“Active Shooter”: Are Healthcare Facilities Prepared? (Part 2 of 2)

Aug 08, 2023 at 09:15 am by steve

By Aydrian Miles and Tonta Draper


Part One Summary

In part one, we discussed the current public health crisis of gun violence and active shooter events, particularly in our healthcare facilities and the risk factors to medical professionals. Many medical professionals working in healthcare have a false sense of security. Healthcare professionals are often distracted from potential dangers visitors and staff many pose because they are busy caring for patients.  Warning signs may or may not always be visible. There is no one single effective method in stopping an active shooter event from occurring but preventative measures can make it more difficult for an event to transpire. 

Healthcare facilities have begun developing general workplace violence online and in-person training programs for staff. More emphasizes should be placed on addressing the need for in-depth personalized employee training and planning. This decision could be as important as life or death. Is there a threat assessment plan in place? Have medical professionals been trained to the point of understand or are they just click through the annual online training to get finished? Are healthcare organizations truly putting medical professionals through the rigor for the safety of our patients, employees, and visitors? More planning, detection, and prevention is the key in decreasing incidences of active shooter events in our healthcare facilities.

Planning, Detection, Prevention

Getting healthcare professionals to think in a survival mindset outside of patient care can be somewhat difficult but could increase the probability of saving lives. What is a Threat Assessment Plan (TAP)? TAPs are prevention, mitigation, and response plans developed to counter perceived threats of violence in the workplace. TAPs allow the organization to better understand the contextual behaviors of concern and dynamics from many perspectives. TAPs should be a part of an organization’s written safety plan. In healthcare facilities your TAP should be part of the Emergency Operations Plan (EOP). EOPs will have the blueprint of your facility. EOPs will show the preferred methods for reporting active shooter incidents, evacuation procedure, emergency escape procedures, and route assignments (floor plans, safe areas). Lockdown procedures for individual units and locations and other campus buildings integration with the facility Emergency Operations Plan and Incident Command System Information incorporating local law enforcement agencies. Annual staff drill exercises and role assignments as well as emergency rally points are equally important. Administrative controls can change the way work is done by giving healthcare professionals more information, providing relevant procedures and training. Some examples of administrative controls are implementing stringent employee background checks that include firearm history, card access keys, and psychological exams when deemed necessary. Detection of insider threats are equally important to reduce, employee on employee violence. Threat recognition training for all employees increases the opportunity for early detection of threats. Threat recognition training should include body language or nonverbal communication and guidance for reporting perceived threats. Healthcare professionals should be trained to recognize threats and report them appropriately. Well researched policies should be the first step in planning. Preventative measures can be as simple as conducting annual safety walking tours for staff, facility security teams, and local law enforcement agencies. These programs should be developed in an organized consistent manner. Periodical staff refresher training is vital to ongoing safety strategies. Just remember, planning is detection and detection is prevention.  Stay safety ready!

Links to Active Shooter resources:


Aydrian Miles is the CEO of MSCLS MT (AMT) CM and Tonta Draper is President at Global Safety Professionals LLC.  If you are intrested in services visit GSP at www.globalsafetypros.com or Email questions to info@globalsafetypros.com


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March 2024

Mar 20, 2024 at 11:19 am by kbarrettalley

Your March 2024 Issue of Birmingham Medical News is Here!