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“Active Shooter” drill underway at Penn State Health St. Joseph campus in Bern Township

12 law enforcement agencies, 40 officers participating in the drill happening now

Reading, Pa., January 13, 2016 – A drill with simulated gunman using simulated automatic weapons in an active shooter situation is being held on the Penn State Health St. Joseph campus in Bern Township sometime this morning. The activity is being coordinated by Penn State Health St. Joseph’s Director of Security Daniel Billings and Bern Township Police Chief Wesley Waugh and includes about 40 police officers from about a dozen county and state law enforcement agencies.

The “gunman” have “shot” their way into the Bern campus hospital building as part of the drill designed to test both the response of hospital staff to such a situation and the response time of law enforcement to the active situation. The County of Berks Department of Emergency Services 9-1-1/Communications Center is coordinating the law enforcement response and are directing the officers as they search the 340,000 square foot facility.

The drill has for multiple “fatalities” and “injuries”. County-wide EMS services also are participating to oversee the triage and evacuation of the victims.

Penn State Health St. Joseph security and law enforcement officers not participating in the drill are providing security for the event participants and are positioned throughout the facility to notify those who may be unaware that the drill is underway.

The drill is meant to address the preparedness of hospital staff to take the necessary actions as defined by hospital “Code Silver” policy to minimize the impact in the event of an actual active shooter. It also is designed to improve the coordination and effectiveness of responding law enforcement and emergency services agencies.

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