating it like one.
"This is a good drill for everyone, for the college, for our nursing programs and for all of our emergency responders," said Kathy Guyn, a nursing professor and division chair for Allied Health and Related Technologies.
As part of their comprehensive skill exam before graduation, nursing students must put their knowledge into practice.
"The nurses today that we are graduating today have to be ready to handle any kind of a disaster, because it could strike anywhere," said Scott Blanton, nursing professor.
In this case, students were given the scenario of a shooting on campus, involving a chemical spill and explosion, giving them the chance to work with local emergency personnel.
"It's a good opportunity to see what really goes on should there be a mass casualty incident, which there's never been one in this area, but I'm sure the day will come when it is, and it's always nice to have a little background experience to help you out," said Tammy Collett, a nursing student.
"I hope it gives them some good career opportunities, that there's a lot of open fields for nurses in the hospital and doctor setting, It gives them the opportunity to work or look forward to maybe doing this as a career," said Stephen Roberts, a paramedic advisor with the Air Evac Lifeteam.
Those in the healthcare field, like Rachel Baker, were on hand, observing the students on how they handled the situation.
"It was great to see them act professionally and quickly and provide the medical care that the simulated victims needed," said Baker, with Harlan ARH.
"I think some of the nurses have surprised themselves with how well they've done in the situation. You get nervous, but you face it, you move forward, and everything's gone really well," said nursing student Jo Duff.
She says she and other students look forward to applying their skills.
The drill also gave the school administration the chance to test its emergency response system, 'SNAP.' Officials say teachers and students were notified of today's mock disaster in one minute.