HAMPTON, Va. – Local hospital systems are reviewing their safety measures following Wednesday’s mass shooting in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Many hospitals and medical facilities are already holding active fire drills, but after the most recent shooting, Sentara Healthcare employees told News 3 they were talking about new ways to improve their safety protocols — starting with ensure there is a stronger security presence in their emergency rooms.
Following the shooting at the St. Francis Hospital campus in Tulsa, the safety of visitors, patients and staff is of great concern.
“It’s very sad, and I’ll be honest with you – it was something that kind of took me back for a minute. I had to pause, sit down and catch my breath” , said Kapua Conley, regional president of Sentara for the peninsula and executive sponsor of the committee for the prevention of violence.
The tragedy leaves Conley and other Sentara employees to carefully consider their emergency plans.
“Over the past two years, we’ve worked to strengthen our security, making sure we have a stronger presence — a physical presence — on campuses, especially in our ERs,” Conley said.
They also recognize the need to take a systems perspective. While Sentara has its share of security, there are also off-duty law enforcement officers providing an armed presence in the emergency department.
“We are considering revamping our security lockdown procedures, bringing stronger visitor management systems into play,” Conley said.
Tulsa shooter Michael Louis entered a medical office building on the St. Francis Hospital campus on Wednesday afternoon and killed his surgeon and three others before killing himself.
For Chesapeake Regional Healthcare CEO, Tulsa shooting hits home. He was once the former chief operating officer of the hospital where the shooting took place. Reese Jackson released a statement, saying, “Acts of aggression and violence against healthcare workers – whether verbal or physical – cannot be tolerated, let alone considered random.”
Training at Sentara sometimes consists of active fire drills, so codes personnel need to know if they feel unsafe.
News 3 asked Conley what people should do if something looks suspicious on a hospital campus. He said you should “talk and talk. If something goes wrong or [there’s] someone suspicious, a bag looks suspicious, be curious.”
Sentara employees are looking to partner with the Hampton police to learn more about the division’s tactics to possibly implement on campus.
The FBI also has a guide on planning and responding to active shooters in a health care setting. You can see it here.