Hospital conducts security drill - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Hospital conducts security drill

August 19, 2005

Thomasville-- Archbold Hospital is preparing for a worst case scenario. It held a drill to make sure it's ready in case someone takes a hostage.

In just seconds, a hostage situation breaks out at Archbold Memorial Hospital in Thomasville.

"The hospital is currently participating in a safety drill in conjunction with the Thomasville Police Department. This is a planned drill," said Chief of Security Adam Cooney.

Fortunately, the hostage taker is a hospital employee who agreed to help stage the exercise. "Our security just asked me if I'd help out, and I said sure," said Special Response Team Joe McMurry.

The first on scene is the Thomasville-Thomas County Special Response Team.

"Ten four. We have a suspect trapped on the second floor..." comes the voice on the radio.

Now that the suspect is barricaded in a room, the hostage negotiator is called. "Phyllis, this is Lieutenant Burklow at the police department. Has he pointed the gun at you?"

Startling reality, all in the name of protection. Chief of hospital security, Adam Cooney, says the drill is designed to help build a policy for such incidents. "It is based on some of the hostage problems we've been having throughout the nation itself."

A model that found the kinks that need to be worked out. Communications between police and the hospital is the main one. "Being that we found this out, we're in the process of working to eliminate that problem."

The drill is also important to law enforcement. It gives them the real world experience so crucial to their operations. "The more often we get to participate with businesses like the hospital, and the schools, then the more prepared we are to handle any type of situation that might come up."

A situation like this, that the aggressor, and peacemakers agree ended well. "Hopefully in a real life situation it will work out the same way," Cooney says.

"I know there's a plan in action now, and that they'll know what to do." said Fake Kidnapper Logan Ferrel.

The first of which is to remain calm. Archbold has never had a situation like the one you just saw. But hospital officials say it's better to be prepared than be caught off guard.

Feedback: news@walb.com

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