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DHS Releases Resource on Hospital Active Shooter Incidents

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released a new resource to help hospitals prepare for and respond to active shooter incidents.

The resource notes that hospitals are open environments with few areas where access is restricted, which can place them at risk of incidents occurring without warning.

DHS lists warning signs of which staff and others in the hospital should be aware, including:

  • individuals presenting increasingly erratic, unsafe, or aggressive behavior;
  • individuals threatening harm against themselves or others;
  • changes in performance at work by a staff member;
  • appearing out of place in staff-only restricted access locations; and
  • observable grievances and statements of retribution.

The resource also includes recommendations for staff in the event of an active shooter incident, using the “run, hide, fight” strategy.

Finally, the guidance reviews mitigation strategies and protective measures, including physical security and operational changes designed to reduce risk.

Contact Senior Director of Policy Erin O’Malley at or 202.585.0127 with questions.


About the Author

Rachel Schwartz is a former policy associate at America's Essential Hospitals.

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