Active Shooter Training in the Sleep Lab
With all the shootings and violence in our world, it was inevitable that hospitals had to begin offering active shooter training to their staff. We now have not only a code for violent or aggressive behavior in the hospital—sometimes known as a code grey (code grey, stay away)—but now we have a special code for someone brandishing a weapon, sometimes known as code silver.
I first sought out active shooter training for my staff a few years ago after they requested it due to more frequent shootings reported in the news. I requested this training from our security services staff, who were still getting materials together for such training to be rolled out to the entire hospital system.
We had the training in our conference room and staff was addressed by our security services staff person and warned that the video they were going to see would be disturbing. We watched the video first which was very realistic. (Here is the video we watched. Be cautious, though. Some might find this disturbing.) After the video, the security staff talked about the importance of the three steps to react to an active shooter situation: Run, hide, fight.
Run: If you hear shooting and are able to get away, then run.
Hide: If you are trapped and don’t have an easy way out, then hide in a room or closet with the lights out, blinds closed, door locked if you can and SILENCE YOUR PHONE. Call 911 quietly with your location and any other information you can share.
Fight: This is the last resort if your life is in danger and the shooter is coming for you. Use any blunt instrument to fight them off and try to get away.
Once the emergency personnel arrive and it is deemed safe, then evacuate with your hands up so the police know you are disarmed and are not the shooter. Police will be focused on the situation, so do not expect them to be warm and fuzzy.
After we discussed run, hide and fight, security staff talked about us thinking about how we would react within our area: What are the closest exits, and are there more than one way to get out? Where would we go to hide? What types of items can be made into weapons to fight back?
We also talked about installing a panic button that would alert campus police to a threat. Security services surveyed our areas to assess the level of risk. Panic buttons were installed in the front office since the office doors are open, and anyone can just walk in. Our sleep lab is behind locked double doors and has a doorbell and video camera so we can screen visitors and patients prior to them being let in.
You would think that a sleep center office or a lab would be benign with regards to angry patients. You never know if there is a personal situation going on with the family. A disgruntled employee, or a random attacker might show up. It is always better to be prepared.
If your sleep lab is free-standing, you can lead the active shooter training, or if the lab is part of a hospital system, check with your security department to request an assessment and training. We are glad we did.