“You have to train for every type of scenario” Active-shooter training focuses on hospital safety

(WTHI Photo)
(WTHI Photo)

VINCENNES, Ind. (WTHI) – Hospitals are meant to be a safe place, but what do you do when danger arrives?

“Certainly we hope it doesn’t happen, but we’re seeing it happen all over the country,” said Stacy Voliva, Emergency Management Coordinator at Good Samaritan Hospital, “So it’s our job to be prepared for not just that, but everything else.”

Monday was the first day of active-shooter training at Good Samaritan Hospital. While the “blood” and “bullets” were not real, the goal of preparation is.

“You have to train for every type of scenario,” said Sgt. Jon McKinnon, Vincennes Police Department, “Nowadays you just never know, and we just want to be prepared to eliminate any threat from any situation in our area.”

In collaboration with multiple agencies of law enforcement and first response, hospital staff and officials mocked a series of simulations in the hospital’s Memorial Building.

“It’s access to everybody, anybody can come in the hospital and access is granted,” said McKinnon, “It gives us a good idea to come in, review the floor plans and know where the stairwells and stuff are.”

National statistics shed light on workplace safety when it comes to the healthcare profession. According to 2010 numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, healthcare and social services workers were the victims of 11,370 assaults.

While the numbers are concerning, Voliva says it helps to be proactive in preventing the worst case scenario.

“It’s really scary to think that could happen here,” he said, “but really it’s been better for our staff, I think, after we train with the police department and the sheriff’s department and they see what to expect and what the capabilities are. I think that eases our staff a little bit more.”

Being able to practice different scenarios in different locations is also a benefit to McKinnon. He says the main goal is to protect the public, and in order to do that, you have to be ready to respond to the call no matter where it is.

“That’s the whole purpose of this training is to protect the innocent parties that are involved, or in the situation,” he said, “The hardcore facts are we’re here to engage and try to get those bullets focused on us. We have the protective gear, that’s what we’re training for, and hopefully we have the edge.”

Though it is all just a drill, it’s a reminder that it could be a reality.

“When we were little kids we did tornado drills in school, and now our kids are doing active shooter drills,” said Voliva, “So we’re doing our armed intruder training here just like we do fire, tornado or any other hazard, we train for everything.”

The training will continue Wednesday and Thursday in the Memorial Building from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.