Several state and local law enforcement agencies conducted a practice “active shooter” exercise Thursday morning, Sept. 5, at Baptist Memorial Hospital – Union County in New Albany.
At no time was there any actual danger to people in the hospital. However, hospital staff and the patients they care for took the same security precautions that should be taken if there had, in fact, been a threat from a hostile shooter with a firearm on the campus.
The likelihood of an actual threat from an active gunman is statistically low at Baptist-Union County or other community hospitals. However, hospitals, especially emergency departments, routinely deal with individuals who are upset because of injuries or illnesses experienced by family and friends.
Those situations are regularly handled and defused without violence, by the hospital’s own security department.
Members of Baptist’s own security staff worked with officers from various state and local organizations. The Mississippi Office of Homeland Security, the Union County Sheriff’s Office, the New Albany Police Department and the Union County Homeland Security Agency participated.
During the few minutes of the active shooter exercise, participating law enforcement officers went through the process of locating and taking down the “shooter.” Law enforcement personnel and a few members of the staff played the roles of the hostile gunman and his victims.
Law enforcement officials participating in the drill used a modified version of the 9 mm Glock 17 semi-automatic pistol and non-lethal ammunition or “simunition” during the exercise. Lawmen and other active participants used protect -ion gear to prevent injuries to their heads and eyes from the low velocity, soft plastic projectiles fired by the modified pistols.
Hospital staff and law enforcement officials participated in an “after action” review of the exercise in a Baptist conference room.