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MADRAS, OR -- St. Charles Health System is conducting full-scale active weapons threat drills. The first was earlier this month at the Prineville hospital. And, the next is scheduled for Monday evening at the Madras campus. People may notice more emergency vehicles than normal at the hospital, during the training. 


Andrea Kidder is the Emergency Management Coordinator for the health system. She says the drills were created after talking with staff at all four Central Oregon hospitals. "I guess I phrase it as ‘what keeps you up at night?’ And, it’s been [an] overwhelming response that it is a potential shooting event or an active weapons threat, as we call it, in the hospital setting." She tells KBND News, "In order for our caregivers to, as I say, so they can sleep at night and be more prepared, we’re going to drill with our community partners and test our response. And then, also see how we would integrate with law enforcement and EMS, coming in to the hospital setting if, knock on wood – hopefully it won’t happen – but, potentially, we do have that active weapons threat situation."


The hospital has partnered with Jefferson County law enforcement agencies and EMS for Monday's operation. Kidder says they’ll run two scenarios. The first will take place inside the main hospital, and will allow staff to practice their "run, hide, fight" training, "Because, if you’re running during an exercise, or even during an active weapons threat, yes, you might have to leave some of your patients so you can save yourself. And return afterwards so you can take care of them." She says they're bringing in additional staff to make sure patient care isn't impacted.


The second drill takes place in the health clinic, which is closed in the evening. She says organizers learned from the Prineville training that scenarios needed to be as realistic as possible, for first responders. So, staff will be dressed up as victims and, "They will smell gunfire, they will see shell casings, they will see, unfortunately, blood on the wall; and those are indicators as to where to find the shooters."

Kidder says the Madras training is from 5:30 to 7 p.m. to have minimal impact on hospital operations, "And then, we will do Redmond, as well; and Bend will be last. We’ll do all four of these by the end of the year."

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