Hamilton Farmers Market on the afternoon of September 17, 2022 at 2:24pm. Credit: Joey Coleman

Vendors in the Hamilton Farmers Market were ordered to “run” from the facility on Monday, September 18, due to a “active situation” announced on the public address system shared by the Market with the Hamilton Public Library.

The Hamilton Public Library was conducting an Active Shooter drill for staff at the Central Library and accidentally broadcast their practice drill into the Market.

The Market is located in the basement of the 55 York Boulevard shared facility.

The announcements instructing people to “hide” “run” and that the building had been “compromised” did not state was a drill.

The Market is closed to the public on Mondays. Some vendors work on Mondays, including prepared food vendors who take online app orders.

Vendors who spoke to TPR state they were scared.

In an email to the City, a vendor wrote, the 9:21 a.m. PA announcement stated “Attention, attention, there is an active situation in the building. We advise you to run. I repeat, run!”

“The drill lasted over an hour and we thought it he situation was real. This caused extreme panic, stress and fear for our lives,” they wrote in the email.

On Friday, September 22, Market Manager Bill Slowka wrote vendors:

On the morning of Monday September 18th, the Hamilton Public Library conducted an active shooter training session for the benefit of their Staff on a non-Market day. The HFM staff was not part of the planning for this exercise and was not included in its protocol rollout to HPL staff. Unfortunately, the simulated security announcement broadcasted over the dual PA system, which includes the Market, did not identify the exercise as a “drill” and as a result, created confusion and angst for any stallholder(s) present in the Market at that time. Upon further investigation, I’ve since received confirmation that an email was sent outside Market hours in advance notifying me of the scheduled training session which was missed. For that, I deeply apologize to any stallholder adversely affected by my oversight. Moving forward, immediate steps are now being taken in consultation with the HPL and the City of Hamilton’s Corporate Security team to create a heightened level of communication protocols, thereby ensuring that all stakeholders are aware in advance of all training exercises that have the potential to impact the Market in the future. Once completed, the new communication protocols will be shared with the vendor community.

The Market’s Board of Directors will meet on October 2. Vendors are demanding the Board act on this matter.

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v. 1.0.0
First Published: September 29, 2023
Last edited: September 29, 2023
Author: Joey Coleman
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