“My Boss Wants to do a Full-Scale Active Shooter Exercise”
“Does he really want us running around your hospital with our weapons out?
Because that’s what ‘full-scale, active shooter’ means.”
- Exercises aren’t done because “the CEO wants” but because prior incidents’ after-action reports (AARs), prior exercise improvement plans (IPs), compliance audits, grant guidance, the Hazard Vulnerability Assessment (HVA), and/or a Multi-Year Training and Exercise Plan (MYTEP) have recommended a particular exercise. Scenarios are NOT the foundation for an exercise. We test capabilities, not scenarios.
- Scenarios are just enough fiction to keep the exercise players focused in a particular direction. It doesn’t matter whether the bad event is a tornado, fire, or violent actor; medical staff need to be prepared to decide whether to shelter in place with patients, evacuate the patients, or, God forbid, abandon their patients and flee for their lives.
- We don’t launch into full-scale exercises, involving multiple agencies who don’t normally work together, with a plan that has just been published. After sufficient training, we might start with a series of “run-hide-fight” drills in different departments of the hospital. A table-top exercise can work out communications and interface glitches between agencies. A functional exercise, conducted in real-time but without actors and victims, would be the next event. Finally, after all the conflicts have been resolved, and people know their roles, the plan can be tested with a full-scale exercise.
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