Heidi Bunch
Mineral County Assistant Deputy District Attorney Kyle George gets into character of an irate customer during an active shooter drill at Mt. Grant General Hospital last Thursday.

Watching a video on an active shooter situation doesn’t prepare people how to react to such circumstances, therefore, staff of Mt. Grant General Hospital (MGGH) sat through both classroom and mock training to best prepare themselves for circumstances.

“Mt. Grant General Hospital had an Active Shooter Drill on Thursday, January 18. The purpose of this drill was awareness of a potential situation as shootings are, sadly, becoming more common in our society,” Safety Coordinator Carol Lemieux of MGGH explained to the Independent-News.

Lemieux not only instructed her coworkers on the signs and dangers of active shooter situations, but she also worked in conjunction with Mineral County Sheriff Randy Adams in a classroom instruction on how to best survive a shooter situation.

Sheriff Adams taught the Civilian Response to Active Shooter Events (CRASE). The CRASE program allows law enforcement officers to teach community members on what they should do if confronted with an active shooter event. This class touched on the history of active shooter events, civilian response options, medical issues and considerations for conducting drills.

In the class, Sheriff Adams touched on the Avoid, Deny, Defend (ADD) aspect of the course – which teaches people to be aware of their surrounding, find all possible exits and statistical facts.

“You want to have a survivor mindset,” Adams explained to the Independent-News. “Have a survivor mentality not a victim mentality. Fight to live. Fight for your life like you want to survive.”

The actual drill took exactly three minutes after the irate shooter walked out of MGGH upset about his medical bill. During that time, the shooter explained to a front desk receptionist that he was “going to his car for a gun.”

After leaving the building, the staff of the hospital went into complete lockdown mode, following all instructions given to them by Lemieux and Sheriff Adams. 45 seconds passed from the time of the threat to the time that the shooter walked back into the building and the call was placed to the sheriff’s office dispatch from hospital staff advising of the “active shooter”.

Mineral County deputies responded and began to secure the hospital, which was eerily quiet and abandoned. (Due to patient health, most of the exercise was practiced outside the building.) The shooter was taken down on the back lawn.

“Three months of preparation and planning with the hospital staff ended in exactly three minutes. The reality of these types of events is there was three minutes from the first shot to the last shot. It was proven in this exercise,” the sheriff continued.

The training proved beneficial to both hospital and sheriff staff, each taking away from the experience – positive points and constructive comments.

“In cooperation with Mineral County Sheriff’s Department, Search and Rescue and Mineral County Fire Department – Mt. Grant General Hospital enacted our drill for the benefit of our staff. Staff was required to attend training offered by MCSO and watch training videos. The drill was a success with Mt. Grant staff responding very well, they exceeded all expectations,” Lemieux raved.

Sheriff Adams was also happy with the outcome of the training, “We work together and we benefit together. Thank you to the hospital, their staff and patients for allowing the sheriff’s office the opportunity to share our knowledge and expertise on events such as this. Unfortunately, the world has come to the point that we now must be aware and knowledgeable about how we will react to situations such as the hospital active shooter situation. I am proud of my deputies, dispatchers, SAR personnel and our Assistant District Attorney Kyle George for their professionalism during the drill. Not only does the hospital benefit from this training, but so does my personnel.”

“Heartfelt thanks to Randy Adams and all MCSO officers participating in training and enacting the drill, Kyle George for acting as the “shooter” and giving and amazing and frightening performance, Search and Rescue volunteers, JPO staff for acting as victims and Mineral County Fire personnel for their support. Huge thank you to our planning committee and all Mt. Grant staff,” Lemieux concluded.