Does Your Hospital Have a Code Silver Plan?

June 7, 2013

vanguard-code silver-active shooter copy

Are you worried every time you’ve heard a report in the media about an active shooter terrorizing a community that your hospital facility might be next?

A Johns Hopkins University study declared hospital-based shootings to be rare occurrences, and the Joint Commission nor OSHA have issued mandates for any changes in security nationwide. However, recent active shooter incidents in Newtown, Ct., and Aurora, Colo., may have you thinking differently and defensively.

And, you should be if you don’t have an emergency action plan.

This study also identified 154 hospital-related shooting events spanning 12 years. What’s more, 40 states experienced at least one shooting event at a hospital, and five hospitals endured more than one deadly event.

But much remains to be done:  A recent poll conducted by Homeland Security Today found 88 percent of respondents believe there hasn’t been enough training, education and preparation for an active shooter event.

In addition, a 2010 report from The Joint Commission about preventing violence in health care settings noted deficiencies in leadership, flawed assessments, failures in communication and the greater need for staff education and competency assessment processes.

Some facilities managers have already taken steps to prepare their hospitals ahead of a Code Silver event, an emergency code that alerts personnel to take appropriate steps in the event of a threat of serious violence (a hostage or active shooter situation).

The Department of Homeland Security has deemed the problem serious enough to issue a 20-page report that covers a wide range of guidance, from how to recognize the profile of an active shooter to training your staff to react calmly and decisively in the event that one occurs on your watch.

Some suggestions from The Joint Commission you can implement today to make your health care facility a safer place:

  • Enact extra safety precautions in the Emergency Room area, especially if your facility is in a high crime area.
  • Work hand-in-hand with security personnel to audit your hospital’s risks of violence. (Include the area surrounding your hospital in that audit.)
  • Urge staffers and hospital personnel to report any incidents of violence in the workplace.
  • Thoroughly investigate any threats or suspicious behaviors made by employees.

Get your staff to start thinking more proactively about Code Silver scenarios by sharing RUN. HIDE. FIGHT: Surviving an Active Shooter Event, a video produced by the City of Houston Mayor’s Office of Public Safety and Homeland Security.

For more information about improving security measures at your hospital, contact Vanguard Resources.