A man in dark glasses and wearing a hoody entered South Peninsula Hospital on Tuesday carrying a “weapon” — a sign that said “This is a drill. I have a weapon. Please respond accordingly.”
Of course, it was not an actual weapon, and no one was injured in an exercise designed to test and train hospital workers’ response in the event a person did enter Homer’s community hospital carrying a weapon.
Under hospital regulations, except for law enforcement officials and others authorized to carry weapons such as knives, rifles and guns, no one may enter the hospital armed.
The exercise is part of the hospital safety committee training in responding to emergencies such as earthquakes and evacuations. Hospital spokesperson Derotha Ferraro said the armed intruder drill was done twice on Tuesday, once for each shift. Employees had been notified in advance that a drill would be held sometime in June. Employees receive training in how to respond, she said.
The drill began with a staff member noticing the “armed” intruder and announcing the color code for an intruder. For security reasons, Ferraro asked that the color code not be publicized.
“The bottom line of what you do is you run, not necessarily exit — get out of the common flow of traffic, get behind a closed door, turn off lights, turn off cell phones, stop talking,” she said.
The actor portraying the intruder went through the building shaking door knobs to find unlocked doors. Some employees said that even though they knew it was a drill, that still got their heart rate going.
Homer Police Officer Stacy Luck responded to the drill, and as with a real emergency, participated as if he had been called. Once the actor had been apprehended, Luck went through the building to give people an all clear. He also talked with people after the drill.
“He really gave the staff concrete tips on how to make their (police’s) job easier,” Ferraro said. “Overall, it was a good experience for everyone.”