An active shooter is defined as an individual who is actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in the hospital or on the hospital campus. In most cases active shooters use a firearm(s) and display no pattern or method for selection of their victims. In some cases active shooters use other weapons and/or improvised explosive devices to cause additional victims and act as an impediment to police and emergency responders.
Active shooter events in a healthcare setting present unique challenges: a potentially large vulnerable patient population, hazardous materials (including infectious disease), locked units, special challenges (such as weapons and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) machines (these machines contain large magnets which can cause issues with firearms, or remove it from the hands of law enforcement), as well as caregivers who can respond to treat victims. There is no single method to respond to an incident, but prior planning will allow you and your staff to choose the best option during an active shooter situation, with the goal of maximizing lives saved. For hospitals and healthcare care systems, the HSCC has provided the updated guidance document “2017 Active Shooter Planning and Response in a Healthcare Setting.”
HASC developed the Security and Safety Active Shooter Drill Tool Kit to create greater awareness of workplace violence among hospitals and other health care facilities, and to provide the tools necessary for each facility to develop a plan that leads to a safer, more prepared environment.
Based on an active shooter drill held at LAC + USC Medical Center in March 2013, the materials feature templates, checklists, industry guidelines, scenarios, safety rules, participant releases and staffing suggestions for planning a similar event. This video also provides a firsthand account of the HASC drill with scenes from the simulated attack in clinical and office settings.
This instructive video demonstrates possible actions to take if confronted with an active shooter scenario. The video reviews the choices of evacuating, hiding, or, as an option of last resort, challenging the shooter. The video also shows how to assist authorities once law enforcement enters the scene.
Terrorist attacks have a profound emotional and physical effect on a community. While preventing these attacks would be preferred, agencies must work swiftly and cohesively to improve patient outcome when an attack does occur. Read full discussion paper.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently announced the release of a new Blast Injury mobile application to assist in the response and clinical management of injuries resulting from terrorist bombings and other mass casualty explosive events. The application provides clear, concise, up-to-date medical and healthcare systems information to assist healthcare providers and public health professionals in the preparation, response, and management of injuries resulting from terrorist bombing events.
CHA commends the hospitals that received and treated patients from the active shooter tragedy that occurred in San Bernardino County this week, and is proud of the hospitals and health systems that have planned and trained with law enforcement agencies, local emergency medical services and fire agencies in preparing for and responding to such incidents. Additionally, CHA encourages all hospitals to utilize the multitude of resources that are available on the CHA emergency preparedness website. In addition to the existing CHA planning and training for active shooter resources and links, UCSF Medical Center has recently shared its training video and template table top exercise to assist other hospitals.
In the wake of the Newtown, Connecticut shooting, the CHA Hospital Preparedness Program (CHA-HPP) released its most recently developed tool “Hospital Code Silver Activation – Active Shooter Planning Checklist”. The checklist is provided to support hospital efforts in reviewing and developing active shooter response plans.
This resource was initially developed to support the CHA-HPP course “Planning and Training for Active Shooter Events”.
The tool was developed with key advisements from agencies such as FEMA, Department of Homeland Security and the International Association for Healthcare Security and Safety.
The California Hospital Association’s Hospital Preparedness Program has developed a course for the active shooter incident. A course by and for hospitals which helps participants review organizational aspects of planning and training to increase survivability of patients, visitors and staff in an active shooter event.
The City of Houston, Texas, has produced a six-minute, graphic video on what to do when encountering an active shooter. The video is entitled “Run-Hide-Fight: Surviving an Active Shooter Event” and was produced with a $200,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
This 90-minute webinar can help private and public sector personnel understand the importance of developing an emergency response plan and the need to train employees on how to respond if confronted with an active shooter.
The presentation describes the three types of active shooters–workplace/school, criminal, and ideological–and how their planning cycles and behaviors differ.
All employees can help prevent and prepare for potential active shooter situations. This course provides guidance to individuals, including managers and employees, so that they can prepare to respond to an active shooter situation.
This course was written for non-law enforcement personnel. The material may provide law enforcement officers information on recommended actions for non-law enforcement employees to take should they be confronted with an active shooter situation. Upon completing this course, the participant will be able to:
Describe actions to take when confronted with an active shooter and responding law enforcement officials.
This report was published by the Annals of Emergency Medicine (Volume 60, Issue 6, December 2012, Pages 790–798.e1) and was presented, in part, at the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine annual meeting, May 2012, Chicago, IL.
July 2012 – For emergency managers, events such as these are mass casualty events. There will be a regional response from all first responders, police and emergency medical technicians. Hospitals will need to gear up to receive victims, the dispatching of patients to multiple hospitals will need to be orchestrated by a Hospital Control entity. In this case the event happened late at night. Command staff are not present and it is important that those on duty have the training and knowledge to respond to a larger event and initiate proper command and control procedures.
This sample plan is provided courtesy of Victor Valley Global Medical Center. The document outlines an emergency response plan to alert hospital staff that an active shooter appears to be actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in the hospital or on the campus.