Emergency drill tests procedures in active shooter scenario
PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — An emergency preparedness drill was held Sept. 30, 2014 in Presque Isle to test procedures and protocols, and enhance the community’s ability to respond and recover from an active shooter event.
“We accomplished what we set out to do,” said Daryl Boucher, TAMC director of emergency and critical care services, regarding the complexity and various aspects of the exercise, which involved an active shooter scenario at TAMC’s North Street Healthcare facility. Boucher led a team of hospital and emergency personnel who planned the logistics of this event.
“None of us ever want to see a real-life situation like the one that was tested in today’s emergency preparedness drill. However, it is exercises such as these that ensure first-responders and emergency medical personnel are as prepared as they can be,” said TAMC President and CEO Sylvia Getman.
The drill was a joint exercise of TAMC, the city of Presque Isle, the EMHS Center for Emergency Preparedness, the Northeastern Maine Regional Resource Center, and several local and regional first-responders.
“Today’s active shooter drill was a great opportunity for our department and the entire public safety community to experience a scenario that brings to light what we are taught to do in our training. Our officers responded as a group, as they are taught. Overall, we feel this exercise has been of great benefit,” said Presque Isle Police Chief Matt Irwin.
According to Boucher, this activity was intended to test staff response, hospital capacity, and overall interaction between TAMC and fire, police, security and EMS responders.
“We learned that we are doing several things really well, and perhaps more importantly, we learned what areas need improvement,” he said. While some of those lessons came from the hands-on activities of the morning, others were gleaned from the planning meetings held over the last year.
In addition to testing processes and procedures, the drill had the added benefit of facilitating employee education leading into the event.
“We have been able to educate the staff about the risk of violence in health care. That education will now continue with the lessons learned today,” said Boucher. “This increased awareness is critically important in making sure our work place is as safe as possible.”