Safety

An El Paso hospital trained for a mass shooting: Then they got the real thing

Healthcare Life Safety Compliance, October 1, 2019

This is an excerpt from a member only article. To read the article in its entirety, please login or subscribe to Healthcare Life Safety Compliance.

by John Palmer

As it turns out, training works when a hospital conducts active shooter drills.

There’s been a lot of talk in emergency preparation circles about the need for hospitals to establish a plan of action in the event of an active shooter incident in the facility. For several years, regulatory agencies including CMS, The Joint Commission, and NFPA have been working on establishing standards—albeit with vague, nonspecific instructions—that would help healthcare facilities train better through drills and other safeguards.

After a gunman open fired at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, on August 5, the emergency department at Del Sol Medical Center—about three miles away—was immediately flooded with patients. The shooting left 22 dead and 26 injured, and was the culmination of two mass shootings in the U.S. in a 24-hour period. A day earlier, another gunman opened fire in a nightclub district of Dayton, Ohio, killing nine and injuring 17 others.

Like several other hospitals that have faced the same scenarios in recent years—facilities in Orlando, Aurora, and Las Vegas, to name a few—the hospital staff responded as best they could in the face of unimaginable stress to save lives, maintain order, and keep their own facility safe. Del Sol Medical Center officials said they were able to respond so well to the shooting because the hospital had recently run an active shooter drill—one that almost exactly mimicked the real scenario they faced on August 5.

This is an excerpt from a member only article. To read the article in its entirety, please login or subscribe to Healthcare Life Safety Compliance.

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