Hospital shootings are rare. Very few hospitals ever have active shooter situations, and doctors and nurses are very rarely the targets. However, with the deadly mass shootings like the 2016 Orlando nightclub shooting in mind, many hospitals and their staff are becoming wary of mass shootings, and developing plans to deal with them in case they should occur.
So while an active shooter situation is unlikely to develop at a hospital, it’s good to have a basic understanding of what to do if the worst does happen. We’ve put together some basic tips for dealing with an active shooter situation for nurses – how to keep yourself and the rest of your staff and patients safe, and avoid danger if a shooting does occur.
- Have An Emergency Evacuation Plan
Having a response plan in case of an active shooter situation is crucial. Generally, these evacuation plans are adapted from other emergency plans that are used in case of fire, earthquakes, or other natural disasters.
An optimal emergency evacuation plan allows for easy evacuation of most personnel and patients, and uses multiple exits – this is crucial for a lone shooter situation, as the shooter will not be able to react to and cover all exits.
Understand your hospital’s emergency evacuation plan, and be ready to carry it out at a moment’s notice. In an active shooter situation, the vast majority of personnel and patients will be able to evacuate safely.
- Establish Clear Communication
If you are the first one to notice a shooter situation occurring, or are unsure if law enforcement has been contacted, it’s your duty to inform law enforcement so that proper response measures can be taken. Call 911 and report the situation.
After you have informed authorities, you should begin distributing the facts to any unaware staff members and patients clearly and calmly. It is important that you stay calm – when an active shooter situation occurs, it is essential that you keep a clear head and respond to the situation rationally.
After all staff and patients are informed, you must prioritize your own safety and follow your emergency evacuation procedures.