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Local agencies train for active shooter at Grady Memorial

Grady Memorial Hospital staff transport a “victim” during an active shooter training scenario Friday at the hospital while Grady County Deputy Keith Williams charges toward the simulated gunfire.

Several different local first responder agencies worked together on an active shooter drill conducted by the Oklahoma Highway Patrol Friday at Grady Memorial Hospital in Chickasha.

Among those agencies were Tuttle Fire/EMS, Tuttle Emergency Management, Grady County Sheriff’s Office, Grady County Emergency Management, and many more.

Tuttle Emergency Management Director Mike Fay said Friday after the event, “Today, Tuttle Fire Chief Will Smith and I had the opportunity to participate in one of the most informative training and exercise programs I’ve attended. We can’t thank Grady Memorial Hospital enough for hosting this event with over 80 participants. It was a valuable experience which furthers our training to better protect our community of Tuttle.”

Grady Memorial Hospital staff transport a “victim” during an active shooter training scenario Friday at the hospital.

OHP Trooper Matt Krupczyk specializes in active shooter response training, and broke down the drill just before the drills began Friday.

He said, “When five or six different departments respond to the same event, they’re all on different radio channels, they all talk different, Fire doesn’t necessarily work with law enforcement the way they dispatch, so we have to work those battles to be able to communicate and coordinate effectively.”

As far as how the hospital staff participated in the event, Krupczyk explained, “We actually do this in a three-step process. Day 1, about a month ago, we taught the entire hospital staff the Run Hide Fight course. It’s a civilian course on how to apply a tourniquet, and life-saving measures for emergencies. Traditionally, in a hospital, they aren’t used to using what we would use as tourniquets, because they’re in a facility where they have medical care, whereas us in the field, we just have medical gear in a backpack.

“We then came back about two weeks later, and we did a LASER refresher course with law enforcement, and we did a rescue task force class with law enforcement and Fire/EMS together, and then put them through some dry-run scenarios, and we included the hospital staff.

“So today, we’re going to have that mass response to the hospital, and the staff will be able to practice the Run Hide Fight principle they were taught on Day 1. We’re actually going to have that be a separate piece of each scenario, so each group gets to practice the fundamentals of Run Hide Fight.”

Grady County Emergency Management Director Dale Thompson observes an active shooter scenario at Grady Memorial Hospital in Chickasha on Friday.

OHP and GCSO have worked together multiple times in the past at empty school buildings, but what made Friday’s drills unique was that Grady Memorial Hospital was open with civilians and staff inside.

Captain Phillip McCarthey, with the Grady County Sheriff’s Office, said following the training Friday, “The training we’ve been attending in the recent past has been more focused on active shooter threats at school campuses. I told one of the administrators about the Run, Hide, Fight training last year, shortly after I had attended the Instructor school, put on by the Oklahoma Highway Patrol. GMH was extremely interested in receiving the Run, Hide, Fight training for their personnel. The sheriff’s office didn’t have the manpower at the time to perform the training for them, so I gave them Mike Fike’s information at OHP. He oversees the LASER and Run, Hide, Fight training programs. Mike arranged the training as well as Stop The Bleed training and orchestrated the drill last Friday. The difference between the LASER (Law Enforcement Active Shooter Emergency Response) Training and the Run, Hide, Fight Training is that the Run, Hide, Fight training is designed for personnel such as teachers, hospital workers and essentially any employees where an active shooter situation is a possible threat. It teaches those employees essential skills on how to run from a threat, barricade against a threat, or defend against a threat in their specific place of employment. Instructors will conduct a threat vulnerability assessment of their building and go over those results with the appropriate administrative personnel and teach their employees how to react should the need arise. The LASER training is specifically for law enforcement personnel and is designed to teach all law enforcement to respond to an active shooter threat exactly the same. This provides for a more organized and precise response to a threat to eliminate the threat as quickly as possible in an effort to reduce or eliminate casualties. On June 22, 2023, Governor Kevin Stitt issued an executive order mandating the LASER Training for all Oklahoma Troopers and many other agencies have followed suit.”

Grady Memorial Hospital CEO Kean Spellman talked about the preparation for the event, as well as how he thought his staff performed.

“The planning took many months in getting so many agencies involved,” Spellman said. “The actual classroom training was two full eight-hour days. The day of the drill was a two-hour review followed by the six-hour, three-scenario training. In addition, we spent many hours arranging staff schedules and getting ‘simulated patients’ for our scenarios.”

With simulated gunfire, an incoming helicopter, and dozens of first responder vehicles in the parking lot, it would have been easy to accidentally alarm the public. Mr. Spellman explained how the hospital prepared the public for the event in advance.

“A month before the actual drill,” Spellman explained, “we personally let all city and county government know of our plans. On the training class, one week before the full drill, we practiced responding to simulation gun shots in an empty clinic. All staff were given days of notice, and same-day, we had signs and public posters all over. We had no complaints or issues.

“The week of the final training, we called all the local media and again met with all leaders. Two days before the 22nd (the day of the event), we handed out flyers and sent news releases out to all avenues. All neighbors were given a personal visit and flyer of the plans for the simulation event. They all appreciated the personal attention. We over-communicated.”

Spellman said the OHP instructors pulled no punches in their assessment.

“They were tough critiquers,” Spellman said, “and while positive, did not pull their punches. In fact, on the first scenario, we all were not coordinated and fouled up. The one trainer said “That was a trash effort,’ and he was right. We all did far better the second drill. Sometimes, folks need to get challenged, especially in something this important. Overall, they performed well. Most attended all the pre-training. We had a few rookies at the real event and we hope to have good video snippets to assist new employees. We are already planning a one-year review. Also, we hope to send some of our team that could not attend to a nearby hospital when they do training.”

Grady County Sheriff’s Office deputies Lt. Danny Booth and Lt. Robert Ague take instruction from Oklahoma Highway Patrol Trooper Matt Krupczyk during an active shooter drill Friday at Grady Memorial Hospital.

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