‘Operation Emerald Shield’ tests responders, hospitals

Emergency agencies engage in active violence training on Oak Street Wednesday

May 19, 2018 — The ongoing danger posed to communities from gun violence continues to thrust itself to the center of a highly-charged national discussion.

While people may disagree on what can or should be done to stem this deadly trend in American society, everyone agrees that communities and first responders everywhere should be prepared to confront and defeat an active shooter.

On Wednesday, May 23, Florence first responders, in coordination with PeaceHealth Peace Harbor Medical Center, will be conducting an integrated, multi-department exercise to prepare for an active violence emergency.

The Florence training is part of a larger county-wide series of staged events and informational workshops conducted to assist first responders in a larger scale scenario.

 Western Lane Ambulance District (WLAD) Chief of Operations Matt House will be coordinating local participation in what has been named “Operation Emerald Shield.”

House wants to inform the community of the joint effort being undertaken to provide training to the individuals that will be involved in dealing with potential active violence in the future.

He said that Florence Police Department, Peace Harbor Medical Center, Siuslaw Valley Fire and Rescue and Western Lane Ambulance District will be conducting the training exercise on May 23 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Lane Community College Florence Center, 3149 Oak St.

“At the same time we are doing our local exercise, Eugene/ Springfield will be conducting a similar active violent exercise at Autzen Stadium. We intentionally planned the event on this day to test our local capabilities without the options to transfer patients out of the area,” House said.

Portions of Oak Street will be closed for a short period of time that morning.

“While we are conducting this exercise, citizens should be aware that we will be temporarily closing Oak Street from 34th Street to 30th to fully test our responders,” House said. “There should be minimal impact to the community, we just want to alert the citizens of this exercise we are conducting, so they are not alarmed.”

According to House, the goal of this exercise is to create stress for participating agencies and the hospital to evaluate their respective capabilities.

 “Law enforcement will be focusing on strategies and tactics on active violent scenes and the Unified Command system,” he said. “Fire and EMS will be focusing their training on Incident Command System, scene management, triage, treatment and transport of patients during the exercise. Peace Harbor will be testing its in-hospital Incident Command System.

“Fire, EMS, police and the hospitals have all set up realis- tic objectives for this exercise, and this is what the Subject Matter Experts will be evaluating.”

House also asked that residents use caution while driving in and around the training site and to look for alternate routes where possible.

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