CLARKSBURG, W.Va. (WBOY) — The U.S. Department of Energy National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) recently tested its Morgantown research campus’s preparedness in the event of a violent emergency.
Morgantown police and their Special Response Team worked their way through a simulated workplace shooting as NETL staff were told to shelter in place — complete with a mock suspect, “wounded” individuals and hostages — with the hope of preparing all involved in the event of a real workplace shooting, according to a NETL release.
“NETL shelter-in-place procedures are protective actions implemented to keep employees safe from an imminent hazard,” Gerald “Jerry” Simkonis, NETL’s Emergency Response Program manager, said. “Shelter-in-place training is mandatory for all NETL staff and something we emphasize not only during National Preparedness Month (which is observed in September) but other times of the year as well.”
To ensure realism, fake wounds were placed on NETL staff playing victims.
“In an actual event, those near a workplace shooting may panic, disregard the shelter-in-place order and flee or freeze, placing themselves in greater danger. A realistic training exercise reduces the likelihood of that occurring in an actual incident,” the release said.
Police worked with NETL incident commanders and other members of the Lab’s emergency response organization during the exercise, learning to communicate, plan and enact action together.
“NETL did an excellent job providing us with the information we needed,” Morgantown police Sgt. Rob Balderson said.
The Morgantown Chief of Police, Eric Powell, said the exercise received positive feedback from officers.