Manchester, KY: Clay County Emergency Management held an active shooter drill at Manchester Memorial Hospital (MMH) on October 10th, which included front line hospital administrative and clinical staff as well as local law enforcement and first responder agencies. The experience was thought provoking, as many participants walked away with a new perspective on safety.
This drill enabled local agencies to establish a multi-disciplinary plan of action. The practice began at noon when law enforcement agencies received the alert of an active shooter in the school. They then cleared Clay County High School room by room, until the simulated threat had been neutralized, and began to evacuate ‘injured’ students.
The students were triaged on site by the EMS, placed in the ambulances and transported to the Hospital. Once they arrived, the Emergency Department staff worked diligently to reduce chaos and to treat the students in a timely manner.
Several local agencies participated in the drill, from planning to execution. The Clay County Sheriff’s Office and the Manchester Police Department were responsible for the rescue and retrieval of the ‘victims’ in the simulation, while Clay County EMS and the Coroner’s Office were on hand to receive the children as they were removed from the school. The Manchester Fire and Rescue team aided in traffic control as the ambulances left the scene. The children standing in as victims were volunteers from the Appalachian Christian Academy. Planning and preparation for the drill was conducted by Manchester Memorial Hospital, Eastern Kentucky University, University of Tennessee’s Law Enforcement Department, and the Air Evacuation and Air Method teams.
Taking steps to organize a plan of action is crucial when responding to these situations. Cooperation within the community proves to be the most effective means of preventing an event from escalating into discord and panic. This drill not only created greater awareness amongst the various agencies/facilities involved, but also helped them update their plan to create a safer, more prepared environment.
*Published in The Manchester Enterprise*