A collection of healthcare professionals, county health officials, and other community members were gathered in Arbuckle on Friday afternoon, expecting that – at any moment – an ‘active assailant’ would bust into the building and wreak havoc at the Ampla Health Medical & Dental Center in Arbuckle.
Ampla Health, in collaboration with the Colusa County Department of Health and Human Services, conducted a pair of ‘Active Assasilant Drills’ at the Ampla Health Medical & Dental Center in Arbuckle. Because it was a drill, those gathered at the clinic knew that something was coming – but many didn’t expect the drill to play out as it did. As it turned out, the assailant had already been among the crowd gathered there, armed with a concealed knife (a narrow foam block) and two handguns (Nerf guns). Without notice, the assailant pulled his knife and began ‘stabbing’ his unsuspecting victims, and later using the guns as he made his way through the building. Some participants hurled objects at the man as they attempted to escape or help evacuate the wounded, others barricaded themselves and other participants in offices, and some were mortally wounded as a result of the man’s attack.
The participants’ actions were scrutinized by the team at Full Circle Systems Security and Defense, which facilitated the drill. Overall, they did pretty well at following the protocol for an active assailant event: Run, hide, fight. And in the case of the medical personnel at Ampla, attempt to assist the wounded and administer first aid – including CPR and staunching bleeding – to those who need it after getting to safety, as they wait for law enforcement to arrive and take out the active assailant.
“We really want to prepare our staff. We are required to have certain types of training, and this is one of them,” said Rocio Valdez, director of communications for Ampla Health. “ We want to make sure our staff is prepared for an active shooter event.”
Valdez added that such an event could become a reality in any community and that active shooter events are something that, more and more, medical personnel and first responders need to prepare for. She noted that earlier in the day, a 14-year-old boy had shot and wounded a student at a Southern California high school in Palmdale.
Cindy Snelgrove, Ampla Health’s Director of Clinical Services, said in a statement that the company was excited to host this type of readiness drill to better prepare their staff and the community to have a better chance at saving lives in case of an active assailant event. ■