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5 Must-Have Steps in Your Active Shooter Drill

Michael Wilson | Jun 22, 2017

Category: Healthcare

As active shooters in workplaces have become more and more common, it comes as no surprise that week 3 of the National Safety Month is focused on preparing for active shooters. ...

As active shooters in workplaces have become more and more common, it comes as no surprise that week 3 of the National Safety Month is focused on preparing for active shooters. While no one wants to believe an active shooter could come into his or her workplace, every healthcare facility still needs to create an active shooter drill in case of an emergency. Here, we’ll talk about five factors you should consider when preparing your workplace for an active shooter drill.

1. Learn How to Spot the Signs of a Troubled Employee

According to most experts, most people who go on shooting rampages do not simply “snap.” Instead, they display signs of anger or stress. Your employees should trust their instincts, rather than sweep their gut feelings under the rug. Teach them to look out for the warning signs of a potential active shooter. These disgruntled employees may display negative outbursts, have poor job performance, blame others for their failures, or complain about unfair treatment.  

2. Run, Hide, Fight

Simple, easy-to-remember phrases help employees remember what to do in emergency situations. In an active shooter drill, you should teach them the phrase: Run, hide, fight. The first step tells them they should flee the building. If leaving is impossible, then he or she should hide in an enclosed room with the door barricaded. If the shooter comes near, he or she should prepare to fight by searching for objects to use in self-defense.

3. Practice Reporting and Notifying

It’s important to run drills so your employees know what to do in case of a shooter but one step that often gets forgotten is practicing reporting. To make the situation as safe as possible, you need to consider how you’ll inform your staff, first responders, security personnel, and people entering your healthcare facility of the situation.

What kind of systems do you already have in place or what might you need to adopt in order to best inform others? Who should manage the reporting? How quickly should the reporting be completed?

4. Map Out a Route

In preparing your drill, you should map out your building to find the most efficient ways for your employees to exit. A healthcare facility typically has a complex design, so consider the best evacuation routes for multiple floors, internal rooms, and even bathrooms. Additionally, consider your lockdown procedures for all of your campus’ buildings, units, and offices – how will location affect the emergency plan?

5. Run a Drill with First Responders and Security

After you have prepared your drill and trained your employees, you want to practice the drill. By inviting law enforcement to your facility, they can offer input on your designated shelters and familiarize themselves with these locations in case a situation does occur. This practice also gives your staff an opportunity to walk through their designated evacuation proceedings and ask any questions.

In 2014, the Bureau of Labor Statistics Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries noted that active shooter incidents claimed the lives of 403 people in their places of business. Those numbers are expected to increase. The situation has become so dire that each healthcare facility needs to prepare and practice an active shooter drill. These drills are the best way to ensure employee, patient, and visitor safety in this type of emergency.

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