HHS Releases Active Shooter Guidance for healthcare facilities

Last week, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released guidance for healthcare facilities on how to prepare for an active shooter event. While regulatory compliance requirements for skilled nursing facility disaster planning have been lax, this guidance is meant to help these facilities prepare for a potential incident that may not be included in their existing disaster plans. The document, “Incorporating Active Shooter Incident Planning into Health Care Facility Emergency Operations Plans” provides recommendations for planning, what to do during an actual active shooter event, and provides information on what should take place post incident.

Active shooters, as defined in this document, are individuals who are engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a confined/populated area. This definition is restricted to these type of incidents, not other gun-related problems that are not ongoing. The guidance notes that training for staff is essential, but can be as simple as teaching them to “Run, Hide, Fight.” To get staff up to speed, an effective plan for an active shooter incident should be developed and include:

  • Proactive steps for employees to take to identify potential problem individuals
  • Preferred method for reporting active shooter incidents
  • Evacuation Policy & Procedure
  • Emergency escape routes/assignments
  • Lockdown procedures
  • Integration with facility commander/external incident commander
  • Information on local emergency response agencies

The document provides details and examples on getting these type of plans into motion. Read the full Active Shooter Incident document.

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