Evaluation of a full-scale active shooter exercise in a pediatric trauma center: Assessing hospital preparedness and response
Purpose: To improve the preparedness of healthcare workers to situations of armed violence through the use of trainings and a simulated active shooter exercise.
Methods: On June 7, 2014, a mass casualty active shooter exercise was conducted to improve hospital staff preparedness and response to an active shooter event. Prior to the exercise, all participants were screened and received one-hour training on what to do in an active shooter incident. The exercise was evaluated using both quantitative and qualitative feedback from volunteer participants and observers.
Results: Prior to the exercise, 94% of participants indicated they were at risk of being involved in an active shooter incident in their hospital workplace. Eighty-five percent of participants reported they experienced real fear and anxiety during the realistic six minute long exercise. After the drill, all participants (100%) agreed that the exercise enhanced their ability to respond to an active shooter incident and allowed them to practice their response to an armed violence threat.
Conclusions: Providing training to and simulating an active shooter event with healthcare workers can increase awareness and preparedness for an active shooter incident. Realistic exercises, such as this, are important to assess needs of and prepare hospital staff. Conducting and evaluating simulated active shooter incidents and training can provide invaluable insights into increasing healthcare worker preparedness.
Learning Areas:Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Other professions or practice related to public health
List 2 ways to improve healthcare worker preparedness for an active shooter situation. Identify what percent of healthcare workers felt they were at risk of being involved in an active shooter incident in their hospital workplace. Describe reasons in which an active shooter exercise can improve healthcare workers’ preparedness for the threat of armed violence.
Keyword(s): Emergency Preparedness, Violence & Injury Prevention
Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the Trauma Program Research Associate at Childrenâs Hospital Los Angeles, where the active shooter exercise was conducted. I was involved in planning the drill and was responsible for organizing and leading the evaluation process. I work under the Trauma Program Medical Director and Trauma Surge Coordinator on research projects related to disaster preparedness and acute trauma care.
Any relevant financial relationships? No
I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.