Summer training prepared Aspirus Hospital staff for cemetery shooting

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WAUSAU, Wis (WSAW) -- As the community continues to respond to the shootings that took place last week at the Pine Grove Cemetery, Aspirus Hospital says they were well prepared to handle the incident thanks to a recent summer training.

Although it is impossible to be fully prepared for active shooter situation, staff say having a plan of action in place ensured safety and saved more lives.

“We first received word through the Emergency Room that we were expecting a couple of gunshot victims, so my staff responded to the call and tried to get more information,” explained James Sagan who is the Manager of Security for the Wausau Aspirus Hospital.

Staff say when the victims first arrived to the hospital, security placed the entire location on an external lock down for roughly 20 minutes. This means all entrances to the hospital were closed from the general public and the doors were locked.

Department heads then gathered in an emergency command room to evaluate the situation. Hospital security officers were placed at designated locations throughout the property to ensure that there are no active threats to the survivors. The lock down wasn't lifted until local law enforcement communicated with the hospital that the suspected shooter was arrested.

Over the summer multiple first responders throughout Marathon County participated in a Hazemat training that prepared them for this day.

“When we are developing our emergency operations plan, we need to make sure that we remember these disasters don’t happen to the government,” said Phil Rentmesster who is the Emergency Management Director for Marathon County. “These situations happen to the municipalities.”

The lock down was similar to the same procedure that schools go through when there is a threat to safety.

“Working with the different outside community partners help us bring everything together,” said Ed Radtke, Director of Emergency Management for Aspirus. “It’s not the first time we have worked together, we are able to communicate better in the event of an emergency or a disaster.”