Active Shooter Security Planning for Hospitals

Hospital shootings occur all too often. A study done by Brown University showed a steady increase from less than 5 in the year 2000 to 20 hospital shootings in 2015. The U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics teaming with researchers from Brown and Johns Hopkins Universities studied 154 hospital-related shootings between 2000 and 2011. The insights of these studies can help hospitals prepare and protect their staff and patients.

Hospital Shooting Statistics

Of the 154 gun violence incidents in hospitals from 2000-2011, 59% took place inside the hospital, including 29% in the emergency department (ED) and 19% in hospital rooms. That means that in more than half the incidents, a gun got inside the hospital, undetected. The remainder took place on the grounds, with 23% in the parking lot. 

The motives vary, but most shooters have strong and intentional motives: most have a grudge (27%), such as the man who killed his late mother’s doctor in Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital in 2015; other shootings are to “euthanize” a relative (14%), commit suicide (21%), or escape from custody (4%). 

While 45% of the victims are the shooters themselves (which may include suicide, suicide after shooting others, or being shot by first responders), hospital employees compose 20% of the victims. 

Shooters in the ED are often younger and in custody and do not have a personal grudge. In 23% of ED shootings, the shooter has taken the gun of the security officer. Fortunately, given the location, case fatalities are significantly lower in the ED (19%) than in other areas of the hospital (73%). 

Hospital Preparation and Precaution Against Shooters

What do these statistics tell us about hospital security? One of the most important lessons we learn is the necessity of a gun detection system. If 59% of hospital shootings occur inside the hospital, and in most of those cases, no one knew the perpetrator had a gun, many of those incidents may have been prevented with a state-of-the-art gun detection system such a ZeroEyes. 

Hospitals should develop security protocols that can prevent guns from entering the facility. Security cameras installed strategically inside and outside the premises, especially in the ED, entrance areas, and parking lots, will help your on-site security keep an eye on the most vulnerable areas. ZeroEyes installs on your security camera system and will immediately send warnings to your on-site security, key staff members, and first responders as soon as a gun is detected, even if your own security personnel step away from the camera feed. ZeroEyes is always watching for visible guns and ready to send warnings, 24/7. The system can then track the gun if the shooter moves through the facility, giving response teams the necessary information they need to find and neutralize the threat. 

There are many programs, sponsored by government bureaus and hospital associations, which provide procedures and protocols for the unique needs of hospitals. Implement emergency preparedness plans for locking down various floors, units, sensitive equipment, or controlled substances. Train staff on evacuation procedures, patient protection, and safe locations in the event of a shooting. In addition to these important protocols, give your staff and your patients the necessary protection of ZeroEyes technology, backed by former military who bring their expertise to keeping your people safe from gun violence.

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