St. Claire Regional (SCR), the Morehead Police Department and the Morehead Swat Team recently completed a Code Silver (active shooter) drill to ensure preparedness in the event of a real shooter situation.
SCR performs drills multiple times a year to promote the safety of staff, patients and visitors. “We want to make sure every department is prepared and there are no vulnerabilities,” said Gary Clarke, SCR disaster preparedness consultant. “My goal is to make sure everyone feels comfortable and safe coming to work, so that in the unfortunate event that something like this actually occurs, everyone would be trained and able to protect.”
SCR’s Disaster Committee is responsible for prioritizing the likelihood of various disaster events and planning the appropriate SCR Staff response via policy, educational training and drills. “Due to the increase in active shooter occurrences in the United States and across the world, our Disaster Committee has made the Code Silver drill a top priority,” said David Race, MD, Medical Director, Disaster Preparedness, and Disaster Committee Chair. Over the past two years, SCR has performed four Code Silver drills in collaboration with the Morehead Police Department and three with the Morehead Swat Team.
“I am impressed with how realistic this drill was,” said Clarke. “We didn’t want staff to know about the drill ahead of time so we could gauge their true reactions.” On Thursday, August 25 at approximately 5:30a.m., Jackie Campbell, playing the role of a battered female, arrived at the Emergency Department frantically screaming that she had been beaten by her ex-husband, who was armed and coming after her. SCR staff member Charlie Mers, playing the role of the shooter, arrived shortly after acting uncontrollably. Campbell was rescued by the Morehead Swat Team, and after a brief struggle, Mers was apprehended by Morehead Patrolman Jeff Stamper. “Playing the role of the shooter was exciting,” Mers said. “But more importantly, I was happy to be able to help my coworkers become more prepared.”
There were several successful reports of people hiding, staying quiet and refusing to open doors for anyone who asked. “Locking doors and hiding takes priority,” said Morehead Chief of Police Derrick Blevins. “In the case of a Code Silver, that will save more lives than anything, because what you can do before we arrive is better than what we can do by the time we’re here.”
Drills like these are not only beneficial for staff, but for first responders as well. “The opportunity to train inside the building gives first responders a better idea of hospital operation and layout,” said Stamper.
“SCR Staff were better educated and more prepared for this Code Silver drill than ever before,” Clarke added. “This drill is just another step in the right direction when it comes to disaster preparedness for both SCR and our region.”