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Legacy hospital site now home to safety training

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DEBRIEF: Officers debrief after an active shooter simulation held in Wabash on Tuesday.
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MEDICAL: Officers practice using a tourniquet on a “wounded” officer.
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TRAINING: Officers check and clear the second floor of the old Parkview Wabash Hopsital building during an active shooter simulation on Tuesday.

by ANDREW CHRISTMAN - achristman@wabashplaindealer.com

First responders are making the most use out of the former Parkview Wabash building by hosting a variety of training simulations throughout the week.

Tom Rhoades, corporate director of public safety and chief of police for Parkview Health, said the simulations were a good opportunity to use the building to train Parkview and local officers, as well as other first responders. Those taking part will receive training in a variety of situations including emergency vehicle operations, active shooters and an in-progress burglary.

“This was something Capt. (Matthew) Daughtry, our training captain, wanted to put together for all of our first responders,” Rhoades said. “Today is a culmination of a lot of work that Capt. Daughtry has put in with our local chiefs and sheriffs and really coming together to provide this kind of training for our local officers is a big task.”

Taking part in the training exercises are the Parkview Police, Wabash City Police Department and Wabash County Sheriff’s Department. The Wabash Fire Department will also be taking part in wall-breaching exercises later in the week.

Rhoades said the simulation allows officers to complete all of their state certification requirements.

“Training provides more opportunities to experience different situations and scenarios, and our goal is to better prepare not only our own officers, but local officers so they can respond appropriately when they’re in real situations, when their lives and public lives are at stake,” Rhoades said.

For active shooter training, officers were only told gunshots had been reported on the second floor of the hospital to keep the simulation as realistic as possible. Officers were then tasked with clearing the second and third floors while attempting to neutralize the “threat,” who was be firing rounds from an Airsoft rifle in hallways and staircases when responders got close.

Officers were also tasked with performing medical treatment to a “wounded” officer by using a tourniquet, as well as dealing with a barricaded subject.

First responders were equipped with their own Airsoft rifles and handguns to properly simulate the available equipment. Those with rifles were assigned to be taking point, while those with handguns would be checking and clearing side rooms. Daughtry said constant and clear communication was vital to the process, and the simulation allowed units who normally don’t work together to practice.

First responders were then debriefed with clear criticisms, which Daughtry said is often the most important part of the exercise.

“There’s so much we take away from that. You can set those scenarios 100 different ways, and we have a lot of different scenarios we run with that,” Daughtry said. “You always learn so much when you do these.”

Daughtry also said officers will use the building to receive training involving autism awareness, human trafficking, mental health crisis, domestic violence and low-light/no light situations.

Because of manpower issues, Daughtry said the training will be cherished by officers because of how rarely the different departments come together.

Rhoades said the old Parkview Wabash building will continue to be utilized as long as possible, but Parkview representatives currently plan to demolish the building sometime in 2019.