LRH and Local Law Enforcement Held Security Drill
Lakes Regional Healthcare (LRH) and local law enforcement joined forces last week and held a security drill, practicing what could be a real-life scenario should someone enter the hospital demanding drugs and behaving violently.
LRH Director of Facilities Fred Krueger said, “When people come to the hospital – whether it’s to visit, for treatment, or for work – they expect to be safe. We’ve developed specific policies and procedures to ensure the hospital remains a safe, secure environment.”
LRH conducts several types of drills each year to help prepare staff to work effectively during a security incident or any number of situations. “High-anxiety atmospheres could generate a lot of confusion and chaos,” said Krueger. “People get very used to procedures and practices, so drills teach us not only how to apply those procedures but also how to improvise when working in unusual conditions.”
Staff from all areas of the hospital, police officers from Spirit Lake, and an 18-person High Risk Entry and Arrest Team (HEAT) from communities in northwest Iowa and southwest Minnesota participated in the drill. During the drill, all patient care areas remained open.
The drill consisted of two disoriented men entering the hospital’s pharmacy and demanding drugs. When pharmacy staff refused to relinquish any drugs, the perpetrators became increasingly hostile. A staff person announced what is known as a Code Yellow over the hospital’s loudspeaker system. This alerted hospital staff to go to the scene of the security incident to help minimize the threat and resolve the situation. Other staff also called 911 to alert local law enforcement to assist with the situation. At that point pharmacy staff gave the men some relatively benign drugs, but the men became increasingly hostile with the attention they received by other hospital staff. One man took out a gun and one man took out a knife as hospital staff quickly dispersed but also guarded hospital doors.
The men tried to get away and in doing so, fled to the hospital’s basement. Police officers arrived on the scene and engaged the help of the HEAT team. They quietly and carefully searched the hospital’s basement and apprehended the men.
Krueger said, “We learned a lot during the drill, and know that there’s always room for improvement. Drills like this allow us to identify gaps in our planning and improve our overall preparedness.”