Hostage-taking in the hospital: Cobra practices the emergency


Emergencies were practiced in day surgery.
©Beate Rhomberg

An exchange of fire, an armed person, a hostage situation – that is the exercise scenario in the city hospital. The police are in action with their Libelle helicopter, the SIG Vorarlberg and the Cobra task force.

Such a real exercise opportunity in the hospital environment has many advantages for the emergency services, such as the precise analysis of safety-related procedures and processes. The aim of the exercise was, among other things, to familiarize oneself with the conditions of the building in the event of an emergency. “Good cooperation in an emergency gives a feeling of security on both sides,” emphasizes the mayor and safety officer Dipl.-Vw. Andrea Kaufman.

course of the exercise

The exercise begins with a fictitious emergency call from the porter’s lodge. “Shots were fired in the day surgery.” Minutes later, the police arrive. The alleged perpetrator has holed up in a room on the day surgery with a patient as a hostage. Shortly thereafter, the SIG Vorarlberg, the Cobra task force and the police helicopter Libelle arrive. Sighting and reconnaissance with technical exploration and the evacuation of other patients and staff are practiced. “Even if a kidnapping in our hospital will hopefully remain a fiction forever: the communication and processes in the event of a crisis, both in-house and with the partner organizations, have to be trained and improved again and again,” emphasizes senior physician in anesthesia and intensive care medicine and civil protection officer Dr. Adolph Zoll.

Emergency access via the facade

The Cobra task force, which lands by helicopter on the landing area on the roof of the hospital, abseils down the facade to the day surgery on the first floor. Numerous interested parties were able to get an idea of ​​the operation for themselves in the secure outdoor area. During the exercise, observers documented the course of the exercise and recorded the findings for emergencies. Of course, the patients and employees were informed about the exercise. Normal operation was not restricted at any time. “We were able to make our day surgery available to the Cobra task force so that patient treatment was not affected,” explained senior physician in anesthesia and intensive care medicine and civil protection officer Dr. Adolph Zoll.

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