Healthcare facilities are faced with planning for emergencies of all kinds, ranging from security challenges, fires, tornadoes, floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, and pandemics of infectious diseases. Many of these emergencies occur with little to no warning, so it is critical to plan in advance to help ensure the safety, security, and welfare of patients and staff members.
A violent workplace situation is not something anyone wants to face, but nonetheless it's a scenario for which every hospital needs to prepare. A new U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) guide is helping healthcare facilities become better prepared to prevent and respond to active shooters in the workplace. The HHS guide is titled "Incorporating Active Shooter Incident Planning into Health Care Facility Emergency Operations Plans."
The report was created by staff from HHS in collaboration with staff from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
Healthcare professionals may be faced with decisions about the safety of patients and visitors in their care who may not be able to evacuate due to age, injury, illness, disability, or an ongoing medical procedure. There is no single answer for what to do, but a survival mindset and open and honest discussion can help increase the odds of survival.
Training focuses on the easy-to-remember mantra of “Run, Hide, Fight.” These options should be viewed on a continuum. Everyone should be trained first to run away from the shooter, if possible, encouraging others to follow. If that is not possible, they should seek a secure place to hide and deny the shooter access. As a last resort, each person must consider whether he or she can fight to survive, incapacitate the shooter, and protect others from harm.
Of course, the ideal situation is to prevent an active shooter incident in the first place. The guidelines also discuss ways to strengthen your facility’s security planning and prevention efforts with regard to active shooters.
You can read and download the entire guide here: http://www.phe.gov/Preparedness/planning/Documents/active-shooter-planning-eop2014.pdf