CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Thomas Health System is preparing for an active shooter drill at both Saint Francis Hospital and Thomas Memorial Hospital, officials announced at the Thomas Memorial Hospital Board of Trustees meeting Thursday morning.
The scenario will portray an active shooter and test the hospitals' response to such an incident.
"It's just as harsh as it sounds, and in meeting and planning for it, it's a hard thing to do," said Cynthia Barnette, vice president and general counsel. "It's an opportunity for us to look at our security in the ER, and that is the area we believe to be the most vulnerable."
Barnette said the hospitals are working with security experts to put the drill together.
"We'll start with Thomas and look at our procedures, prepare our policy and educate everyone, which I feel is critical to this process," she said.
A date for the drill has not been set, but it will be within the next couple of months, said Paige Johnson, the director of marketing and public relations for Thomas Health System.
"We're doing it as part of joint commission regulations and to just be prepared," Johnson said. "But this could happen. There's been a lot more of this kind of activity nationwide, so we want to make sure our hospitals are prepared to handle anything that comes out."
Johnson said local schools and other hospitals have participated in such drills in the past so the community is prepared to handle the situation collaboratively.
In other news, the board approved the addition of volunteers to the chaplain group. The group has lost a number of volunteers over the years due in part to illness or age, Barnette said. She said the hospital is actively recruiting interested and qualified candidates.