ST. CLOUD - With the fatal shooting of Deputy Steven Sandberg at St. Cloud Hospital last year still fresh in mind, CentraCare/hospital officials and law enforcement participated in a lockdown drill at CentraCare Health Plaza on Tuesday.

The drill gave staff, security and police a chance to observe a lockdown of a health care facility. St. Cloud Police Commander James Steve led a group during the drill. He says communication and a quick response time to an active shooter situation is key.

Dan DeBaun, WJON

"Security here is not armed, so we really need the quick armed response to come and take care of it."

In a lockdown situation after law enforcement is called: staff communicate to visitors, close and lock doors, and escort patients to safe areas. Patient rooms are acceptable safe areas. As staff make their way to a safe location, they would be alerting each other, patients and visitors of the situation and desired actions that should be taken.

Rachel Mockros is with CentraCare emergency preparedness, she says they have two lockdown drills a year to prepare staff and administration.

"The average time that this event begins and ends is about 8 minutes, so you need to respond within seconds. We do want our staff to feel comfortable to responding to the situation, as if they were going to give CPR to a patient."

In an actual lockdown, staff and patients would find the closest safe room to hide in and would lock the door. Police would respond and would unlock each door individually whenever the situation was resolved.

"What we're trying to do is slow them down. That's why we go into lockdown, that's why we run to find someplace to lock down," Steve says.

The fatal shooting of Deputy Steven Sandberg last year at St. Cloud Hospital is an unfortunate reminder to staff and police of the importance of lockdown procedures. Mockros says a new door locking system is being installed in their buildings within the next fiscal year, similar to an emergency system already in place at St. Cloud Hospital.

"It would be one button that is pushed by our dispatchers, they press that button and all doors would be locked."