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Lessons Learned From an Active Shooter Full-Scale Functional Exercise In a Newly Constructed Emergency Department

  • Bryan Wexler (a1) (a2) (a3) and Avram Flamm (a1)
Abstract
Objective

The primary objective of this exercise was to conduct a full-scale functional exercise utilizing an active-shooter-based scenario to test and evaluate hospital response and coordination with local law enforcement.

Methods

A multidisciplinary group, including community partners, formulated objectives in accordance with the Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program and defined a scenario. A date to conduct the exercise was chosen on the basis of the expected completion of a large section of the new emergency department but prior to its opening for patient care.

Results

The exercise highlighted several strengths, but more importantly, illuminated areas for improvement that might otherwise have been missed in tabletop exercises and smaller-scale drills. Educational opportunities to improve functional skills and protocol were recognized.

Conclusion

Conducting a full-scale functional exercise of an active shooter in a newly constructed emergency department prior to opening for patient care provided valuable insight into areas for improvement while minimizing the impact such an exercise can have on daily operations. Should a similar opportunity arise as a result of new facilities being developed or renovations and maintenance requiring temporary closure, we advise hospitals to consider planning an exercise in the area prior to reopening for patient care. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2017;11:522–525)

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Copyright
Corresponding author
Correspondence and reprint requests to Bryan Wexler, MD, Department of Emergency Medicine, WellSpan, York Hospital, 1001 South George Street, York, PA (e-mail: bwexler@wellspan.org).
References
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1. Incorporating Active Shooter Planning into Health Care Facility Emergency Operations Plans. US Department of Health and Human Services. http://www.phe.gov/preparedness/planning/Documents/active-shooter-planning-eop2014.pdf. Published 2014. Accessed August 1, 2016.
2. US Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation. A study of active shooter incidents in the United States between 2000 and 2013. https://www.fbi.gov/file-repository/active-shooter-study-2000-2013-1-1.pdf/view. Accessed August 1, 2016.
3. Active shooter planning and response in a healthcare setting. Healthcare and Public Health Sector Coordinating Council, Federal Bureau of Investigation. https://www.fbi.gov/filerepository/active_shooter_planning_and_response_in_a_healthcare_setting_2 015.pdf/view. Published April 2015. Accessed August 1, 2016.
4. Kelen, GD, Catlett, CL, Kubit, JG, et al. Hospital-based shootings in the United States: 2000 to 2011. Ann Emerg Med. 2012;60:790-798.
5. Norris, WA, Wollert, TN. Stress and Decision Making. Federal Law Enforcement Training Center. https://www.fletc.gov/sites/default/files/imported_files/reference/research-papers/Stress-and-Decision-Making-04-06-12--Approved---Pulic-Release--508-Accessible.pdf. Published July 11, 2011. Accessed August 1, 2016.
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Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness
  • ISSN: 1935-7893
  • EISSN: 1938-744X
  • URL: /core/journals/disaster-medicine-and-public-health-preparedness
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