East Bay

‘Realistic' Active Shooter Drill Set For John Muir Hospital in Walnut Creek

There will be the sound of gunfire and emergency crews swarming a building in the East Bay, but it will be just a drill.

A slew of first responders will be converging next to John Muir Medical center in Walnut Creek. It's a vacant building scheduled to be torn down, and East Bay emergency responders thought it would be ideal for an exercise to look and sound like the real thing.

"It will be realistic, and we will have people moulage, made up to look like real injuries," said Ben Drew of John Muir Health.

Police from Walnut Creek and Concord along with firefighters from Contra Costa County will respond to an emergency scenario and coordinate a response to something they hope never happens.

"They may hear some loud noises," Drew said. "We will try to keep that to a minimum, but it is part of making it a realistic scenario. There will not be any impact patient care or appointments."

There will be drills morning and afternoon for the next four days. The first responders themselves won’t know the exact scenario until they arrive at the scene.

Some wonder if the realism might add a layer of stress for some hospital visitors, but others support the active shooter drill.

"We need to be prepared; it’s happening more and more," Susan Martinez said.

Abdullah Aazam of Concord added: "I guess in this day and age, you have to have some kind of plan for that sort of stuff, so yeah."

John Muir Health is providing volunteers to play the victims, and staff will practice its response to a mass casualty incident.

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