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Hospital Response to the Active Shooter/Active Assailant

Active shooter events have increased 600% in the United States since 2009 and the lethality of these events has increased more than 150%. Hospitals have not been immune to shooting events, with an average of one hospital shooting event each month in the United States. Just in the last decade, more than 154 hospital shootings occurred, leaving 225 dead or seriously injured. Hospital workplace violence has reached endemic proportions, with more than half a million healthcare providers assaulted each year in the United States.


The number one motive for hospital shootings is a grudge against hospital staff. Research at the University of Miami found that 5% of patients in the study stated they would like to kill their primary healthcare provider. Other motives for hospital shootings include disgruntled employees, prisoner escapes, suicide, gang violence, euthanizing ill relatives, and spillover violence from the community.


Retrospective reviews of multiple hospital active shooter events and drills have found numerous flaws with active shooter response. Some of these flaws include staff unaware of lockdown procedures, staff never hearing lockdown warnings, staff ignoring lockdown warnings, staff not knowing what to do with patients, and staff unaware of escape options. Hospital police and security fail to realize how manpower intensive hospital active shooter events will be, and fail to understand how to effectively search and clear a hospital from a perpetrator. Hospital administrators must also understand the legal liability of failing to effectively plan and prepare for these types of events.


This presentation will cover the history of hospital active shooter events, hospital workplace violence statistics, perpetrator motives, methods to combat hospital active shooters, and attack actions if an event occurs. This presentation will also look at the why “Run, Hide, Fight” often does not work in healthcare settings. The presenter will also discuss the top six myths in active shooter response, and some of the many conflicts and confusions with active shooter policies and procedures.


This presentation will also look at multiple published scholastic research articles on the status of safety and security in hospitals. Multiple studies have found that hospital staff do not know how to report potentially violent behavior, hospitals lack internal threat management teams to address potentially violent employees, hospital active shooter often yields very little behavior change, the dangers of using code words for emergencies, and staff’s inability to lockdown their work areas.


This presentation will review several hospital active shooter events and review lessons learned. Last, this presentation will discuss lessons learned from receiving hospitals at active shooter events. Sunrise Hospital, a Level II trauma center in Las Vegas, received 212 gunshot wound patients in less than 30 minutes. Hospitals need to understand that they will receive an overwhelming number of gunshot patients who will typically self-transport.

Threat Suppression staff are recognized international experts in active shooter response. Our staff have conducted more than 25,000 hours of research on active shooters. One of our staff members published the world's only doctoral dissertation on active shooter, with a focus on response to these events. The Department of Homeland Security, Department of Justice, Department of Defense, and Department of Education all recognize Threat Suppression as an international leader in active shooter training. Our staff have provided active shooter training for major hospitals, the Emergency Nurses Association, the American College of Emergency Physicians, and the American Association of Critical Care Nurses.

This class is for active public safety, military law enforcement, hospital administrators, hospital security, and government officials only. This class is not available to the general public. If you would like to download a copy of the course description, please click the PDF below. This course can be presented live or as a webinar.


If you would like more information on booking this course, please email, or call 1-800-231-9106.


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