BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
MONTROSE – Lee County emergency responders simulated an active shooter situation on Wednesday morning in Montrose.
The drill took place across the county with responders from the Lee County Ambulance, Lee County Sheriff, Montrose Police, Montrose Fire and Rescue, Fort Madison Police, and Keokuk police. Responders were on scene at the Ivor Fowler Center in Montrose beginning at 8:28 a.m. through just before 10 a.m.
Emergency crews worked on nine members who had simulated injuries. Two were deceased and others ranging from various gun shot wounds and other injuries including pregnant victims. The emergency crews set up a triage center in the Ivor Fowler Center to assess, prioritize, and treat the victims.
Lee County Sheriff Stacy Weber helped coordinate a command center along with local police and other law enforcement in the area to simulate a search for the armed perpetrator in the Montrose area.
“Everything went pretty well. We had a few issues,” said Lee County Emergency Management Agency Director Steve Cirinna. “Each location and hospital has a hot wash where they talk about what went well and what they need to work on. The plan, at this point, is we have another meeting and bring all the stuff in and talk about how are we going about improving on our processes.”
He said during the simulation Keokuk actually had a minor three-vehicle accident and some in the drill had to be diverted to address that situation.
“But we look at that, too. If we’re in a real situation, we have to see how those types of things impact our processes and responses. But yeah… we thought everything went pretty well.”
According to a release from Lee County Sheriff Stacy Weber, “an active shooter is an individual actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a populated area, and recent active shooter incidents have underscored the need for a coordinated response by law enforcement and others to save lives,” Weber wrote in a statement.
“Although local law enforcement such as the Montrose Police Department would be the first ones on the scene, the sheriff’s office will play a large role in supporting the response to every major incident in our jurisdiction and our neighbors, and has much to offer in terms of capacity, expertise, specialized capabilities, training and resources before and after an accident occurs. The successful prevention of these active shooter incidents lies with a wide range of public and private entities all working together.”
Local hospitals were also involved in the drill and Fort Madison Community Hospital executed a simulated lock down and large trauma response in conjunction with the Montrose scene.
Barb Marlin, director of compliance, risk management, and safety at FMCH said the drill helps the hospital prepare for the worst and information obtained as a result of the drill will help the staff prepare for these types of events.
“We haven’t completed our hot wash, where all the key players get together and really pick it apart,” Marlin said. We’re not here to say this was fun… this was great, but to see what can we do better with a critical eye. We get everyone’s input to see what can we do better and how to be faster – be more prepared.”
Marlin said one of the goals was to practice as an organization on how to implement a lock down with very little notice and practice large scale trauma situations.
“One of our goals was to practice as an organization how to lock down our facility to keep it safe for our patients, visitors, and staff. We wanted to practice mass casualty, blood supply, and back-up blood supply. Honestly, it was for us to test on things we don’t do on a routine basis. We just want to make sure we identify who is coming onto our campus, that they are appropriate to be here, safe to be here, and get them to the right place as soon as we can. So we will stop them and make sure we escort them to the right place in those situations.”