Martinsville, IN – Active shooter incidents present unique challenges in a healthcare setting: staff may be faced with the decision to leave their patients; visitors and loved ones will likely be present; and what if a medical procedure is in progress?
Active shooter incidents can happen quickly and escalate unpredictably. The best way to prepare? Practice.
Practicing for an active shooter is just what the staff at Indiana University Health Morgan, in partnership with the Martinsville Police Department did on Tuesday, November 29, when IU Health Morgan ran an active shooter drill.
“We’ve been preparing for months,” explained Gina Blondell, RN, BSN, education team leader and emergency management and safety coordinator at IU Health Morgan. “Many staff members, along with leadership, participated in a training session. All staff had the opportunity to watch a training video, and they each received an informative handout.
“But there is nothing quite like putting all that information into practice,” she continued. “It’s easy to watch a video or read a handout, but the drill gave us a chance to actually practice how we would react in an active shooter situation. We all learned so much.”
Not only did IU Health Morgan get the chance to see how they would react to an active shooter; the Martinsville Police Department, Martinsville Fire Department and Morgan County EMA, Morgan County Health Department Division of Emergency Preparedness also used it as a training exercise for their men and women. To make the incident seem even more realistic, students from the Martinsville High School and Tabernacle Christian School also assisted with the drill by serving as patients and visitors.
When the active shooter drill began, an alert was sounded. Doors were locked. Staff hid under desks. Some even created barricades when they could. “Even staff who weren’t directly involved participated by locking doors or hiding,” said Blondell. “Just as with a true active shooter situation, we didn’t know exactly what was going to happen in the drill. It gave us all a chance to see how we would react in that situation.”
“This drill allowed IU Health Morgan staff as well as the police, fire and EMA personnel an opportunity to practice what we have been trained to do in an active shooter situation. Employees need to be prepared for the unknown, the what-ifs and use the run, hide, fight method that we teach,” explained Matt Long, Martinsville Chief of Police.
At the end of the drill, there was a debriefing where the group discussed what went right and what could have gone better. “You can never plan for an emergency event like a shooter. You can practice. You can be prepared to run, hide or fight.” Long said.
There will be several chances to improve on the drill as IU Health Morgan is planning to participate in more active shooter drills in 2017. They hope to give as many staff members as possible a chance to truly experience – and practice for – something they hope will never happen.
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Indiana University Health Morgan has provided leading care to Morgan County Indiana for more than 92 years. To learn more about IU Health Morgan, visit iuhealth.org/morgan or call 765.349.8441
As the only nationally recognized healthcare system in Indiana, Indiana University Health is dedicated to providing a unified standard of preeminent care. A unique partnership with Indiana University School of Medicine – one of the nation’s leading medical schools – and the depth of experience from the most complete network of highly skilled specialty and primary care physicians, gives IU Health unparalleled strength in delivering assurance to patients. Discover the strength at iuhealth.org.