Law Enforcement Officers, Emergency Medical, and Fire Personnel converged on the Klickitat County Courthouse in Goldendale, WA Thursday afternoon, as part of an Active Shooter Full-scale Exercise. After Law Officers stopped the gunman; Paramedics, Emergency Medical Technicians, and Firefighters triaged, treated, and transported almost 20 simulated victims to Klickitat Valley Hospital for definitive medical care. This exercise was designed to test/prepare local First Responders and Hospital staff for any Mass Casualty Incident (MCI) that could occur in the County.
Jeff King, Director of Emergency Management for Klickitat County said, “This was a good test of our County’s ability to deal with large, complex emergencies. We picked an Active Shooter scenario because we receive media reports about other similar events way too often. The Courthouse was chosen because government has consistently been the target of such incidents–however, this training is applicable to any location in Klickitat County”.
Klickitat County 911 received calls from County Employees who heard (blank) gunshots inside the Courthouse. Law Officers from the Goldendale Police Department, Klickitat County Sheriff’s Office, Washington State Patrol, Washington State Parks, and Washington Fish and Wildlife participated. Ambulance personnel from Klickitat County EMS District #1 and Mid-Columbia Fire and Rescue; and fire crews from the Goldendale Fire Department and Rural 7 worked under the protection of Law Enforcement, in Rescue Task Forces, to remove injured persons from the Courthouse. Patients were then treated in a Casualty Collection Area before being transported to KVH. Sheriff’s Posse members maintained a secure perimeter around the Courthouse to facilitate unrestricted ambulance traffic into and out of the exercise.
Klickitat Valley Hospital worked to provide emergency care to the simulated patients; a sizeable task when almost 20 critical and seriously injured persons arrived at the Emergency Department within a very few minutes. Doctors provided life-saving care to the most severely injured first, while hospital staff supported less severe patients until resources were available to perform needed medical procedures.
At the completion of the exercise, all participants provided feedback on the training event. This critical review will be used to make adjustments in agency policies, training, response, and communication practices. Jeff King said, “While we hope that Klickitat County never experiences such an incident, we will use these Lessons Learned to better prepare our Community in case a mass-casualty incident occurs”.