This week's Modern Healthcare describes some differences in planning for mass casualties between the US and France. But, it also reminds us of the importance of being prepared and that includes periodically reviewing plans. When I was in the hospital, I often completed these reviews during the winter holidays - when it was quiet and I had a bit more time to think and reflect.
The Department of Homeland Security and HHS are calling for “enhanced vigilance” and offer guidance and resources, including:
- Review your security and other response plans and exercise them regularly, using scenarios based on tactics recently employed
- Reinforce with your employees that they are well positioned to apply:
- familiarity with their surroundings;
- attentiveness to what's common and varies from the norm;
- vigilance throughout their shifts, across work areas, and in places they visit off duty; and
- reporting in a timely manner to appropriate authorities.
- Review Active Shooter, Suspicious Activity Reporting, and Counter-IED preparedness in training and awareness initiatives and in organizational safety briefings.
- Ensure proper functioning of emergency communications equipment and conduct regular tests.
They are also reinforcing the concept of "If you see something, say something" and offer the following messaging to help employees activate when necessary:
You've seen something, You've heard something, You're right to be concerned, Maybe it's nothing, But at times it's been something, So please say something and give the authorities the chance to make a difference.
Early recognition and reporting of potential terrorist activity is the first line of defense against those who intend to harm us and our critical infrastructure -- and this includes hospitals, clinics and other providers who could see surges of victims/patients after an event in the community.