CullmanTimes.com - Cullman, Alabama

April 9, 2013

Prepared for trouble


The Cullman Times

CULLMAN — A bomb threat was far from anybody’s mind, but a typically calm Sunday evening in Cullman was transformed into a tense scene of emergency vehicles transporting patients from Cullman Regional Medical Center to other facilities.

Authorities descended on CRMC to speed the evacuation and begin the process of carefully searching the facilities for any sign of an explosive devise.

Thankfully, the hospital was declared clear and patients eventually returned to their rooms. Just after midnight, Cullman County Sheriff’s deputies apprehended a man who had escaped from the Marshall County jail in Arab. He is being questioned in connection with bomb threats at CRMC as well as two medical facilities in Marshall County. Investigators believe the man was trying to create a diversion so that he could attack a woman in the Holly Pond area. When captured, the man had in his possession a gas can, cigarette lighter and siphoning hose. He had already been charged in connection with a suspected arson in Cullman County.

Residents are coming to the realization that life can be turned upside down at any moment, in any community across the nation. After a week of horror in Boston and the tragic explosion at a chemical plant in Texas, few would think of drama unfolding here.

Nonetheless, some good points came out of Sunday’s scare. CRMC’s emergency plan was tested, and it worked. Local law enforcement and emergency responders reacted quickly and efficiently in removing patients and checking through the hospital. All of this done within a few hours and patients were on their way back to the hospital.

Planning and training cannot be stressed enough where public institutions and responders are concerned.

While Sunday was a troubling night for Cullman, the community can take  comfort in knowing that emergency responders were prepared to react with efficiency and care throughout the event.