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Home  >  Topics  >  Active Shooter

May 01, 2007
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Policies for shootings move into mainstream

Cincinnati Children's Hospital develops specific containment, communications plans

Corporate Security 

At 7:15 the morning after the tragic shootings at Virginia Tech, Ronald Morris, CPP, senior director of protective services at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, received an e-mail from a hospital SVP. Doubtless, the SVP suggested, hospital employees were wondering: How prepared was their own workplace for a madman with a gun?

Morris agreed and decided to work with the hospital's communications department on an intranet article reviewing the policies, procedures and technology in place for such a scenario. Elements of the Cincinnati Children's Hospital's "Code Silver" response (designed for a situation in which someone on the grounds has a weapon and/or takes a hostage) would be fundamentals in the response by other security leaders in other industries.

Plan For Lockdowns

First, the hospital has the ability to lock down entire buildings or parts of buildings from the outside, to prevent newcomers from entering while an armed individual is contained inside. Meanwhile, employees or patients inside could still escape.

Security can remotely lock down many of the hospital's doors that are hooked up to an electronic locking system. Others are listed in a document, in priority order of which officers should manually lock first.

Second, the security command center immediately would start checking feeds from every digital camera, in hopes of pinpointing the gunman's location so he could be monitored.

Third, the hospital would send an alert. The Code Silver plan, which is explained in copies of emergency procedures books that Morris' department has placed in each hospital department, includes a flow chart of notification calls: The security officer on duty would summon police and then ask the switchboard operator to notify the nursing manager, director of protective services, legal department, marketing and communications and the hospital administrator on duty.

Meanwhile, another bulletin describing the situation would be broadcast over multiple channels (the PA system, e-mail and most importantly an existing pager system to summon doctors and nurses) to certain personnel.

Give Employees Reaction Tips

Lastly, Morris hopes employees would remember and follow the instructions about how to act during a hostage situation, which are part of the emergency procedures. Those instructions include:

Avoid conversation with the gunman. Particularly, don't try to negotiate, don't warn the gunman that police are coming and don't taunt him.

Maintain a low profile. Don't try to be a hero.

Avoid hysteria. Don't cry or complain.

Don't exhibit any sudden change in movement or behavior that will draw attention.

Accept the situation and be prepared to wait.

Don't speak unless spoken to, and then only when necessary.

Don't make suggestions.

Don't be argumentative.

While the hospital's plan doesn't include recommendations about how to behave during an "active shooter" scenario (meaning someone seeking multiple targets), Jeff Kedrowski, CPP, a principal at security consulting firm FOG Advisors/Wayne, Ill., thinks big companies should adjust training and procedures with that specific emergency in mind.

He recommends training and instructing employees to immediately seek a safe escape route from the gunman, and if there isn't one, to seek safe shelter within the building. People could try barricading the door with file cabinets, chairs or desks.

Trapped employees then need to close the blinds, silence cell phones, turn off the lights and quietly wait for police to do their job, Kedrowski said.

More companies are including response to active shooters in their policies and training, because of the number of instances the last decade in which a gunman turned his attention from the hated target to uninvolved bystanders, he said.

Contact Info : Ronald Morris, (513) 636-8793; Jeff Kedrowski, (630) 399-9743.

Source: Corporate Security, 04/30/2007

Copyright © 2007 by Strafford Publications, Inc.

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