October 14th, 2013
New London Hospital Emergency Response Team and New London Police Department conducted a functional exercise at New London Hospital (NLH) on September 28, 2013. The exercise included NLH staff, community members, New London Fire Department, New London Dispatch and New London Police. The purpose of the exercise was to ensure the safety of hospital staff, patients and visitors in a Code Silver or active shooter scenario. Several months of planning and police training were required to test the response of the hospital and police in a Code Silver situation. In addition, the exercise tested the communication system with New London Dispatch in a critical emergency situation. This is the first of several training sessions to ensure a safe environment on the NLH campus.
NLH staff has trained in methods of response in an active shooter situation to ensure the safety of staff, patients and visitors in a hostile environment. EMS & Emergency Preparedness Coordinator at NLH, Pamela Drewniak, indicated that in-house training has given staff the tools to react in a situation, but the interaction and real life scenario provided by New London Police helped staff realize how they would truly react when faced with an active shooter. "All staff and community members involved in the scenario came away with a true understanding of their reactions and realization that the Code Silver Plan in place at New London Hospital does prepare them to react in a dangerous situation."
Police response during this exercise was realistic and gave the police officers the opportunity to experience a lifelike situation to test response and management of a shooter in a public location and clear the building of all individuals in danger.
Acting Police Chief Edward Andersen indicated that the training allowed officers to work together in a real life scenario. "It provided officers with a variety of challenges with actors in a realistic setting," stated Andersen. "The scenario pointed out that due to the human element a scene is unpredictable. This training allowed our officers the ability to train on controlling a chaotic environment while accomplishing the task at hand." Andersen continued, "This also gave an understanding to hospital staff and emergency workers of how rapidly a situation can unravel and how quickly police can respond and bring it under control."