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Active shooter drill on horizon for hospital
by Christina Rowland
Dec 21, 2012 | 1452 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
BEEVILLE — The tragedies that struck Connecticut, Aurora, Tucson and Oregon have forced everyone to take a hard look at their preparedness and ability to respond to catastrophic situations.

Christus Spohn Hospital Beeville is among those.

According to Gilbert Perez, head of security and emergency preparedness manager for the Beeville hospital, Christus Spohn enacted an active shooter policy earlier this year.

“A certain code is announced over the intercom,” he said. “Only our staff knows what that code means, and they know how to respond.”

Should someone panic and forget the meaning of the codes, they are printed on the back of everyone’s staff badges.

The code will also include a location so security and staff know if there is an area that should be avoided.

The whole hospital can be locked down with only one point of entry and exit if need be.

Law enforcement, including city police and the sheriff’s office, would be contacted.

“We have a very good working relationship (with PD and SO). If we need anything, they are there,” Perez said.

The staff has all been instructed as to what to do should they hear the code but are yet to have a live drill.

“I think it is important to set up something to see how our staff would react,” Perez said.

The hospital is currently working on when a simulation drill could take place.

As far as staff to respond to a situation, Perez said there is at least one security guard in the hospital at all times, and during weekdays, there is a second (usually Perez himself) acting as manager. There is an emergency department doctor in the hospital at all times, and a surgeon in the hospital Monday through Friday along with a physician’s assistant.

Should there be a mass influx of patients either due to an inhouse situation or an outside one, there is another code that can be sent over the intercom.

Perez said hospital staff that are not doctors could still be utilized in other ways such as getting bracelets on people and taking medical histories.

Should the situation exhaust the resources of the staff, Perez is confident others would help.

“I am sure if we needed help from the local physicians, they would be more than happy to come,” Perez said.

Angel Care is also there to help with seven ambulances that serve the area along with vans for handicapped transport, and helicopters from three neighboring cities should the situation deem them necessary.

“I believe we are prepared as much as we can be,” Perez said.

Additionally, Perez said he, along with the security managers of the other Christus Spohn locations, meet quarterly to discuss policies, updates and situations that have arisen which could lead to changes in policy.

Open communication between all the security staff is important and helps keep everyone safe, according to Perez.

While 2012 has been a mournful year for many small communities, Christus Spohn is doing its part to be prepared should tragedy ever strike Beeville.

Christina Rowland is the regional editor at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 119, or at regional@mySouTex.com.

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