Comanche County Memorial Hospital held a three-day active shooter training for their staff. Heather Love, the administrative director of quality, safety, risk, and education at CCMH, said they held this because they knew they needed to do more to prepare for an active shooter event at the hospital or within the community because they’ve seen an increase throughout the country.
“And some of those have been fairly close to home, and so what we want is to get our employees ready and prepared,” Love said. “We hope that it is something that never happens here. We want to be prepared just in case.”
On the first day, they spent the day in the classroom learning. All staff were asked to go through a one-hour class. They spent the second day using what they learned.
“And we’ll be using simulated activities to try to simulate an active shooter event as much as possible, but in a safe and controlled manner,” she said.
There were six simulations throughout the hospital. Love said they wanted their staff to think about where to run, hide or fight.
“We’re doing it actually on their unit, within their departments, so where would they hide right there? What would they use to lock a door? So, it’s getting them to think about their actual environment that they work in every day,” Love said.
Paula Griffith, the director of women and children services at CCMH, said she first tried to run but quickly realized that wasn’t going to work. They ended up hiding in a hospital room.
“So, my partner and I actually used a hospital bed and put it up against the door and locked it down, and then the intruder was unable to get into the room,” Griffith said. “Hospital beds are luckily large and heavy, and so that served us pretty well.”
Michael Richey, a pharmacist at CCMH, said it was beneficial to watch the exercise and see how a situation could escalate.
“I took an exit route because as he was getting escalated, I looked around to see where my nearest exit was, so I took an exit route,” Richey said.
He said while you never want an event like this to happen, you do want everyone to be as prepared as possible.
“We’re all here to take care of patients,” Richey said. “But in the end, it’s ‘how can we get out so we can return back to those patients?’”
“I think the overall takeaway from this is we always need to be prepared and have the knowledge to be able to save ourselves in any situation,” Griffith said.
On the final day of the training, the hospital held a tabletop exercise with local, county, and state officials. Patients weren’t involved in this training because Love said it was important that they focused on their healing.
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