Pottstown Hospital Completes Active Shooter Exercise

POTTSTOWN PA – Pottstown Hospital planned ahead for, and trained in, skills it hopes to never need, the facility reported Friday (June 3, 2022).

The Tower Health-owned hospital, which in the past has successfully conducted drills for mass casualties that might result from biohazards or other scenarios, “recently” completed an active shooter exercise inside a closed unit of the Armand Hammer Boulevard facility. A specific date was not mentioned, but hospital Emergency Preparedness Manager Jim Magee said he felt it was “the right time” for such training.

“We have the second-busiest emergency department in Montgomery County, which leads to a large patient base,” Magee explained. “I think it was incumbent upon our staff to do an active-shooter drill.”

Members of the Pottstown Police Department and the Montgomery County SWAT-Western Region participated in the all-too-realistic effort. A photo supplied by the hospital public relations department (at top) shows officers crouched with guns drawn as they pass what appears to be a nurses’ station.

Because the drill was conducted in a separate and vacant area of the hospital, patient care was not interrupted. Moreover, hospital administrators intentionally chose the closed unit because its size allowed “for a variety of scenarios during the drill,” it reported.

The exercise was designed to prepare staff, including security and health care workers, “for their roles in limiting casualties” during an active-shooter situation. Besides helping the hospital “maintain a constant state of readiness,” it noted the exercise also met requirements of the Joint Commission, a national non-profit accreditation agency, and the Pennsylvania Department of Health.

Magee praised and thanked the police department and SWAT members for their assistance, and said they would be requested to again participate in future drills. The event, he said, “provided an opportunity to enhance collaborations” between law enforcement and the hospital.

Photo provided by Pottstown Hospital