Hospital, responders to stage active-shooter drill Wednesday

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RUMFORD — Rumford Hospital, area law enforcement agencies and emergency responders will stage an active-shooter emergency drill at the hospital from 5 to 8 p.m. Wednesday.

“We’re preparing for the worst and hope it never happens,” Scott Parker, Oxford County Emergency Management Agency director, said Tuesday. “This is another good example of Rumford and the River Valley working with a private hospital to be better prepared, but we’re breaking new ground with an active shooter.”

Each year, Parker said the county’s Public Safety Committee plans an emergency preparedness drill in Rumford. In the past, it has planned and held such training for active shooters in schools, which is what induced Parker to suggest doing one in the hospital.

Last month, Rumford Hospital facilities manager Douglas West, a member of the safety committee, said the hospital suggested the drill after the hospital’s parent organization, Central Maine Healthcare Corp., introduced a new policy for dealing with potential hostage situations.

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“This will be the first time that something like this has been done in Maine,” Parker said of the active-shooter drill in a hospital.

To alleviate the potential for a panicked public, area responders have been notifying Rumford and Mexico residents ahead of time about the drill. Signs will also be posted the day of the training in the hospital area to inform travelers and the neighborhood.

Among the participants will be hospital staff; Rumford, Mexico and Dixfield police departments; Rumford and Mexico fire departments; the Oxford County Sheriff’s Office, and Med-Care Ambulance.

Rumford police will provide the emergency tactical team response to stop the threat, prevent any further injury and secure the scene.

Throughout the drill, the hospital will remain open, particularly for emergency patients.

tkarkos@sunjournal.com

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