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Security had hospital locked down within minutes of report of gunman
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Northeast Georgia Medical Center security officer Dewayne Shows enters a security vehicle Thursday, Sept. 27, 2019, during a shift at the Gainesville hospital. Shows responded to the report of a gunman in the area of Northeast Georgia Medical Center’s Gainesville campus on Sept. 20, along with Gainesville Police. - photo by Scott Rogers

It all comes down to minutes.

Within two minutes, the doors were locked at the Northeast Georgia Physicians Group surgical associates building after a report of a man with a gun Friday, Sept. 20.

Within seven minutes, the emergency department was on lockdown, and security officers were at the entrances.

From just a push of a button, some doors can be remotely controlled and locked, Northeast Georgia Medical Center officials said following the shooting Friday. Others still require an officer or staff member to manually lock them.

“Adjustments to that process have been made regularly, gradually increasing the number of doors that can be locked remotely,” Northeast Georgia Health System Director of Security Jamey Moore said.

The health system uses a “critical event management system” known as Everbridge in addition to “overhead paging systems, email (and) computer screen alerts,” Moore said.

“The Everbridge system allows our leaders to send automated texts, phone calls and emails from anywhere, and to coordinate messages with other agencies who are also on Everbridge,” Moore wrote in an email.

First responders and other hospitals in the area also use Everbridge, Moore said.

Annual education and seminars are offered “for a variety of scenarios each year” so that the system can “evaluate all incidents for ways we might improve,” Moore said.

Armed and unarmed security officers make up the health system’s security services department across all four hospitals, and some off-duty officers from local law enforcement agencies also work in the emergency departments.

“Our community partners are our biggest asset and the relationship is seamless. We will continue to invest in building these relationships across our communities and educating our staff in the response to critical incidents,” Moore wrote in an email.

Hospital spokesman discusses lockdown

Northeast Georgia Medical Center spokesman Sean Couch discusses the lockdown steps the hospital took during a shooting that occurred in front of its campus on Jesse Jewell Parkway in Gainesville on Friday afternoon, Sept. 20, 2019.
By: Nate McCullough

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