By LIZ ADAMS, Gonzales Investigator
At 10:01 a.m. on Wednesday, Gonzales Healthcare Systems hosted an active gunnery exercise in cooperation with the Gonzales Police Department. Law enforcement vehicles were summoned to the scene with reports of an active shooter outside the emergency room. Hospital staff were evacuated as the situation was updated to include new information. Dispatch described an incident in which a woman was shot in the leg and further shots left another victim inside the business office hit in the shoulder and chest. Traffic on Sara DeWitt has been rerouted. Rescuers got out of an ambulance and lifted a stretcher. A suspect was reportedly identified and officers quickly confirmed the scene was secure. In less than 20 minutes, the simulated threat was broadcast. Emergency room supervisor Cerena Michalec informed the public that the incident was just an exercise and that there was no danger.
Hospitals, schools, businesses and organizations have stepped up these exercises in recent years due to an increase in violent incidents that have taken place in settings where dangers and vulnerability pose greater risks and challenges. Since these situations can arise spontaneously or with the specific intention of causing harm, school and hospital staff have completed the required emergency preparedness training and continue to take more responsibility for knowing what to do. in the event of a real threat.
In similar exercises, hospital staff rehearsed scenarios in which the gunman shoots patients in a waiting room in order to expose those employees in any role to things they might hear or see in a situation. marksmanship and give them the opportunity to practice staying alert. , locate exits from the building and know when to run, hide or fight.
“It’s rehearsal and training for the officers and it allows them to familiarize themselves with the layout of the campus. This gives them the ability to know where the exits are, especially for new agents. Students doing exercises have the chance to learn what to do in case something happens at school, ”said Jimmy Harless, Gonzales County Emergency Management Coordinator.
Although staff, patients, students, and community members have found emergency drills frightening at times, proper training has been proven to save lives.