Active Shooter Training Held at North Country Hospital
Excerpt from Newport Daily Express
By Christopher Roy, Staff Writer
Police converged on the Primary Care Building of North Country Hospital for an emergency training exercise last Friday morning. Jared Jewett, hospital spokesman, said the full-scale exercise simulated an active shooter event.
“It’s part of our emergency operations plan,” Jewett said before the training began. “This was one of the exercises we chose to do because we feel strongly about the safety of our patients and staff.” The drill involved the Newport City Police responding to the building and searching for a suspect in the exam area while staff vacated the facility. “In a sense, this is also a training for them, because that’s who we’re going to count on,” Jewett said of the police. The VT Department of Health also participated. “This is also about building relationships with other organizations on the local level, the state level and if need be, on the federal level.”
Over the past few years, the hospital has worked hard to improve some of the structural safeguards at the facility such as electronic locks, panic buttons integrated with 911 and bulletproof glass in the emergency room.
Holding the drills is not to demonstrate what the staff knows, but to show what they don’t know and look for areas to improve. The hospital’s emergency preparedness team wrote the scenario for Friday’s exercise and staff did not know what it was before it unfolded. “That way nobody can anticipate what will happen and it will revert back to your training and putting that into practice,” explained Jewett.
While this was an active shooter training, the hospital has an emergency operation plan on how to deal with nearly every situation. “It was clear the education and training were put into practice very well, Jewett said. “The staff did a great job at following directions and evacuating the building in a very timely matter. It was a great opportunity to learn.”